Young Guns 2011: Greenlight Founder named in list of 30 most successful entrepreneurs
Now in its ninth year, the list of 30 companies with founders aged 35 or under, was unveiled at an awards ceremony held at London's Kensington Roof Gardens.
Cowan founded Greenlight in 2001, when it was a struggle to convince potential clients that search engine optimisation (SEO) was something they had to start taking seriously. The award recognises him for "being ahead of the curve leading Greenlight to become the fastest growing and largest independently owned search and social marketing agency in Europe."
An impressive focus on innovation means Greenlight boasts a huge R&D department comprising mathematics PhDs, marketing experts and seasoned programmers, working hard to ensure the agency is prepared for the ways in which the rapidly evolving digital marketing industry will develop.
Cowan has grown Greenlight entirely organically, without taking on any debt. Today, the firm has a £15m turnover and its client list includes names such as Santander, Sky, New Look and Thomas Cook.
"I'm humbled to have been recognised by Growing Business as a 2011 'Young Gun'. This recognition must also be shared with my 120-strong team who have worked hard to make Greenlight what it is today - one of the fastest growing agencies in the UK," said Cowan.
Growing Business Editorial Director, Ian Wallis, said: "The quality, diversity and uniqueness of entrepreneurial companies bursting through in the UK never cease to astound. Starting and growing a fast-growth company is highly risky, exciting and most of all, damned hard work. Despite that and the backdrop of a tough economic climate, there's no shortage of good entrepreneurs finding gaps in sizeable markets. This list celebrates entrepreneurial endeavour in glorious Technicolor."
In 2010 Cowan was named 'Entrepreneur of the Year' finalist in the National Business Awards in partnership with Orange, for demonstrating great strength in the ability to adapt and innovate under trying economic conditions.
Greenlight was also selected as one of 25 companies to represent the UK in the 2011 European Business Awards, sponsored by HSBC. The 'Ruban d'Honneur' prize recognises businesses pursuing global growth opportunities with a forward-thinking approach and finding new and creative ways of engaging their customers and expanding their businesses.
Greenlight is a leading independent specialist search and social marketing firm, the largest of its kind in Europe and the fastest growing. With over 100 blue-chip clients including Santander, New Look, Thomas Cook, Sky and ghd, Greenlight is a leader in the search marketing space, and is recognized worldwide for its commitment to delivering record ROI for its clients and investing in the future of search.
Greenlight is considered the premier thought leader in the sector, publishing widely read industry reports, original research, speaking at trade events, and delivering a highly respected digital marketing training programme via the Greenlight Academy. Founded in 2001, Greenlight is headquartered in London, with offices in New York. www.greenlightsearch.com