From 23 and £500K debt to a £500m fortune. From care homes to high-performance cars.
Lawrence Tomlinson is the founding Chairman of the LNT Group which employs 1700 people across its five diverse core businesses; Ideal Care Homes, LNT Construction, LNT Software, LNT Solutions and Ginetta.
The 47 year old, philanthropic entrepreneur was announced as the 151st richest person in the UK in the annual Sunday Times Rich List in May 2011 with an estimated wealth of £500m.
Lawrence grew up in Batley, West Yorkshire; where he attended the local grammar school before going on to pursue his love of engineering at Huddersfield College. Wellman Bibby spotted his clear potential and sponsored an engineering degree at Bradford University. After graduating in 1987 Lawrence joined Holset Engineering as part of their graduate programme.
Lawrence’s entry into the care sector came after leaving university where he set up a company which purchased a care home from his parents, operating six care homes under the banner of TriCare, Tomlinson saw a gap in the market for a developer who could build bespoke, quality care homes, and two years later set up LNT Construction.
Following the acquisition of an established care home Lawrence saw a gap in the market for a developer who could build quality, turn-of-key care homes and he subsequently established LNT Construction to meet this demand. In the years that followed, Lawrence continued to establish other businesses including LNT Software which develops and sells bespoke software for the care home industry, LNT Solutions which provides climate protection systems for worldwide transport network and Orchard Care Homes which was bought by its management in 2007 for £180m.
Lawrence re-entered the care sector in 2009 when he set up Ideal Care Homes which offers an entirely new approach to elderly care provision and has an established track record in delivering first-class services for older people.
With a background in engineering, it is no surprise that Lawrence has a real passion for car design and motor-racing – hence in 2005 he acquired the British car marque Ginetta. An accomplished racing driver, in 2006 he won the Le Mans 24 hour race at only his second attempt. He has significantly grown the Ginetta business and the 53 year old marque now employs over 70 people from its state-of-the-art factory in Leeds and exports GT winning race cars all over the globe.
Although one of the wealthiest men in the UK, Lawrence’s passion for business is undiluted, he continues to invest his wealth back into the group and its people where, unusually, each and every employee is also a shareholder. He firmly believes that rewards associated with success need to be re-invested in people and he does just that, whether it is providing apprenticeships or creating driving scholarships for young people. Lawrence is dedicated to building a bright future for the LNT Group, its staff and its customers.
Lawrence’s business, entrepreneurial and engineering achievements were recognised in 2011 when he was awarded two separate honorary doctorates by Yorkshire universities. 2011 also saw Lawrence being announced as Yorkshire Director of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and recognised as one of the top 10 most influential leaders within the healthcare industry.
Away from the office Lawrence enjoys spending time with his wife and their four children at their home in Harrogate. He is also a keen sportsman and as well as motorsport also enjoys golf and a variety of water-sports.
“I was delighted to be invited to return to sit on the Billion Pound Panel. Yorkshire is a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent, encouraging and mentoring successful entrepreneurs of the future is the key to a positive future for industry and commerce in the UK, supporting manufacturing, promoting local growth and developing innovation. I’m happy to share my experiences with like-minded people in the region, who are keen to make their mark on the world of business. It would have been useful to have a forum like this when I was a graduate setting up my own business and I fully support the work and the ethos that Geoff and the Yorkshire Mafia pioneer”
Lawrence Tomlinson, Chairman LNT Group