Well, according to the Leicester Mercury, 12 pubs.
Steamin' Billy's intrepid leader, Billy Allingham, has this year been nominated for a Leicester Mercury Business Award – Business Entrepreneur of the Year to be precise! It’s a fantastic honour, and one that hasn’t been achieved without some hard graft for the last 25 years.
The Boss Man started his Branson-esque rise washing pots at his parent’s hotel at the age of 8, being paid in Action man figures. He’d make money on the side to – running down country roads (not unlike the dog his later company took the name of) to open gates for Tissington tourists and save them getting out of their car. Young Billy charged a massive 5-10p for the service – clever lad.
After his stint as pot wash/unofficial Gatekeeper, the Chief progressed to waiter/carvery operative. Little Bill was too small to reach the mushy peas (his station) so he balanced on an old lemonade crate to give himself the extra height.
Throughout school Billy’s natural appetite for dosh quickly led to him becoming a dealer of contraband goods (sweets and the like, nothing too risqué), alongside running a delivery service to the 6th form for takeaway food after lights out. He was risking suspension, but Billy added a cheeky surcharge to the older boys orders to get himself a fried rice or two.
The commander progressed to selling classic British cars, borrowed from a dealer, from his parents garden, which fronted onto two main roads. Then, in his crowning moment, Billy converted the underused vegetable shed at the hotel to a brewery at the tender age of 19. Twenty Five years later, Steamin’ Billy Brewing Company owns 12 pubs.
An entrepreneur sees an opportunity which others don’t fully recognise, to meet an unsatisfied demand or to radically improve the performance of an existing business. They have unquenchable self-belief that this opportunity can be made real through hard work, commitment and the adaptability to learn the lessons of the market along the way. Sounds quite a bit like our Billy, right?
We’re very proud of the big man and want to do everything we can to make sure he wins this well deserved reward. The Leicester Mercury Business Awards take place on the 21st April 2016.