26 SI­MON DOLAN

Essex Life - - RICHEST 50 -

Business Ser­vices 2018: £141m 2017: £140m (28th=)

“I earn £3m a year, but I don’t just throw money away,” Si­mon Dolan told the Guardian news­pa­per in Au­gust. Yet, as he re­counted: “When I was 21, I had noth­ing. Debt was spi­ralling, I was three months be­hind on my mort­gage and I was to­tally des­per­ate. I ended up plac­ing a £10 ad­vert in a lo­cal pa­per of­fer­ing to do peo­ple’s ac­counts. It’s the only thing I knew – I’d pre­vi­ously worked at an ac­coun­tants for 18 months. A florist re­sponded and I han­dled her ac­counts for £99. That gave me enough money to place another ad. From there I gained another client, then another. By 2014, when the business had 14,000 clients, I sold it to a pri­vate eq­uity firm for £81m.” Dolan started his en­tre­pre­neur­ial ca­reer sell­ing scratch cards in the play­ground of King Ed­ward Gram­mar School in his na­tive Chelms­ford. After be­ing ex­pelled at 16 he be­gan sell­ing cheese and eggs on a Chelms­ford mar­ket stall. He says it taught him, “the gift-of-the-gab, com­mit­ment to hard graft and strong arith­metic”. After a range of jobs in­clud­ing sell­ing pho­to­copiers and time­share apart­ments, he started his ac­count­ing work. Since then Dolan has be­come en­thused by mo­tor rac­ing and cre­ated his own team, Jota Sports, in 2011. Jota won its class in the 24 hour Le Mans race three years later, com­ing fifth over­all. His Jota Group now has three di­vi­sions, fo­cus­ing on mo­tor­sport, en­gi­neer­ing for rac­ing cars and an air­line based at Lon­don Southend. Dolan also owns the Man­dalay Es­tate in the Caribbean is­land of Mus­tique once owned by David Bowie, which cost him £14m. An avid fan of the late mu­sic leg­end, Dolan even named one of his sons Bowie. He also has an apart­ment in Monaco, two prop­er­ties in the UK and a château in south-west France. In all Dolan is now eas­ily worth £141m.

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