Made in Britain: Gilo Industries Group

What does your company do? What products services does it provide? 

The Gilo Industries Group encompasses a range of cutting-edge technology businesses, developing groundbreaking solutions across military, commercial and recreational aviation applications by applying technical expertise and fresh engineering thinking.

For example, the Parajet is the simplest of all powered aircraft, consisting of a small motor driving a propeller, and is worn like a backpack under a paraglider wing. It provides thrust to take off, climb and maintain level flight. Another example is the SkyRunner, a terrain buggy which uses the latest reflex paraglider wing technology to be able to fly.

Guided by the passion and vision of Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Gilo Cardozo, each company within the group thrives on the belief that ‘we can do better’, that form follows function and that everything must serve a purpose. The desire to excel and to push things to the limit has always been at the centre of our business strategy; innovation and challenging convention are in our DNA.

Where did the idea for your business come from?
The business as it currently stands was founded four years ago, and it had been Gilo Cardozo’s vision since he was a teenager.

At the age of 14, Gilo hand-made a 2-stroke engine for a Craft, Design and Technology Project. Since then he has grown his passion for flying and created the world’s best paramotors. These, in 2007, led to a successful attempt to fly higher than Everest using a foot-launched aircraft, synonymous around the world as a Parajet.

This incredible feat led to the conception of the Gilo Industries Group and we started splitting out different pieces of technology from the world’s leading extreme propulsion systems, as well as specialising on projects for the aerospace industry.

When did you start up, and what support were you given?
Since the Gilo Industries Group was conceived, we have utilised UKTI’s Passport to Export scheme and G3 programme to establish markets all over the world.

Due to this, only 5 per cent of our business is made up within the UK. It is for this reason we are supporters of the Business is GREAT Britain campaign, which highlights the help and advice available to small businesses in the UK. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the support we received. What’s more, three years ago we embarked on our first capital raising task and have taken investment from leading aerospace manufacturers. Their guidance and help has been fundamental in our rapid growth.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Our biggest achievement to date in terms of growth of the business has to be two fold. The first would be completing Mission Everest, which lead to us securing our first major contract to provide extreme propulsion systems to an aerospace prime.

Our second would be our recruitment processes over the last two years. We are particularly focused on hiring people who are passionate about innovative engineering and who will embrace being part of a growing business, and this has led to one of the most dynamic teams in the aerospace engineering sector.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge for us was raising capital, but since then we haven’t looked back. Being a small company, it can be hard to gain respect within the industry and from potential investors but we have overcome this by being passionate about our products and believing in what we do.

How would you say you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Our approach is to “listen and partner”, rather than “analyse and tell”. This allows us to build a deeper trust based relationship, better engagement and creates the optimum environment for productive collaboration.

We work with people to help unleash energy and creativity at all levels of the project, and to develop solutions, which project stakeholders are excited by and can commit to. We believe in setting challenging targets, to drive ourselves on and ensure we deliver measurable results.

What has been the best decision you have made to-date?
Spending time to recruit the right people. We strongly believe that the culture of the business is what defines it. We have an amazing atmosphere of friendship, passion and drive that has without doubt been the reason we have produced such market leading technology in such a short space of time.

Where do you see the business in 12 months’ time?
We are looking to move into new markets. Currently we are in the process of setting up a state of the art manufacturing hub in the United Arab Emirates that will help us to fulfil specific in country requirements as well as expanding our global reach.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t give up. You have to fall over to learn how to walk. The only businesses that survive are the ones where the leaders are willing to put in whatever it takes, whenever it takes, and push through.

What do you find most satisfying about running a business?
Being able to mould a shared vision into something real.