Doug Barrowman was born in March 1965. His early years were spent in Glasgow – Britain’s third largest city, which has a rich industrial and maritime heritage. Doug attended his local comprehensive school and rubbed shoulders with children from all walks of life. Here he appreciated that not everyone was as fortunate as him to come from a stable, supporting home and that he wasn’t being held back by social, religious or racial intolerance. Such intolerances he witnessed and vowed to get into a position where he could help those less fortunate. It was through these formative years that he also learnt the true meaning of helping others to overcome adversity and that everyone has a part to play in the success of a community. He chose to remain in Glasgow to study for a bachelor’s degree in accountancy at Glasgow University. He graduated in 1985 when the country was gripped by recession and Glasgow, like many of Britain’s industrial cities, was battling with economic and social changes. It was a difficult period to embark on a career when unemployment in the city was leading many to a life of poverty and hardship.
After graduating from university he was fortunate to join the accountancy firm, Deloitte Haskins and Sells, and completed his professional qualifications, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1988. He decided to use the business knowledge he had gained and set up his first business venture – a paintball operation on the outskirts of Glasgow. Three sites were opened under the Mayhem Wargames banner.
After coming second in the Young Scottish Accountant of the Year (1989), Doug was approached by 3i plc, the private equity group. He joined 3i Plc and worked in both the Sheffield and Manchester offices before resigning in 1992 to pursue his own business interests in corporate finance. Doug set up his own corporate finance practice, which he successfully developed and managed during the 1990s. He exited from his Practice in 1999, to concentrate on his own private investment vehicle, Aston Ventures.
Over the next 10 years, Aston Ventures made 13 acquisitions of old economy businesses with a total turnover in excess of £400 million. Since 2008, Doug has focused on developing the Knox group of companies, and as Founder and Chairman he oversees a diverse and successful group whose business interests include Private Equity, Property and Wealth Management. The Knox group of companies employs over 350 staff across UK and Overseas offices, and has funds under management and administration of £1.5 billion.
Although coming from an ordinary background Doug was fortunate to receive a good start in life. Starting with a good education he went on to be surrounded by seasoned individuals who could help him in advancing his own business interests. He values hard work but acknowledges that sometimes this isn’t enough to get an idea off the ground and the individual is held back through factors simply outside their control. Doug can relate to young people who haven’t had the best start and he strongly believes in giving them every chance possible, with access to a good education and career opportunities later in life. It is why he is so passionate about supporting young entrepreneurs and young people struggling to get ahead and make the most of what life can offer.
These values are at the heart of the Barrowman Foundation, which is committed to supporting young people from all walks of life getting access to education, life skills and receive support for their business venture. We also acknowledge that sport can define an individual’s destiny and we help those with a real talent for sport to reach their full potential.