Manufacturing and engineering businesses are helping to shape the region’s recovery – and have played a major part in the growth of the North East economy over the past 16 years.
That is just one conclusion from an analysis of the winning companies in the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 since the event’s foundation in 1998.
As the countdown continues to this year’s definitive list of the fastest growing companies in the North East, a look back through the history of the Fastest 50 reveals just how consistently strong the region’s manufacturing and engineering sector is and how it continues to help power the North East economy.
As well as listing the 50 fastest growing businesses in the region every year, the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 also gives out awards to those companies which have achieved the biggest rises in their turnover in recent years.
Each year, awards are given to the fastest growing small business, fastest growing medium-sized business and fastest growing large business as well as an award for the overall fastest growing business.
No fewer than eight of these Fastest 50 award winners over the years have been manufacturing and engineering companies with a number of other winners having strong links to the sector.
In some ways, the pattern was set from the inaugural awards held in 1998.
On that occasion, manufacturer Isocom Components won the award for fastest growing medium-sized business and engineering consultancy Utility Technical Services won the award for the fastest growing small business.
Whilst this performance was not repeated the following year, the strength of the manufacturing and engineering sector and its role as a growth driver for the regional economy is a theme which runs throughout the history of the Fastest 50.
As well as its continued presence over the years, the diversity of the North East’s manufacturing and engineering businesses is also a notable feature in an analysis of the award winners since 1998.
Victorious companies have been involved in everything from plastics injection moulding to making truck and lorry parts, creating clean-room facilities for laboratories to manufacturing hi-tech wiring systems.
Fastest 50 winners such as Wallsend’s Merit Merrell Technology and North Tyneside’s Controle Mesure Regulation (UK) also exemplify how much of the North East’s manufacturing and engineering strength lies in specialist areas, something also illustrated by last year’s overall fastest growing business SMH Products, which makes safety and decontamination protection equipment for workers in hazardous environments.
Colin Hewitt, Partner and Head of Commercial at Ward Hadaway, said: “There is much to be proud of about the North East’s manufacturing and engineering industries, both in the past and here and now.
“As a firm, we are fortunate to work with many of the region’s leading players in the sector so we are able to see at first hand the terrific work which they do.
“Successful and growing manufacturing and engineering businesses are not just good for the companies themselves, they are also vital in sustaining and expanding wider supply chains
“Over the years in which we have been running the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50, manufacturers and engineers have had to deal with an unprecedented series of challenges but they have continued to defy the odds, grown their businesses and have emerged in many ways stronger than ever.
“Whilst there are still issues to be addressed and difficulties to be overcome, things are looking promising for engineering and manufacturing businesses in a wide variety of different fields.
“Without giving anything away, I suspect we will once again be seeing companies from the engineering and manufacturing sector making their mark on the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 this year.”
The A-Z list of this year’s Fastest 50 companies – compiled by independent researchers from St Chad’s College/Durham Business School - will appear in The Journal later this month.
Representatives from all 50 companies, alongside business leaders, will then be invited to an awards ceremony in October where the winners of the 2014 Fastest 50 Awards will be announced.