Richard Harpin invests £110m of his own money in medium-sized firms

Richard Harpin invests £110m of his own money in medium-sized firms

Home repairs tycoon Richard Harpin is investing £110million of his personal fortune into medium-sized businesses and is ‘on a mission’ to save the UK High Street.

Harpin sold HomeServe, which he founded in 1993, to Canadian investor Brookfield for more than £4billion last year, netting him and his wife Kate about £500million.

He has already invested £55million in growth firms including outdoorwear retailers Passenger and ACAI, Keelham Farm Shop and Crafter’s Companion. 

Repair job: Tycoon Richard Harpin

Repair job: Tycoon Richard Harpin

Harpin, 58, is looking to invest another £55million in about ten firms, saying: ‘I am not doing it primarily for financial return. If we are going to get the country and economy going, we need to help businesses scale up.

‘Today I’m using 45 years of insights to help others grow their businesses and galvanise a regeneration of our city centres.’

He said he would have ‘plenty’ of money left after the investments.

In an exclusive article for MailOnline, Harpin describes the bosses of the Wilko hardware chain as ‘too slow, too out of touch and too unwilling to learn’, adding: ‘Wilko stands on the precipice and entrepreneurs like me know why.’

‘Visiting a Wilko store last week it was clear they had too many categories, uncompetitive pricing and customers weren’t clear why they would shop there.’

Harpin, who lives in Yorkshire, where he and Kate have a village pub and ferry service, set up a mail order fly-fishing business as a teenager. One female customer told him they would make great earrings. 

‘Within a few months I was selling them in hair salons across the country. All because I listened, learned and reacted,’ he said. ‘At speed.’

He says he wants to share the secrets he learned over his years building a multi-billion pound business, including a ‘Not To Do List’.

‘If you are running a business, you need to focus on things that matter and will make a difference,’ he said. ‘We need to do much more to save our High Streets.’

Read Harpin’s full article.

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