2 Mark Dixon
Serviced Offices £1,020m
Mark Dixon’s Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workspaces and serviced offices. Essex-born and Rainsford educated, Dixon is the son of a Ford car mechanic and began his entrepreneurial career selling peat from a wheelbarrow. He went to Rainsford Comprehensive School, leaving at 16. He set up a sandwich business Dial-ASnack in 1976, which failed to make his fortune, so he travelled the world, working his passage around Europe, Asia and Australia, from iron mining to bar work. Dixon returned to his native Essex and invested £600 in a burger van on London’s North Circular Road. With the proceeds, along with his savings, he bought other vans but struggled to get enough bread rolls for the business – so he set up his own bread company supplying fast-food vendors, which he sold in 1988 for £800,000. Having relocated to Brussels, he noticed how business people held meetings in cafes. So in 1989 he was inspired to set up Regus, providing offices with social and meeting spaces. The concept worked and he floated the company in 2000. It is now valued at a record £2.74bn. Founder Dixon has an £894m stake in the Luxembourg-based operation. Nearly £100m of share sales and other assets, including the Chateau de Berne vineyard in Provence and a five-star 25-room hotel, should take him to £1020m.