Hotels arm checks in with Fastest 50 prize

THE hotel arm of the leisure group owned by a star of BBC’s Dragons’ Den has been revealed as the North-East’s fastest growing company.

THE hotel arm of the leisure group owned by a star of BBC’s Dragons’ Den has been revealed as the North-East’s fastest growing company.

The Fastest 50 league – sponsored by law firm Ward Hadaway for the eighth year and backed by The Journal – is an annual survey of the North-East’s business pacesetters.

Darlington-based Duncan Bannatyne’s Bannatyne’s Hotels Limited, part of the larger leisure group which also runs leisure clubs, bars and casinos, walked away with the overall prize, as well as being named fastest growing small business.

The formidable growth achievements of Gateshead-based carbon steel plate producer Spartan UK, which was named fastest growing large company, and Stockton energy management company PX Limited, which took away the fastest growing medium business accolade, were also recognised at an awards ceremony at The Sage Gateshead international music centre.

Bannatyne Group projects director Tony Bell, who is sure there is more growth to come, said: “Being able to grow is about going with your gut instinct and that’s what Duncan Bannatyne does.

“He does some market research but he doesn’t spend weeks and weeks looking at it. We have a gut instinct on things, Duncan presses the button and we go for it.

“The culture of the business is to provide the highest quality service that we can achieve at exceptionally good value to the customer.”

Paul Walker, chief executive of Sage plc, was keynote speaker at the event, held in The Sage Gateshead’s Barbour suite, and compared growing a business with bringing up a child. Mr Walker told the 200-strong audience: “When one has a baby, it’s very exciting because it’s so small and new and at the same time very scary.

“The baby starts growing into a toddler and getting more independent but you can still nurture it and help it grow. “But then when it turns into a spotty teenager, a bit like Sage, then you start to wonder how to develop it and I think that’s a good way of looking at developing and growing a business.” Brian Aitken, editor of The Journal, introduced the Fastest 50 awards.

He said: “The Journal Fastest 50 list proves the North-East can lead the way in British business in terms of growth. “At long last, the rest of Britain is sitting up and taking notice of the wealth of business talent we have in the region.” Ward Hadaway partner Colin Hewitt said: “The businesses in the Fastest 50 are not just the businesses to watch tomorrow, they are the cream of the region’s businesses today. “We are delighted to be associated with this success.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer