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Celebrating the North East’s best and brightest businesses at this year’s Fastest 50

Ward Hadaway held its annual North East Fastest 50 awards at BALTIC in Gateshead this year.

The awards recognise the region’s fastest growing, privately owned businesses, showcasing their talent, originality and progress. The accolade of overall fastest growing business was awarded to Gateshead-based video game developer, Coatsink Software.

“We are here today because you are all fast – fast thinking, fast changing and fast growing,” said Raman Sehgal, a best-selling author, entrepreneur and founder of global specialist agency ramarketing, who delivered the keynote speech at the 2022 Fastest 50 event. “Every business that’s named in this year’s Fastest 50 has experienced huge success, whether that’s a new facility, winning large contracts or rapidly expanding its workforce. And whilst we know how sweet the taste of success is, let’s not forget what we’ve all had to do to get there. True grit, relentless problem solving, key decision making when time is against us – we’ve had to roll the dice so many times. Growth is not easy but today we celebrate it and just how resilient, innovative and passionate North East businesses are. The Fastest 50 credits you all for your hard work and your continued success. Keep going, keep raising that bar, keep moving that needle but, most importantly, don’t become complacent. Stay hungry.”

Ward Hadaway’s Damien Charlton

Other guest speakers included Damien Charlton, a partner, and head of the commercial team at Ward Hadaway, Alistair McDonald, strategic director of business development, built environment, at the firm and The Journal’s editor, Graeme Whitfield.

Damien Charlton said, “The Fastest 50 celebrates growth and the future and it’s always a privilege to be in the same room as the region’s fastest growing, highly innovative independent businesses – and also many of the organisations that support them. Every business listed in the Fastest 50 plays a huge role in putting the North East on the map, as champions of innovation and industry, in a region where hard work and determination is baked into our DNA. North East businesses revolutionise, disrupt the status quo and break boundaries and they should be rightly recognised for their achievements.

“As lawyers, we support a huge number of business endeavours across the North East and it’s an absolute pleasure to work with such a tight knit, dedicated and talented business community. As 2023 beckons, no one could have predicted the immense challenges businesses have faced in recent years. From the unprecedented impact of Covid, global supply chain shortages, rocketing inflation, increasing interest rates, war in Ukraine and political instability closer to home – it really is a time like no other in our history. However, as the 2022 Fastest 50 reveals, businesses adapt and rise to challenges. They put their heads down and push forwards – often against the odds – to achieve growth, success, prosperity. Congratulations to all of the companies who secured a spot in this year’s Fastest 50, it’s thoroughly deserved.”

From Chester-le-Street and Cramlington to South Shields and Stockton-On-Tees, a diverse range of businesses have made this year’s list, representing a wide range of industries. A key highlight of the day was double winner, video gaming company Coatsink Software, which took home the award for fastest growing medium business of the year and overall fastest growing business of the year. Awarded for its phenomenal growth, Coatsink has grown into an agile, forward-thinking gaming company best known for making games such as Transformers: Battlegrounds and Jurassic World: Aftermath.

Rich Snowdon, head of studio at Coatsink, said: “It’s amazing to win not just one award, but two. We’re hugely invested in the region, especially in supporting the local Gateshead community and attracting talent from across the North East. We’re very grounded, it’s a key component of our culture, and that quality has enabled us to continue to grow from a start up to a sizable business today. The awards are so important in shining a light on all the fantastic work businesses are doing in the region – and it’s great to be a part of it.”

Gateshead-born Amazon and ecommerce order fulfilment specialist The Storage Place (TSP Fulfilment) has also been successful, winning the fastest-growing small business category. Bill Griffiths, managing director at The Storage Place (TSP Fulfilment), said: “It’s an honour to win a fastest growing business award which is testament to the team we’ve created, the talent we’ve developed and how we’ve empowered our people to lead from the front. The awards are a breath of fresh air in this permacrisis period we find ourselves living through. It’s good to celebrate success and look positively to the future.”

Other businesses that ranked highly in the list include Thersea Spinks Limited, a County Durham company that specialises in the manufacture and supply of high-quality staircases and components and Middlesbrough-based company Samy Limited. Samy has grown to become one of the UK’s leading independent retail operators of convenience forecourts and standalone stores and rightly deserve to be 2022’s second fastest growing company.

The 2022 largest fastest-growing business is Casper Group, a maritime services organisation specialising in shipping and logistics operations headquartered in Middlesborough.

Alan Appleyard, operations director at Casper Group, said: “It’s wonderful to be named the largest fastest-growing business of 2022. For us, having in place the right structure and the right people has been fundamental to the growth we’ve experienced. As a region, we don’t always stop and think about the success we’ve achieved so it’s good to have something like the Fastest 50 to remind us that hard work, passion and talent do pay off.”

Also in the large category, mechanical, electrical, construction and fire-stopping contractors, Billingham-based company Geoffrey Robinson performed well coming second and securing fifth place in the Fastest 50 list. The third fastest growing large business was Northern Gas and Power which is no stranger to the Fastest 50 having secured 2019’s large business winner and overall winner in 2020. Still performing strongly, this company has built one of the largest, most dependable networks in the utilities sector, providing expert advice in procurement, energy services and technology.

The Fastest 50 – Ward Hadaway’s annual list of the 50 fastest growing, profitable businesses in the region – is based on Companies House data and relates to the previous three years of trading.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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