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Manchester’s Castore triumphs as fastest growing company in North West

Last Friday, Manchester’s iconic Royal Exchange Theatre hosted the unveiling of the 2024 Ward Hadaway North West Fastest 50, an annual celebration of the region’s fastest growing and most innovative businesses.

This year’s event, held in partnership with the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, drew an impressive crowd of business leaders, entrepreneurs and regional industry experts.

Awards were presented in three categories – fastest growing large, medium, and small businesses of the year – recognising enterprises of varying scale for their rapid growth, with an additional award for the overall fastest-growing business of the year.

For the first time, the ceremony included a panel of leaders from across the North West who discussed the future of business in the region and what makes it a great place to grow.

Panellists included Emma Holt, President of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Chiara Pettinicchio, a highly experienced M&A adviser and Susanna Lawson, Co-founder of digital business network platform Circle of Trust who successfully founded and exited edtech company OneFile.

This year’s awards highlighted that the average turnover growth of the Fastest 50 North West businesses was an outstanding 72%. Impressively, the overall winning businesses delivered an average turnover growth of 160%.

Ward Hadaway’s Paul Johnson, who chaired the panel discussion, said: “Standing here today, I am incredibly inspired by the achievements of you all. You truly are a credit to the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation that thrives in our region and have demonstrated remarkable resilience and creativity, driving growth in challenging times. It is a privilege to celebrate your success and acknowledge your contributions to the regional economy. Huge congratulations to you all.”

The overall fastest-growing business of the year was premium sportswear and athletic clothing brand Castore, which achieved the highest turnover growth. Headquartered in Manchester, the business also won the large category. Known for its high-quality sportswear and partnerships with professional sports clubs and stars, Castore has demonstrated significant expansion and has deservedly secured its place at the top of the list.

Stuart Puddy, Investment Director at Castore, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to win this award. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team and the entrepreneurial spirit of brothers Tom and Phil Beahon who started Castore from humble roots in 2015. To see our exponential growth and the support from our amazing partners is incredible. This recognition is not just for us, but for all the businesses in the region striving to succeed. It’s an exciting time to be at Castore as we embark on the next phase of our journey.”

In the medium business category, Junkyard Golf Club took home the award with a turnover growth of 124.92%. Known for its unique and entertaining mini-golf venues, the business has seen substantial growth, attracting a broad audience with its creative approach to leisure.

Chris Morgan, Operations Support Manager at Junkyard Golf Club, said: “It’s amazing to win and it’s all thanks to our people. It’s wonderful to see our team thrive and do so well – the North West is such a special community and we love being a part of it. Investing in our people and seeing them develop week in week out is incredibly rewarding. This award recognises that we’re making a significant impact, and we’re excited about the future of Junkyard Golf Club.”

Campfire Group was the fastest growing small business of the year, achieving a turnover growth of 95.88%. A leading name in digital marketing services, Campfire Group has made significant strides in its sector, earning recognition for its rapid expansion and innovative marketing solutions.

Campfire’s Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder Alex Brown said: “It feels amazing to win this award! Reflecting on our journey from when we started five years ago, it’s incredible to be recognised alongside major, well known businesses not just regionally but nationally too. Our team’s hard work, creativity and innovative spirit have been key to our success. We’re proud to be a part of the vibrant North West business community, continually innovating and growing.”

The Fastest 50 list showcased a diverse range of industries, reflecting the North West’s vibrant business ecosystem. Manufacturing was the most represented sector, accounting for 26% of the businesses on the list. This was followed by business services at 14%, transport and logistics at 12%, and leisure at 10%. Other sectors represented included energy (8%), wholesale (6%), construction (6%), engineering (6%), financial services (4%), technology (4%), healthcare (2%), and real estate (2%). This diversity highlights the region’s broad economic base and capacity for driving growth.

Emma Holt, President of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, added: “These awards highlight the incredible growth, tenacity and strength of businesses in the North West. It’s a privilege to partner with Ward Hadaway in celebrating their success. The achievements of these businesses not only reflect their dedication and hard work but also contribute significantly to the economic vitality of our region. By fostering innovation and supporting each other, we continue to build a thriving business community that can weather any challenge and seize new opportunities. I am looking forward to seeing even greater accomplishments in the future.”

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