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Gibson Index Ltd: ‘A USER’S GUIDE’

Searching the Database:

The search function has been designed solely for speed and simplicity, allowing you to find a particular company or chosen set of companies - in the shortest possible time..

Search Parameters:

There are 12 search parameters, and these may be used either singly or in any combination. Having made your selection, click on ‘Run Search’ for the searching to begin. If you want to execute a completely new search, click ‘New Search’. The system is programmed to display up to a maximum of 250 companies for each search.


The ‘Company Name’, ‘Main Contact’ and ‘Town’ categories are self-explanatory. If you select the ‘Company Name’ column there is no need to add ‘Ltd’ or ‘Limited’. Nor is there any need in using full stops - ‘A. F. Gaskin’, so just input ‘A F Gaskin’. Note: the Tab system works from Left-to-Right, in descending order.

In the ‘Region’ category, the UK has been subdivided into counties and urban districts in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively, but the ‘Big Six’ conurbations – Avon, Greater London (excluding Middlesex), Greater Manchester, Strathclyde (Glasgow), Tyne & Wear (Newcastle) and West Midlands (Birmingham) – have been separated out in order to enable all companies within these large localities to be included. The ‘RDA region’ category will select companies that are headquartered in one of the nine English Regional Development Agencies, or in the Scottish Enterprise, Welsh Assembly Government or InvestNI national regions. The counties of ‘West Lothian’, ‘Midlothian’ and ‘East Lothian’ will yield most of the companies in the Edinburgh area, ‘Tayside’ for those around Dundee, and ‘Highlands’ will bring up most of those in the far north of Scotland. ‘Glamorgan’ covers the three big cities of southern Wales, and Dyfed encompasses the old counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire.

With a standard broadband connection, the Gibson Index system will display up to 250 companies in around 3-4 seconds, or very quickly indeed. The number of companies displayed by the database - between 1-249 - is stated in red script below the search parameters.

The summaries are displayed in alphabetical order, although some firms with a numeral in their names may appear first, eg. ‘3ami Ltd’.

What is displayed?

The system displays – for each company – their full company contact details – together with a ‘One-Line’ text about the company. The website and email for each company are linked – enabling immediate transfer to either their website or a click through that will trigger the launch of Outlook Express software.

Below the ‘One Line’ text is a window box in which the ‘Company Summary’ is visible. In the right-hand column is figure for the company’s ‘Rating’, between 0-10 with 10 as having the highest future potential, and the page symbol. By clicking on the right-hand symbol, the entirety of the ‘Company Summary’ text will be displayed. The texts range in length from one paragraph to more than 1000 words.

Each company is rated as a single figure on the basis of a combined basket of factors. These factors include the character and experience of the founder/CEO, how ‘market-savvy’ are the company’s staff, the quality and novelty of the product/s, the size of the future market for the product or service, and the attractiveness of the company to investors.

Keyword Search:

This function is sophisticated. It will display any ‘Company Summary’ in which the chosen word appears, whether that word or phrase appears in the ‘One Line’ or ‘Company Summary’ texts, or both. Existing users say it is powerful and rapid. For example, scientific words such as ‘epigenetics’ will yield specialist results, while more mundane words will yield much larger volumes of data.

Technology Sector:

There are currently a total of 45 sectors and – equally important, sub-sectors - in the database. The 45 have been chosen by customers seeking to follow and track the higher growth technology sectors in the UK. The companies are listed by their main technology strength, and not by the main technology market into which they mostly sell their products. There are many companies that straddle many sectors. For example, an engineering or a telecoms firm may have electronics expertise in depth, so please bear with us.

The sectors were selected in preference to standard SIC codes, which were increasingly unpopular and under-used. When a large sector has proved too big, we have created some more specialist sub-sectors. For example, ‘Marine Electronics’, ‘GIS Services’ and ‘Security Technologies’ have been created from the main body of ‘Electronics’. ‘eHealth’ was created to demarcate IT firms that have concentrated on NHS and eHealthcare IT contracts.

The IT sector has been divided into the large ‘IT Services’ – for infotech services such as outsourcing and business processes, but ‘IT Systems’ contains vendors of IT hardware, whereas ‘IT Hardware’ denotes manufacturers of IT systems. ‘Software’ is a substantial technology sector, and ‘Advanced Computing’ is reserved for firms that are involved in sophisticated activities such as artificial intelligence and Grid computing. Next, ‘Web Services & eCommerce’ is a sector reserved for firms that offer standard website creation and web commerce services. ‘Business Services’ includes the mass of small firms offering anything from business gifts to marketing and HR services.

‘IT ‘Plastics & Composites’, ‘Nanotech’ and ‘Metals’ have been separated from the main body of ‘Materials’. ‘Biotech & Pharma’ and ‘Medical Devices & Lab Equipment’ embody the two main arms of the biotech and medical hardware industries. Another large sector, ‘Engineering’, has been sub-divided by the creation of a ‘Design & Prototyping’ sub-sector, with ‘Energy’ and ‘Environmental’ forming specific sub-sets.

‘Instrumentation’, ‘Photonics & Optical Sciences’, ‘Sensors’, ‘Imaging’, ‘Radio Technologies’ and ‘Processing’ are rapidly growing, hi-tech sectors, often with much technical cross-over, based on the physical sciences. ‘Telecoms’ is split from ‘Mobile Telecoms’, and the latter includes the growing number of companies offering mobile-delivered services as well as phone technologies.

‘Agriculture, Rural, Animal & Plant Sciences’ encompasses farming and animal-related industries, while the remaining sectors - ‘Chemicals’, ‘Construction’, ‘Creative Industries’, ‘Food & Drink’, ‘Logistics’, ‘Publishing & Books’ and ‘Textiles’ and ‘Transport’ are self-explanatory.

Company Size:

Most of the 48,000 companies are each designated as a ‘Small Company’ or ‘SME’ or ‘Startup’. A Startup is defined as a company with little or no revenue, a Small Company has intermittent revenues and an SME has established revenue.

‘Spinout’ refers to University spinouts, not corporate spinouts, and ‘Subsidiary’ denotes an increasing band of companies that are foreign-owned or overseas arms and distributor firms of international companies. These five company categories make up 95% of the firms in the database. The remaining categories, in increasing order of size, are included because they have technologically important, or often have important collaborative links with SMEs – ‘SME-AIM’ (AIM-listed), ‘SME-LSE’ (LSE-listed), ‘Mid-size’ and ‘Multinational’. A small number are listed as ‘Consultancy’.

Revenue and Staff Numbers:

Where the annual revenue of the company is known, the data has been included. Unfortunately, most companies in the early stage sector are unwilling to impart this information. Sometimes, a better yardstick is the number of staff employed, both full and part time, and this is included, as a separate category, with a range of figures from ‘1-5’ to ‘100+ employees’.

An Important Omission?

If you come across a company that is not yet listed and think they should - please either add them yourself or encourage them to input their details for us by completing the ‘Add Your Company’ Form which is accessed via the front page.

Updating and Error Reporting:

No one has before attempted such a large and complex database of such rapidly changing entities as Britain’s small companies. Nevertheless, we welcome any notice stating that company summaries and details have changed. Do please email us with any new information you may have gathered, to info@gibson-index.com.