The Fastest 50 countdown has begun: Winners will be revealed on Friday

In just two days' time, the winners of the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 Awards for 2014 will be revealed in front of a packed audience at BALTIC in Gateshead.

Fastest 50, 2014
Fastest 50, 2014

The excitement is mounting as the countdown continues to the unveiling of the North East’s fastest growing companies.

In just two days’ time, the winners of the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 Awards for 2014 will be revealed in front of a packed audience at BALTIC in Gateshead.

More than 200 people, including business leaders and representatives of the Fastest 50 companies, will gather to hear which companies will be announced as the fastest growing of their kind for this year.

Awards will be handed out for the fastest growing small business, the fastest growing medium-sized business and the fastest growing large business with one of these companies going on to be crowned the overall fastest growing company for 2014.

Guest speaker Steph McGovern from BBC Breakfast will be on hand to announce the winners and present the awards.

Steph McGovern
Steph McGovern

The Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 – organised and sponsored by leading North law firm Ward Hadaway - has a long and distinguished history with the first awards ceremony taking place back in 1998.

Over the years, the event has helped to map out the strengths of the North East economy and identify those sectors which are thriving and expanding.

As we have mapped out in previous weeks, the offshore, manufacturing and engineering sectors have always played a major part in Fastest 50 lists and been regular award winners.

However, the Fastest 50 has also highlighted a number of other industries where the North East has real strength in depth and significant presence.

For example, the region’s services sector has performed noticeably well throughout the 16-year history of the Fastest 50.

Award winners over the years have included recruitment companies, repair companies, professional services businesses, hotel groups and nursery providers.

The wide array of areas represented in that list demonstrates the breadth of expertise offered in the North East, itself a key factor in the resilience and continued success of our services sector.

Moving on to other successful areas, it is perhaps unsurprising that the region which is home to Europe’s largest covered shopping centre as well as a plethora of other outlets has spawned a number of successes in the retail sector.

Fastest 50 winners over the years have included shoe retailers, discount health and beauty companies, clothing chains and online retailers selling everything from hair products to wallpaper.

Colin Hewitt, partner and head of Commercial at Ward Hadaway
Colin Hewitt, partner and head of Commercial at Ward Hadaway

In addition to award winners, the retail industry has provided many of the companies which make up the Fastest 50 lists every year, not least iconic clothing company Barbour which has been a fixture of the Fastest 50 for many years and is once again in this year’s final 50.

Colin Hewitt, partner and head of commercial at Ward Hadaway, said: “One of the most interesting aspects of the Fastest 50 is the fact that every year it demonstrates the real diversity of the North East economy. By listing the companies according to their average annual turnover growth, the Fastest 50 ensures that no stone is left unturned and everyone gets the same chance to shine.

“As a result, while traditional strengths like manufacturing and the offshore industry are there as you would expect, we also get a wide range of other sectors represented, including some companies who may previously have been ‘off the radar’ when it comes to publicising their success.

“We are all now really looking forward to Friday and to finding out which sectors and which companies have been the stand-out achievers for this year. I am sure it will prove to be a thoroughly enjoyable occasion.”


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