The first ever list of the fifty fastest growing firms in the North of England has been released today by the UK Fast Growth 50 Index.

From Liverpool to Leeds and Manchester to Newcastle, the list reveals significant entrepreneurial success across this dynamic region with  fifty growth-oriented firms that have collectively achieved £1 billion in turnover in 2022, employing over 10,000 individuals. What’s more impressive is their capacity to accelerate growth, adding £706 million in turnover between 2020 and 2022, with an average growth rate of 199% percent.

These firms not only expanded their businesses but also contributed significantly to the regional economy by creating 4,789 new jobs in just two years, highlighting their resilience, particularly in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contrary to the belief that rapid scaling occurs primarily in new businesses, the average age of a fast-growing North of England firm in 2022 was eleven years with only nine of this year’s cohort firms being new firms aged five years or less. This challenges the notion that rapid growth is confined to the early stages of a company’s existence. The oldest firm, Lancereal, celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2023.

Seventeen firms on the list exceeded £20 million in turnover, with Edge Worldwide Logistics leading the pack with £267 million in sales in 2022. SBFM stands out as a major job creator, adding 2,500 new jobs between 2020 and 2022.

The sectors that dominated the Fast Growth 50 list in 2022 include professional services, consumer services, and consumer products, reflecting the diversity of scale-up businesses in the region. Manufacturing and engineering firms also featured prominently, along with six technology and digital firms, highlighting the growing importance of innovation-driven industries in the region.

The fastest growing firm in the North of England in 2023 is Panache Cruises which increased its turnover by 2443% between 2020 and 2022. Founded by James Cole, a renowned figure in the cruise industry, the firm is dedicated to redefining the cruise experience.

With a commitment to crafting each cruise holiday as if it were their own, Panache Cruises distinguishes itself as a disrupter in the industry, embracing innovation and excellence, going beyond conventional practices to ensure a truly personalised service and setting a new standard for cruise holidays, driven by a passion for excellence and a commitment to exceeding expectations.

“The UK Fast Growth 50 Index demonstrates that a small number of fast growth firms make a substantial contribution to the UK’s economic landscape, providing real examples of how innovation, enterprise and sheer hard work can make a real difference in all sectors from construction to financial services to technology.

Their incredible growth during difficult times shows that through generating wealth and jobs in their local communities, entrepreneurship is the cornerstone of regional and national prosperity. Most important of all, their success stories demonstrate the impact of ambition and adaptability, providing a blueprint for sustainable growth that will hopefully inspire others to follow a similar journey.”

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, Founder Fast Growth 50

Therefore, the 2023 Fast Growth 50 list for the North of England sheds light on the dynamic and diverse entrepreneurial landscape in the region. These firms not only wield significant economic influence but also represent the importance of entrepreneurship for the region. Their stories serve as inspiration, demonstrating the remarkable achievements possible through vision, determination, and innovation in the North of England.

This year’s Fast Growth 50 list is in partnership with UBS, the world’s leading and truly global wealth manager.

“Business owners and entrepreneurs are the engine of our economy, and UBS has a long history advising and connecting them on each stage of their wealth journey, helping them to unlock their potential. Led by entrepreneurial spirit and often solving some of the UK’s biggest issues, the level of talent and innovation uncovered through this year’s list shows that more needs to be done to support small businesses to strengthen local economies and give back to the local community. As the lead sponsor of this year’s Fast Growth 50, UBS is looking forward to following and supporting these businesses as they go from strength to strength.”

Mark Goddard, Head of UK Regions at UBS Global Wealth Management

Fast Growth 50 Index: North of England 2023 winners

  • Fastest growing firm in North of England: Panache Cruises
  • Fastest growing business to business services firm: Edge Worldwide Logistics
  • Fastest growing creative services firm: Komi Group
  • Fastest growing consumer products firm: Powersheds
  • Fastest growing consumer services firm: Panache Cruises
  • Fastest growing food and health products firm: Bio & Me
  • Fastest growing green firm: Environment Bank
  • Fastest growing manufacturing and engineering: MyEnergi
  • Fastest growing people services firm: Apprentify
  • Fastest growing professional services firm: SDDE Smith Group
  • Fastest growing technology and digital firm: Coptrz