Diversity is key to Norfolk and Suffolk’s business success says outgoing Norwich PwC boss
08:30 15 January 2014
The region’s Top 100 firms have played a key role in driving the economy in both Norfolk and Suffolk helping the local economy.
That was the view of Chris Maw, outgoing senior partner at the Norwich office of PwC.
Analysis of the current EDP Top listing of Norfolk and Suffolk’s leading firms shows that the energy sector enjoyed the biggest rate of growth both in turnover and jobs up about 24pc and 14pc respectively.
However, the financial sector still dominated the economic landscape largely through the dominance of insurance giant Aviva.
Mr Maw said Norfolk’s business landscape had changed a great deal in the 10 years since he first arrived at PwC’s Norwich office.
“The global economy has been through a pretty turbulent time from the highs of 2006 through to the worst recession in living memory. As I’ve commented a number of times in these pages over the last few years, Norfolk has certainly not been immune to the recession but our businesses have generally been more resilient than most.
“Our geographic position in the relatively prosperous South East region, the diversity of industries and sectors covered and our high proportion of privately owned businesses all account in some measure for this success. But perhaps less talked about (we all know Norfolk could shout about itself a little louder!) is the simple fact that great businesses and great business people drive the growth we continue to enjoy. A good place to start looking for the evidence of this is the ‘Top 100’ publication that we started producing through the EDP, with support from Mills and Reeve and other sponsors, not long after I joined the Norwich office.
“It sounds a bit like a sporting cliché but our region really has got strength in depth when it comes to highly performing businesses. At the top of the list have always been the likes of Aviva, Greene King, East of England Co-Op and Bernard Matthews but the rest of the list, and the hundreds more businesses just below them, still generating a turnover of £10m plus, all help to position Norfolk well.
“But it doesn’t stop there. There are thousands more small businesses and entrepreneurial individuals, some growing at incredible rates and all contributing to employment numbers, economic prosperity and the overall well-being of our communities. These businesses and the people that run them and work in them are the real reason the East continues to thrive.
“Like many before me who have been welcomed to Norfolk, once here it’s difficult to leave! The county will continue to be our home and while I take up a new position within PwC, I will be spending time here as well, not least my weekends.
“So I look forward to seeing how the Norwich Research Park continues to grow and attract new people and skills to the area that will in turn generate ambition and opportunity for future generations of the Norfolk workforce. I look forward to seeing how the businesses along our coastline continue to develop new technologies enabling us to produce energy in increasingly sustainable forms. I look forward to seeing how the vast range of food, drink and agriculture businesses continue to attract tourism to the region at one end of the scale and work to solve the problems of diminishing resources and world hunger on the other.
“And finally, although it’s not really good-bye, this article does give me the opportunity to thank the very many people who have made working for PwC in Norwich such a pleasure. The fantastic business community and public sector organisations, the local media, our colleagues in the professional services sector and, of course, my friends back at the office – thank you all.”