Future 50: successful programme finishes – but it’s not the end
Expert advice helped participating East Anglian businesses get through a tough year. Now preparations are under way for the next Future 50 programme to help high-growth companies in Norfolk and Suffolk.
The current Future 50 programme is coming to an end and it has been unlike any other, thanks to the unforeseeable impact of the coronavirus. Yet despite the challenges, it has been a highly successful year for many of the participating firms.
“The Future 50 for 2019/20 has again been an enormous success,” says Edward Savory of lawyers Birketts, one of the partner firms supporting the programme. “Many of the businesses are in good shape in spite of the pandemic. Some have even flourished and accelerated through Covid-19.”
“One of the key benefits of taking part in Future 50 is the expertise available not only from the partners but also within the cohort,” says Barclays’ Glen Webster. “While always a strong element it has been even more relevant this year. It has impressed me greatly to see such resilience and, in some cases, evolving or re-positioning of the business model to provide products and services to meet needs in the current climate.”
With participating firms from all sectors of the economy, from tech to vintage clothing, cheese-making to logistics to life sciences, the Future 50 cohort may be diverse, but they share the common goals of learning and developing their businesses.
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“The peer-to-peer experience of meeting businesses at similar stages in their growth can be extremely helpful,” says James Shipp of Lovewell Blake. “Spending time with the partners and receiving free, expert advice on subjects as diverse as banking, taxation, law and funding is also valued and the opportunity to promote their business via the wide-ranging media opportunities can be extremely lucrative.”
“Being a member of Future 50 offers so many opportunities –from additional profile and PR to the wealth of support and advice that is available through the Growth Hub and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership,” says Richard Glinn, New Anglia Growth Hub manager. “Our advisers can provide an action plan for growth and the funding that allows a business to realise its ambitions to expand an existing service or introduce a new one.”
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Each Future 50 cohort benefits from a year-long structured programme of events led by the partners to ensure Future 50 participants are meeting, learning and networking regularly. “My highlight has to be hosting our ‘Reconnect with your Creativity’ evening at the Sainsbury Centre in December. It was great to see Future 50 members so engaged,” says Anna Douglas of UEA.
“Future 50 is an important part of the University’s business engagement activity,” she explains. “I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting members and connecting them with student talent and the business support available from UEA.”
While this year’s programme is drawing to a close, preparations are already underway for 2020/21. “We have a robust programme with a real focus on finding and supporting the region’s high-growth businesses,” says business editor Richard Porritt. “Future 50 already has a solid track record of helping companies reach the next stage of their development. As the economy reconfigures after Covid-19, there is a lot to gain from taking part in the next Future 50.”
“It is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit in the region that we keep seeing so many exciting ventures launch and gain traction,” concludes Birkett’s Mr Savory. “And it’s a privilege to work with the individuals whose relentless drive and passion moves these fast-growing companies forward.”
If your business should be in the next Future 50 cohort, click here.