The 2020 North East Fastest 50: Inspiring Growth
05th November 2020
Adapting to the extraordinary circumstances of the year, Damien Charlton introduces the revised approach by Ward Hadaway and The Journal to this year's respected Fastest 50 Awards.
The prestigious Ward Hadaway North East Fastest 50 Awards, which we established 22 years ago, celebrate growth, innovation, and the commercial achievements of North East businesses. However, they represent something else too. The awards shine a spotlight on the triumphs of the regional business community, its strong work ethic and tenacious spirit to succeed, qualities which have been just as evident in the pandemic-dominated 2020.
The volatile market conditions, job losses and economic repercussions on a global scale that we are witnessing today are unparalleled. Given such difficult times, we deliberated at length whether to go ahead with this year’s Fastest 50. Is it the right time to celebrate substantial past growth when so many are under such pressure?
Following discussions with those fastest growing, privately owned companies from across the North East who were to appear on the list, the answer was a resounding “yes”. We could obviously not run the annual celebration at the BALTIC, but we knew there were other options.
This year’s Fastest 50 list, as always, boasts many management teams with an unwavering passion to succeed who have created high growth, profitable businesses. And it’s this spirit, and the business success that it creates, that we want to celebrate.
The Fastest 50 Awards for 2020 will champion resilience, determination, and inspiration at a time when economic uncertainty is high. Look out for the list which will appear in next Wednesday’s Journal. And then over the coming weeks, you will read stories from regional business owners who will share their experiences of driving a rapidly growing business, as well as their candid experiences during the pandemic.
Through their stories, we want this year’s Fastest 50 to inspire growth, highlight service excellence, and demonstrate the transformation within North East businesses, both before the pandemic and now, while we’re in the thick of it. And being in the thick of it is something we, as a well-established North East firm ourselves, can relate to.
When the country went into national lockdown, our disaster recovery plans were quickly implemented. Our fantastic people adapted incredibly well to such an unexpected and prolonged period away from the office-based environment, and our technology and infrastructure has been equally resilient. Our focus and commitment to meet the needs of our clients remains unwavering.
Throughout the year, we listened to the needs of our clients and their markets, and focused our communications on providing clarity in the face of great economic and regulatory change. We developed and continue to add to an online Covid-19 hub that features a detailed library of frequently asked questions, covering everything from furlough to force majeure, from CBILS to data protection, from wills to healthcare.
We delivered this free of charge and shared it with as many businesses as possible through our own communications, and through the North East’s various membership and business support organisations.
We also worked with Newcastle University Business School to help support research that aims to gain insights into how businesses continue to respond to the pandemic’s challenges, and how public bodies make decisions in the future.
We did this all because we fundamentally believe that we must support businesses and people within our region through these incredibly tough times. And it is in this spirit that we have created a new way to celebrate the success of the Fastest 50.
We hope this year’s ‘Inspiring Growth’ articles prove to be both insightful and helpful for those of you facing your own business challenges. They highlight determination, creativity, agility, and passion – the very qualities we need to overcome the current difficulties we face.
In the context of rising Covid-19 cases, it’s even clearer that navigating a route to recovery is incredibly challenging. Whatever the pandemic throws at us, we at Ward Hadaway really are here for you every step of the way.
This article originally appears in The Journal on 4 November 2020.