40 ROBBIE AND CHERYL COWLING
Internet and Football 2018: £80m New entry
Robbie Cowling left school with no qualifications but trained as a motor mechanic at a Vauxhall garage and was later a self-employed mechanic for a couple of years. In 1984 he became an IT programmer and worked for nine years in various jobs before launching the world’s first ‘Jobs by email service’ for jobseekers in May 1994. From that has grown JobServe, now a leading recruitment consultancy on the internet. Cowling also bought Colchester United Football Club in 2006, putting £4.5m into the club which was then in the Championship. The Us are now playing in League Two but are looking good in the early part of the 2018-19 campaign, standing eighth after 12 games. Jobserve had a difficult time when the recession struck in 2008, with several years of losses. But its parent Aspire Media has bounced back, making a record £7.2m profit on £17.7m turnover in 2017. Aside from Jobserve, it also runs several job-related websites all over the world. JobShark.com operates in Canada, ComputerWork and ComputerJobs are North American operations and Jobnet operates in Australia. Cowling and his wife Cheryl own almost all of it and should be worth around £80m.