In March, Zac Goldsmith was named the most 'pro-business' London mayoral candidate in a ComRes poll. According to the survey, 65 per cent of Londoners think Goldsmith is pro-business, compared with 39 per cent for Sadiq Khan.
However, despite this vote of confidence in Goldsmith's approach to business, a closer look at the Conservative mayoral candidate's CV suggests that he may actually be lacking in business acumen on a personal level. Despite several attempts at running businesses, few of his ventures have taken off. In fact, of eight companies he has been involved with, six have dissolved and one is losing money.
One of Goldsmith's first attempts at business was as a director of Ecologist Consultants Limited. He was appointed as a director in 1998 and the company was dissolved in 2005. The last accounts filed for the company -- in 2003 -- show it was in the red with net assets of £-363. Goldsmith then became a director of Victor Properties in 1999. However, there appears to be little success here given that the company never filed any accounts. He didn't have much more luck during his time with Shepherd Holdings Limited. After being appointed director in 1999 he resigned that same year, with the annual accounts for 2000 showing a loss of £1754. The company was later dissolved.
Not to be put off, the next year Goldsmith made an attempt at getting involved in the club industry as part of Splendide Entertainment Limited. The grand aim was to open a private members' club. However, Goldsmith stepped down in 2012 and the company dissolved the next year -- not before its annual accounts reported a loss of £28,188 in 2012.
Goldsmith has also attempted to profit from the organic industry. He served as a director of the Organic Warehouse -- a health food shop in Chelsea which he and his uncle Teddy invested up to £250,000 in -- from 2000 until 2003 when he resigned. Despite his investment, the business proved to be a loss maker during his time there, with the 2001 and 2002 annual accounts showing an annual loss of hundreds of thousands. Perhaps Goldsmith should have known better given that a previous dive into the organic food industry also appeared fruitless. He was appointed as director of Deli’organic Limited -- an organic venture with his now ex-wife Sheherazade Goldsmith -- in 1999. However, the company failed to make a profit in 2000 and had a net worth of £-94,300. The company was later dissolved.
More recently, Goldsmith served as a director of Ecosystems Limited from 1999 until 2015 -- when the company was dissolved. While the 2000 annual accounts show the business was making a loss as early as 1999, the 2013 accounts show that the figure increased over the years to a loss of £758,339.
Happily, Goldsmith remains the trustee of one organisation with a positive net worth as a director of the Countryside Restoration Trust. However, before readers get too excited, it's worth pointing out this is not-for-profit and relies heavily on donations.
Mr S suspects that if Goldsmith really is the most pro-business candidate in the race, Londoners may have a problem.