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Fastest 50 winners are crowned in North East

THE North East’s fastest growing companies 2019 were crowned at a celebratory awards ceremony at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, streamed live online for the first time.

Energy management consultancy and procurement company, Northern Gas and Power, headquartered in Gateshead with offices around the globe, did the double, scooping the award for the Fastest Growing Large Business and Overall Fastest Growing Business.

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And it was ‘two in a row’ for Killingworth based NBT Group, winning the award for the Fastest Growing Medium Business, for the second consecutive year. The company provides stock control through the use of storeroom management and intelligent vending machines.

Dunelm Geotechnical and Environmental returned to the list for the second year, but this time round landed the top spot for Fastest Growing Small Business. Located in Durham, the business provides geotechnical investigation services, ranging from small-scale residential developments to large commercial and industrial projects.

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The winners were joined at BALTIC by leading lights from the business community, partners from Ward Hadaway, keynote speaker Elaine Warburton, OBE and The Journal Business Editor, Graeme Whitfield.

The Award for Fastest Growing Large Business is given to companies with an annual turnover of over £25million.

Commenting on the double award win, Chris Baty, Global Finance Director at Northern Gas and Power, said: “I feel pleased for Northern Gas and Power to be recognised with this award. It’s been a long journey and to win against such great North East businesses is a real honour, and a credit to the hard work of our teams in Gateshead and around the world.”

And it was smiles all round for Fastest Growing Medium Business, NBT Group, who scooped the award for the second consecutive year. The award is for those businesses turning over £10-£25million per annum.

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Chair Toby Bridges, whose great-grandfather founded the company over a century ago, said: “It feels amazing to win this award again and I’m proud of the fact that after 110 years in business we are still in the top tier of companies in the North East. I’m also incredibly proud of the team that’s helped me achieve what I set out to achieve when I took over the business.

“To get onto the list, you have to have a massive vision, a bit of luck, a great team and the drive to get up every morning and go and do it. The North East is a great place to do business. The community is pretty close. I have lots of friends in lots of businesses who have helped me to structure the way I think, and help me with my business model.

“Those doors are always open, and as long as you’re prepared to drink a lot of coffee, with a lot of people, you can move any business on.”

A company that has made great strides in recent years is winner of the Fastest Growing Small Business category, Dunelm Geotechnical and Environmental. This category represents businesses turning over between £1-£10million.

James Huntingdon is Managing Director and reflecting on the win, he said: “I feel pretty overawed to be honest. I wasn’t expecting it and I’m extremely pleased after all the efforts we’ve put into the business.

“I’m most proud of where we’ve come from and where we’ve got to. We’ve had quite significant wins over the past year or so to get to this position.

“I’m pleased with the staff who have taken us on this journey, from what was a relatively small turnover business, to a large turnover, in just a few years.”

Damien Charlton is a Partner in the Commercial Team at Ward Hadaway and presided over the event. Following the awards, he commented: “It’s important to Ward Hadaway to be a key player in the business community in all the regions where we have offices. We want to celebrate the achievements of our regional businesses, which is particularly important in times where the economic outlook is uncertain.

“The best thing about hosting The Fastest 50 is that we get to meet so many inspiring companies and help celebrate their successes with the rest of the business community. It’s great to see such a cross-section of them here today.

“Many congratulations to all of our winners. The region benefits from all of your successes. Keep up the hard work, don’t stop believing in your products and services, keep growing and innovating and hopefully we’ll see you here in future years.”

Alistair Westwood is Deputy Regional Director at the CBI. He said: “It’s humbling to be part of such a thriving business community in the North East. There are lots of people who lead businesses and are national and international leaders in their field.

“Often they don’t have enough of a chance to shout about it as much as they should. An opportunity like the Fastest 50 is a great window of opportunity for those businesses.”

Kathie Wilcox is Director of NGI Solutions, the commercial arm of NewcastleGateshead Initiative. Commenting on the Awards, she said; “The atmosphere is great, there’s lots of businesses exchanging good news stories and reconnecting. Lots of people are here backing businesses on the Fastest 50 list. It’s wonderful to be part of that very supportive environment here in the North East.”

Elaine Warburton, OBE, is Chief Executive and Co-Founder of QuantuMDx and delivered an inspiring keynote address.

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Afterwards, she said: “To make it onto the North East Fastest 50 List you need to have a really big strategy, a focussed strategy. You need to know your product, be crystal clear about your marketing strategy, you need to have the right partners, and also you need to have fun. If you’ve got all of those things, you’ll have the right ingredients to succeed and grow your business.”

Echoing the sentiment of many in the room, Elaine concluded: “In the North East, we are a family, we look after each other and we sing about each other’s achievements. That is one of the greatest things about being part of this business community.”

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