Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Showcase Year for the North-East; in Association with Ward Hadaway

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Showcase Year for the North-East; in Association with Ward Hadaway

Article excerpt

Byline: By Colin Hewitt, head of commercial department, Ward Hadaway

YET again this year, the list of the region's fastest growing private companies provides a great barometer for the region's economy.

It also provides a showcase for some of the region's best businesses and entrepreneurs from a range of sectors including both new and long-established businesses.

As ever, tremendous credit must go to all of the companies in the list. They each contribute an enormous amount to the region's economy, providing jobs, wealth and opportunities.

The winners this year come from across the region with operations running in Teesside, County Durham and Tyne and We a r.

Recent economic indicators demonstrate that the North-East continues to perform well but that it lags behind on a number of measures and this was recently highlighted by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report on Newcastle.

The challenges facing the region in relation to worklessness, educational attainment and generating high value and sustainable jobs are well recognised.

A number of very positive things have happened recently, however, which should assist in the growth of businesses across the region.

For instance, the success of the South Tyneside LEGI (Local Enterprise Growth Initiative) bid, the enhanced investor readiness programme funded by One NorthEast and the establishment of the single regional Business Link organisation should each help to enhance the environment in which businesses should flourish.

The region, with a small number of PLCs, is dependent upon the large number of private companies, such as those listed in the Fastest 50, for a significant part of its wealth.

The encouragement of new entrepreneurs is, therefore, crucial to the continuing development of the region's economy. The Entrepreneurs Forum and organisations such as the Alchemists and the Bridge Club continue to provide a lead in this regard, but the challenge to budding entrepreneurs is to prove themselves as capable businessmen and women by actually taking on and developing businesses. Turning to the list of companies in this year's Fastest 50, the continuing strength of the property sector has helped the performance of a number of companies and the sector is well represented.

On the other hand, while much of heavy industry has now ceased to operate in the region (with a small number of significant exceptions) the list highlights a number of high quality industrial companies such as Hydratight, MKW, Metal Spinners and Miller UK, each of which face enormous challenges in competing in a truly global market, marrying high levels of expertise with industrial processes. In the light of recent scares over energy prices, it was also interesting to see a number of companies in the energy and utilities sector in the list this year and indeed one of the category winners PX manages energy facilities. …

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