The cream of Norfolk’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs have been celebrated with the launch of the EDP Future50.

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Now in its fifth year, the definitive list celebrates 50 of the county’s small firms, which are transforming cutting-edge ideas into growing businesses.

And this year’s cohort demonstrates these qualities across a range of sectors, from electric bikes and social care, to pharmaceuticals and tea.

More than 70 people attended the breakfast event – held at the Norwich University of the Arts on Duke Street today – where business leaders revealed how the Future50 had inspired business-boosting collaborations among its members.

Kevin Horne, chief executive of enterprise agency NWES and chairman of the Future 50 judges, said that the firms were entering a key year for growth as the economic picture was improving.

“To be a member of the Future50 means you are a company with potential,” he said. “And that can be shown in a number of different ways, whether you are growing, or making a positive impact in the community.

“But nobody can do something on their own. Businesses need help, whether that is through the sponsors of the EDP Future50, or through working together.”

“It has been a difficult few years for businesses,” he added. “But I am seeing a real sense of optimism now.

“There is a sense that people are spending more, which will lead to people employing more staff and help stimulate businesses to grow at a faster pace.”

Two Future50 businesses, which have featured in the list two-years running, said their inclusion had sparked a collaboration that had helped both businesses develop.

Ben Farrin, managing director of The Student Pocket Guide, relocated his business to Norwich-based Epic Studios to increase its digital presence, while Epic Studios used the move to capitalise on the guide’s young audience.

James Foster, head of audience and content at Epic Studios, said the business was using its relationship to drive more traffic to its live shows and online videos.

Meanwhile, Mark Camidge, the director of Eco-classrooms said that the Future50 had helped raise the profile of his business.

Mr Camidge, whose firm won the Future50 One to Watch prize at the EDP Business Awards, has recently forged ahead with a new venture to work with the NHS after launching a new range of sustainable healthcare buildings.

The EDP Future50 is sponsored by enterprise agency NWES, the Norwich University of the Arts, accountants Lovewell Blake and the law firm Birketts.

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