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Cambridge: East of England celebrates SME growth champions at Breakthrough Live event

PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 November 2012

L-R: Ana Botin, CEO, Santander; Mike Bishop, FD at Your Vets; Paul Lindley, Ella’s Kitchen & Darren Hart, Head of the growth capital team, Santander

L-R: Ana Botin, CEO, Santander; Mike Bishop, FD at Your Vets; Paul Lindley, Ella’s Kitchen & Darren Hart, Head of the growth capital team, Santander

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AROUND 100 firms from across East Anglia took part in an event celebrating the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and promoting business growth.

The Breakthrough Live event at Cambridge University heard from entrepreneur Paul Lindley, who founded and grew his organic baby food business, Ella’s Kitchen.

Santander chief executive Ana Botín delivered a student lecture on the key role of entrepreneurs and universities in driving local economic recovery.

Mike Bishop, financial director of YourVets, spoke about the recent fast growth of his chain of affordable veterinary practices.

He currently has seven practices across the Midlands and Essex, and is in the process of adding a further four practices.

The university is one of Santander Universities’ higher education partners.

East Anglia has 738 fast growth, or Growth Champion businesses which, as a group, have a significantly higher economic impact than the rest of the region’s SMEs, according to Experian data.

Research by Santander revealed that, on average, the region’s small businesses with a turnover of £20million or less expect to grow revenue by 68% over the next five years.

Santander’s wider Breakthrough programme is providing up to £200mof growth capital loans to fast-growth firms.

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Two brothers from Ipswich have started an estate agency business with a view to “bringing the human element into the property industry”.

Five pieces of lifesaving equipment have been installed in shops across Suffolk, thanks to money raised from the 5p carrier bag charge.

Long-running strikes by workers on Britain’s rail network have helped push industrial action in the UK’s private sector to its highest level for more than 10 years, according to research.

A project to build a ground-breaking scientific facility has generated an estimated £12.5m for Norfolk and Suffolk’s economy.

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