Laura Waters and Kelli Aspland Credit: Solar Buddies

A business started by two entrepreneurs from Cwmbran has made it into a list of the top 100 fastest-growing companies in the UK that are still run by their owners

Solar Buddies was founded in 2014 by two mums chatting while on the daily school run in the town. Kelli Aspland and Laura Waters developed a product that makes it easy for children to apply sun cream themselves.

The FEBE (For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs) Growth 100 2024 list features Solar Buddies as number 14.

Since they started selling the sun cream applicator in 2015, Laura and Kelli have found it helps more people than they first imagined, including people with sensory issues and arthritis.

In 2023 the pair appeared on Dragons Den and attracted investment from Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones.

Their product is now sold across the world, including America, and can be found on shelves in UK supermarkets Asda, Morrisons, Boots and Tesco.

Co-founder Laura Waters said: To be recognised as one of the fastest growing businesses in the UK by FEBE is amazing. Our journey hasn’t been an easy one but when things like this happen it makes us realise just how far we have come.

“It’s so exciting for us to see how quickly our business has turned around but this hasn’t happened without hard work and determination. We are very proud of what we have achieved to date, but this wouldn’t have been possible without our wonderful team.

Laura’s business partner and co-founder Kelli Aspland said: We don’t tend to look at the growth in a financial manner but celebrate milestones like taking over bigger units, being able to employ more staff and breaking into new markets like retail.

“I feel so fortunate that I get to work with my best friend every day. We bounce off each other and we both agree our business partnership is probably one on its own, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

John Maffioli, FEBE co-founder, said: “This list reveals the fastest growing founder-led companies in the UK. The FEBE Growth 100 is where you’ll find some of the country’s most talented entrepreneurs and most exciting companies.”

To make the list a business must meet this criteria:

  • Sales between £3m and £200m
  • Trading for at least three years
  • An operating profit in the latest financial year
  • Founder(s) must still be involved

FEBE co-founder Charlotte Quince said: “We’re excited to publish this year’s Growth 100. However, FEBE is so much more than a list. We are a network of founders determined to empower and support one another. FEBE founders regularly meet up to gain insights from and help each other. Being an entrepreneur has been too lonely for too long. FEBE is here to change that.

“Founders have a home in FEBE. The founders in our list – and FEBE legends that have appeared in previous lists – work together to share ideas and support each other. Together, we want to celebrate founders who are the heartbeat of the UK economy.

“Their contributions go beyond the bottom line; as they inspire, create, and drive positive change. We bring these founders together throughout the year at our exclusive events and we share their incredible stories.”

Former Dragon’s Den Dragon and FEBE Growth 100 Ambassador Jenny Campbell added: “I’m proud to be part of something that celebrates and supports entrepreneurs and their companies. The FEBE Growth 100 focuses on true entrepreneurialism. Founders are unique: their experiences, vision and resilience are unlike anything else.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *