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The Future50 Class of 2018: The brightest and boldest companies in Norfolk and Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 11:37 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:50 07 December 2017

Future 50 Live 2017 at the Enterprise Centre at the UEA. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Future 50 Live 2017 at the Enterprise Centre at the UEA. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Copyright Simon Finlay 2017

They span sectors from tech to health, and tourism to manufacturing – but they are all united by an ​ambition to grow. Meet the Future50 Class of 2018.

Future 50 Live at the Enterprise Centre at the UEA.  Picture: Simon Finlay Photography. Future 50 Live at the Enterprise Centre at the UEA. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

An elite group of the region’s most ambitious and innovative businesses have been welcomed into the Future50 Class of 2018.

The new crop of companies include an AI-powered fintech firm founded by a teenager, a manufacturer trying to break our addiction to unrecyclable coffee cups, a flavourings specialist developing an alternative to sugar and a community interest company aiming to break down barriers for overlooked sections of society.

They – along with the 46 other members making up the new cohort – were officially unveiled at the Future50 Live! Conference at the Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia.

The business support programme offers members access to expert advice from partners Archant, Nwes, Barclays, Lovewell Blake, Birketts and UEA, as well as networking opportunities, exclusive events and media exposure.

Future 50 Live at the Enterprise Centre at the UEA. Guest speaker Professor Fiona Lettice, pro-vice-chancellor for research and innovation at the UEA.  Picture: Simon Finlay Photography. Future 50 Live at the Enterprise Centre at the UEA. Guest speaker Professor Fiona Lettice, pro-vice-chancellor for research and innovation at the UEA. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Andrew Wilson, head of enterprise at Nwes, said the final 50 offered a snapshot of the diverse business community across Norfolk and Suffolk. “We have some businesses which are in their early stages and have great potential, and others further on in their development who are already showing signs of growth,” he said.

“It’s exciting to have that mix and the aim of having them all in the Future50 is that they are able to share their experiences, knowledge and understanding of those growth cycles.

“All of these businesses have the determination to grow – and that’s something we have seen in previous Future50 groups too.”

Thursday’s event saw nearly 150 people gather for the second Future50 Live! Conference, which featured Prof Fiona Lettice of the UEA on disruptive innovation, and Barclays’ Joe Cooksey advising on cyber security.

Guests also heard from Chris Billing of Future50 member Snap Account on his firm’s development, and Mark Sait, chief executive of Save Money Cut Carbon, an environmental consultancy and supplier, offered insights into “The Valley of Death” – across which businesses must leap from start-up to scale-up. “It’s an attitude change to go from working in your business, to working on your business,” he said.

MORE: Explore the Future50 Class of 2018

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