A three-minute sales pitch was all Preferred International needed to win its first big contract from Computacenter. Started in 1998 with five co-founders, £50,000 in personal savings and no clients, the Southampton company has focused on supplying multinational companies with IT staff. It has recently gained clients such as Cisco and Lucent. Sales have grown 103% a year from an annualised £2.1m in 1998 to £17.7m in 2001, when Preferred had 41 employees.
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