Matthew Hayes of Champions (UK) plc awarded haysmacintyre Top Gun with Young Guns 2014 winners announced

UK’s most impressive young entrepreneurs aged 35 and under celebrated in annual fast-growth index

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Matthew Hayes, the founder of creative brand agency Champions (UK) plc, has been named haysmacintyre Top Gun at the Young Guns Awards 2014; the annual list of the UK’s most impressive young entrepreneurs aged 35 and under.

Chosen by Growing Business and an elite judging panel, his and 29 other outstanding firms make up the 12th index of young business owners boasting fast-rising revenues, funding rounds, and strong growth potential.

Unveiled at the Young Guns Awards luncheon held at the illustrious Kensington Roof Gardens yesterday, this year’s crop is made up of 53 entrepreneurs behind 30 of the country’s fastest-growing companies such as entertainment, technology, advertising, and even ‘healthy fast food’.

Previous winners forming the Young Guns alumni, which encompasses over 350 entrepreneurs, includes Richard Reed of Innocent Drinks, Michael Acton Smith of Mind Candy, Jamie Murray Wells of Glasses Direct and Thea Green of Nails Inc.

Hayes was awarded the haysmacintyre Top Gun title; the accolade bestowed upon the Young Gun which judges feel stands out the most, having scaled his marketing agency by 700% over the last six years and having amassed a star-studded portfolio with celebrity clients such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Ronan Keating, along with leading brands such as Rolex, Santander, ITV and The Telegraph.

He takes the title from 2013 Top Gun winner Mark Kanji of Apptivation, and succeeds the likes of Forward Internet Group’s Neil Hutchinson, Miroma’s Marc Boyan,’s Michael Phillips,’s Mark Pearson, and ‘Mills’ Miller and John ‘Sinx’ Sinclair of ustwo™.

Natasha Frangos, partner and head of creative, media & technology at haysmacintyre, said: “This year the competition was really tough, with a record number of businesses making the shortlist to be part of the class of 2014.

“With so many high calibre businesses and individuals, choosing the haysmacintyre Top Gun was harder than ever but Matthew Hayes, Champions (UK) plc, stood out from the crowd. From start-up capital of just £3,000 from the Prince’s Trust, Matthew has grown Champions (UK) plc into a £15m-turnover business with outstanding growth figures in the last few years.”

Ian Wallis, editor of Growing Business, added: “Matthew is a hugely deserving recipient of the haysmacintyre Top Gun and when you look at the previous winners and what they’ve achieved since we have rightfully high expectations for Champions (UK) plc.

“To offer some idea, one previous winner of the title sold his business to eBay last year for an undisclosed sum, another sold his company to a fellow Young Gun for £55m this year, and a third has an estimated wealth of £586m.”

View the Young Guns class of 2014 here.

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