The ECI Growth Survey

Over the last thirteen years, Tristram Mayhew has carefully built up his outdoor adventure company, Go Ape, into an employer of 1,000 people, with 40 sites across the UK and America.

Since Tristram and his wife remortgaged their home to fund the first course, near Thetford Forest, Norfolk, in 2002, the company’s expansion has been largely self-funded.

It's easy to take your foot off the pedal but my calling is to create the jobs for people. It is hugely exciting.

Tristram Mayhew, Chief Gorilla / founder

Now he says he’s come to appreciate the value of growth capital: armed with £9 million of bank backing, the business is growing a whole new division from scratch.

Air Space, an indoor trampolining and games venture, could take only 15 months to get to a scale which took Go Ape well over a decade to achieve, says Mr Mayhew, a former Royal Dragoon Guards officer.

Go Ape sees customers ranging from families with young children, to businesses organising team building days and groups of friends in their 20s all having fun on zip wires, ladders and walkways situated in its forest-based courses.

Mr Mayhew started the company after he realised the corporate life wasn’t for him: stints at GE and Coca-Cola after the army left him feeling dispirited.

With Go Ape now turning over £35 million a year, it must have been tempting for Mr Mayhew to take things a little easier, but he says the ambitious Air Space project is giving him fresh impetus.

It's easy to take your foot off the pedal but my calling is to create the jobs for people. It is hugely exciting.

1000 +

40

£35million