|Born||20 May 1969|
|Known for||Investments, films and race driver|
|Net worth||GB£200 million (Sunday Times Rich List, 2020|
Simon Dolan (born 20 May 1969) is a British businessman and entrepreneur.
Businesses and investments
Dolan's first major business was SJD Accountancy, which was among the first accounting firms to offer a money back guarantee. It is the only accounting firm in the UK top 100 owned by an individual rather than a partnership. In 1999 Dolan also set up Contractor Umbrella Ltd. SJD Accountancy was acquired in 2014 along with accounting practice Nixon Williams by Sovereign Capital for over £100 million.
Dolan began investing in new start-up companies via Twitter in 2010, initially offering a £5 million investment pot for successful business pitches on the social networking site, earning himself the nickname "Twitter Dragon". Dolan's investments via Twitter have included Global Moguls, and mental health magazine Uncovered.
Outside of the accountancy and contractor industries, his investments include PHA Group Ltd, Oneserve, Jota Aviation, BajaBoard, Coast Autonomous and Jota Sport. His most recent investment in March 2019 was in Snag Tights.
Mandalay Estate, Mustique
In June 2014 Dolan bought Mandalay Estate on the West Indian island of Mustique. Once owned by English rock legend David Bowie who had the villa built in 1989, the estate had previously been owned by Felix Dennis who died in June 2014.
After selling SJD Accountancy for £67 million in 2014, Dolan re-entered the contractor accountancy market on 18 September 2017 with the launch of Dolan Accountancy. In 2019 Dolan Contractor Group was established to include Contractor Umbrella.
Keep Britain Free
The Keep Britain Free movement founded by Simon Dolan, believes that the Government has acted illegally and disproportionately over the COVID 19 lockdown and are taking action. By forcing people to stay at home, and forcing businesses to close, they are, KBF believes, in contravention of basic Human Rights offered under English Law, that of the right to enjoy your property peacefully.
COVID-19 judicial review action
On 1 May 2020, Dolan started proceedings to challenge the UK Government's lockdown decision, suggesting the Government had acted illegally and disproportionately over the COVID-19 lockdown. He began a crowdfunding campaign to fund the proposed action, writing on the crowdfunding page: "By forcing people to stay at home, and forcing businesses to close, they are, we believe, in contravention of basic Human Rights offered under English Law, that of the right to enjoy your property peacefully." As of 10 June it had raised over £210,000 with almost 7,000 people contributing. On 8 June Dolan also issued proceedings against the quarantine rules affecting visitors coming into the UK.
The preliminary hearing took place at the High Court on 2 July. The hearing was broadcast live over Skype, gaining much attention from the media and live tweeted by Joshua Rozenberg. The following day the Government introduced new regulations that were far less onerous.
On 6 July 2020, Dolan was initially refused permission for judicial review by the Honourable Mr Justice Lewis, who said the governments actions were legitimate because they had the good intention in mind of wanting to reduce the spread of the virus. On 9 July, Dolan launched an appeal against the decision.
Dolan’s appeal against the initial decision was successful and on 5 August the Court of Appeal ruled that the challenge against the UK Government lockdown would continue to be heard with Lord Justice Hickinbottom who stated that he was persuaded that the grounds should be considered by the full court in open court, and the claimants "given an opportunity to make good their case, at least on arguability". The Judicial Review will now proceed to a rolled-up hearing expected to be held at the Court of Appeal during the week commencing on 28 September.
It was confirmed that the appeal would be heard in person on 29 October, after being delayed due to Government lawyers being on holiday.
Dolan joined forces with leading wedding venue operator Cripps Barn Group Ltd to halt the Government’s latest lockdown laws that are destroying the £130 billion hospitality industry. On 15 October there was an Interim Injunction Hearing that was denied by the Judge. Following this hearing, the Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle intervened in the case because it raises issues of ‘constitutional importance’
Dolan's autobiography How To Make Millions Without A Degree: And How to Get by Even If You Have One was published in 2010. It tells the story of how he built his empire after leaving school at 15. In the book, Dolan offers advice to business owners and those considering starting their own business instead of going to university.
Dolan's interest in motor racing began in March 2007 when he started investing in Jota Sport, which he joined later in 2008 as driver. In 2010, Jota Sport signed a multi-year agreement to become an Aston Martin official partner team in motorsports. Jota initially competed in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage at the 2010 24 Hours of Spa where the team won their class. Dolan and co-driver Sam Hancock participated in the VdeV series with a best finish of third at Circuit Paul Ricard. Dolan made his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011.
Dolan's career highlight was 1st place in the LMP2 class at Le Mans in 2014 with Harry Tincknell and Oliver Turvey, who replaced Marc Gené after he was recalled to Team Joest Audi Sport LMP1 team following an accident in practice for Loic Duval.
Following a landmark sponsorship deal with Russian energy company Gazprom, the team competed as G-Drive Racing for the 2016 European Le Mans Series following a transfer of naming rights. Racing in a Gibson 015S, Dolan and G-Drive's season got underway at Silverstone Circuit, United Kingdom, in April, where they recorded their opening win of the season in the LMP2 category. The victory was followed up with a runners-up finish at the following race at Imola, in May 2016. The team's good performance continued throughout the season and was capped with a victory in the final race of the season at Estoril, in Portugal. The victory secured the 2016 European Le Mans Series title for G-Drive Racing. Dolan topped the Drivers' classification alongside teammates Giedo Van Der Garde and Harry Tincknell, all securing 105 points.
Journey to Le Mans
Dolan was the focus of a 2014 British documentary, directed by Charlotte Fantelli, that followed Jota Sport on their quest to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 category in 2014. The film followed Dolan and his Jota Sport teammates and captured the highs and lows the team encountered on their way to victory. Journey to Le Mans was released in a number of cinemas across the United Kingdom in October 2014, and released on DVD in November 2014.
24 Hours of Le Mans results
|2011||Jota|| Sam Hancock
|Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2||GTE
|2012||Jota|| Sam Hancock
|2013||Jota Sport|| Oliver Turvey
|2014||Jota Sport|| Oliver Turvey
|2015||Jota Sport|| Oliver Turvey
|2016||G-Drive Racing|| Jake Dennis
Giedo van der Garde
Complete European Le Mans Series results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races initalics indicate fastest lap)
|2016||G-Drive Racing||LMP2||Gibson 015S||Nissan VK45DE 4.5 L V8||SIL
- "Simon Dolan GT2 European Cup Driver Bio".
- "Sunday Times Rich List 2020".
- Keeping it simple, Best Practice Magazine, December 2007
- Kaffash, Jaimie (31 August 2011). "Simon says reform the partnership model". Accountancy Age. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
- Reed, Kevin (22 September 2014). "£100m private equity deal creates new accounting group". Accountancy Age.
- Hurley, James (14 June 2010). "Successful business pitches via twitter get 800k investment". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Uncovered magazine investment". 15 April 2011.
- "Simon Dolan The Twitter Investor".
- "History of Mandalay Estate Mustique". Retrieved 10 June 2020.
- Middleton, Christopher (11 January 2016). "Inside David Bowie's holiday home". The Telegraph.
- Rowe, Marsha (23 June 2014). "Felix Dennis obituary". The Guardian.
- "Contractor Umbrella".
- Jones, Amy (1 May 2020). "Leading businessman launches legal challenge against Government's lockdown measures". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
- Sillars, James (6 July 2020). "Coronavirus: Businessman loses legal fight over 'draconian' lockdown". Sky News. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
- "Crowd Justice legal challenge". Crowd Justice. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
- "KEEP BRITAIN FREE - APPEAL". 9 July 2020. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
- Slingo, Jemma (28 August 2020). "Lockdown legal challenge reaches next stage of litigation". Law Gazette. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
- Hymas, Charles (10 September 2020). "'Rule of six' restrictions already facing legal challenge". Retrieved 27 September 2020.
- Stennett, Nathan (22 October 2020). "Speaker intervenes in Simon Dolan's legal fight against lockdown". Bdaily. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
- "The Upstart – 'How to make millions without a degree' review". Archived from the original on 4 September 2014.
- "Daily Express – Make millions even after dropping out of school".
- "The Wright Stuff – Q & A session with business men and women".[permanent dead link]
- Dolan, Simon (18 August 2011). "The Telegraph – You don't need a degree to get ahead". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Jota Sport Sign Aston Martin Deal". 8 June 2010. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012.
- "Team Jota win Spa 24 Hours in GT4". 2 August 2010.
- "Le Mans 24 Hours: Marc Gene to replace Duval in #1 Audi". crash.net. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- "JOTA Sport Announces Partnership With Gazprom Neft" Archived 13 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine fiawec.com
- "Van der Garde wins on sportscar debut with Jota in Silverstone ELMS" autosport.com/
- "ELMS Estoril: Van der Garde seals championship in Jota Sport Gibson" autosport.com/
| European Le Mans Series
With: Giedo van der Garde & Harry Tincknell