How I made it: Tony Goodwin, founder of Antal International

The entrepreneur developed his international recruitment agency in eastern Europe and Russia after fall of communism

A strong work ethic was drummed into Tony Goodwin from an early age. “My mother would never let me miss a day of school, no matter what the reason,” he said. “Even if I was genuinely ill, she would say I had to go to school.”

It has stood him in good stead. Goodwin’s recruitment agency, Antal International, employs 500 people in more than 30 countries and this year is likely to have turnover of almost £40m.

The youngest of five — and the only boy — Goodwin was born in Kidsgrove, a small town in the Potteries north of Stoke-on-Trent. His father was a civil servant at the Ministry of Defence and his mother was a school dinner lady.