Do you want to be a Future50 business? Applications are open
PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:44 20 March 2019
Copyright Simon Finlay 2017
The search is on for the brightest sparks on East Anglia's business scene.
The Future50 campaign has seen its former members turn from start-ups to multi-million pound businesses, and its partners are on the hunt for the next big thing.
Applications are now open for businesses to apply to the Future50 2019 cohort.
The Future50 project, which identifies and supports 50 businesses from across Norfolk and Suffolk, has launched its 2019 campaign.
Over the coming weeks, businesses of all sizes and types will be reviewed by a panel of judges until the final cut is revealed.
From there, they will be offered access to exclusive events that will provide unique access to business innovators and champions, as well as development of a peer group that provides support, learning and trading opportunities.
On top of this, Future50 firms will receive multimedia exposure via Archant media channels, as well as regular updates on topical business issues and key local developments.
They will also be given access to business support through the partners and their networks to develop strategy, business plans and support implementation, access to finance and financial performance, as well as vital signposting to local and national funding opportunities to assist investment plans.
All this is thanks to the campaign’s sponsors.
The project is sponsored by six of the region’s biggest business advocates: Barclays, the University of East Anglia, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, solicitors Birketts, accountants Lovewell Blake and media organisation Archant.
The New Anglia LEP are joining the sponsorship and mentoring panel for the first time.
Nigel Best, who is the manager of the LEP’s business support arm, the Growth Hub, said: “The fact that the LEP want to be involved speaks volumes for how good this programme is. What we’re bringing to the table is a wealth of expertise, particularly when it comes to funding.”
Up to 2018, the LEP sourced more than £21m in grants for Norfolk and Suffolk businesses.
Mr Best added: “We don’t just have access to East of England funding, but also on a national level. We also have ties with central government and so can inform them about businesses’ needs.”
Matthew Peek, head of SME at Barclays, is returning to the programme as a supporter.
He said: “Running a business brings its rewards but can be tough too, especially when you are starting out. People who are bold enough to realise their ambitions in this way need as much help, support and encouragement as they can find.”
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Mr Peek added: “Future50 is a perfect platform for diverse businesses to share their stories and build a network which has to increase the chances of success through accelerated growth. By surrounding business leaders with access to people and resources which they may not otherwise discover, business can go forward with greater reassurance and that has to be great news for our business community.
“Success breeds success and with that comes job creation, economic growth and role models to inspire others.”
Lovewell Blake partner James Shipp outlined what he will be looking for in the new cohort.
He said: “They can be in any sector, but what will set them apart will be their potential – which comes from a strong initial business idea, a decent growth plan, a sound approach to business, and above all, ambition. Hunger for success is a pre-requisite.
“They will also be willing to learn, and open to other ways of doing things – then they will be able to take full advantage of what Future50 can offer them.”
Edward Savory, legal director at Birketts, agreed adding: “It would great to have among the cohort a wide range of business types so that experiences can be shared for a wide array of industries. They will need to demonstrate robustness for the challenges ahead – especially to survive Brexit – and clear signs
of increasing their workforce as employment is an essential element to the whole F50 program.”
Professor Fiona Lettice, pro-vice chancellor of the University of East Anglia, said: “Future50 plays a vital role in recognising and cultivating talent, and we are thrilled that a number of UEA academics and alumni have been members of previous cohorts.
“As well as benefitting the companies themselves, the programme also has an important economic and reputational impact on the region as a whole.”
To apply to be one of the Future50 2019 businesses, click here.
Archant business editor Richard Porritt, explores why bosses should enter
Starting and running a business is a huge undertaking.
It is a well-known, oft-quoted and depressing fact that most businesses fail within their first year.
Gusto, ambition and graft is not always enough.
But those firms that do make it through the treacherous first 12 months are by no means out of the woods.
The gap in the market might well have been seized, the opportunity grasped but firms cannot survive on the boss’s intuition alone.
And that is why being a member of Future50 has been so valuable for so many East Anglian firms.
This is not an award. It is not a pat on the back or a well done. This process is a function that can offer businesses a fantastic opportunity. Future50 can unlock new avenues and even funding as well as expert advice from our panel.
Archant is proud of everything Future50 has achieved and excited about welcoming a new cohort.
Former Future50 owner shares her experiences
Kate Bowden Smith is the managing director of Suffolk-based Pier PR and marketing.
A Future50 2018 business,
Ms Bowden Smith says it was an honour to be involved in the projest: “East Anglia has so many interesting industries and thriving businesses, Future50 is a great way to showcase some of the amazing organisations in the area.”
She added: “For us Future50 provided an opportunity to meet like-minded, ambitious businesses that share a
drive to grow and create supportive work environments. We found that the application process was straightforward, whilst the programme of networking opportunities and presentations provided some really useful insights.
“Being part of the Future50 the same year that we celebrated our 10th anniversary made it extra special for us; as a team everyone at Pier has worked hard to grow the business, so it was great to be able to enjoy this double celebration. And as a PR and marketing agency we really see the value of media coverage, so the profile features Archant included about us were a fabulous added bonus.”
She finished: “Thanks to all of the partners involved in the Future50, we really enjoyed the experience and are honoured to be part of the Future50 Class of 2018.”