Future50 members speak of their successes as initiative doubles its job creation target

Founder of Gnaw, Matt Legon.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017

Founder of Gnaw, Matt Legon. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

As Future50 organisers prepare to start the search for their class of 2018, Bethany Whymark looks back at the achievements of the programme's most recent cohorts.

Future50 launch. Andrew Wilson speaking at the event.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Future50 launch. Andrew Wilson speaking at the event. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A programme designed to highlight the best and brightest young businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk has more than doubled its job creation target.

The Future50 initiative, managed by enterprise agency Nwes, media group Archant and partners, has helped to create 421 jobs to date through grant funding and business support – more than twice its target of 200 jobs.

To achieve this a total of £1,529,809.03 has been handed out in grants to members of the 2015 and 2016 intake.

The jobs created – a total which could swell further in the coming months – have an annual salary bill of £9.15m.

The Future50 scheme has passed its jobs creation target. Picture: Future50

The Future50 scheme has passed its jobs creation target. Picture: Future50 - Credit: Archant

The release of these figures comes as Future50 organisers prepare to start the hunt for the class of 2018.

Andrew Wilson, head of enterprise at Nwes in Norwich, said: 'We are delighted with the impact that Future50 has had during the last two years on the local economy.

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'The Future50 businesses were selected based on their growth potential and we have seen the programme assist in their development and the resulting investment growth and, notably, jobs has been significantly better than expectations.

'The benefits of being a Future50 member have never been better.'

Ribbon cutting at Challs' new offices with (L to R) South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, Mayor of Hadl

Ribbon cutting at Challs' new offices with (L to R) South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, Mayor of Hadleigh Yvonne Free and Challs managing director Graham Burchell - Credit: Archant

Nearly half the Future50 businesses which have received grants from the programme towards job creation exceeded their individual targets, while five other members met their job targets without funding.

The grants have also helped four firms to take on seven trainees and apprentices between them.

Among the greatest workforce increases were from personal alarm systems provider Lifeline 24 in Taverham, which received a grant of £50,000 (the maximum available) and tripled its target to create 34 full-time equivalent jobs, and care company NR Care, which beat its target of eight jobs to create almost 26 full-time equivalent positions with a grant of £24,531,80.

Property and development group Cameron Ventures, based in Mildenhall, was also given the full £50,000 grant and exceeded its target five-fold to create 25 jobs, while ETP Card Processing saw its workforce go from one to nearly nine full-time equivalent staff with its £50,000 grant.

Naturediet business development manager Aaron Burton and head of marketing Emily Cannon at the pet f

Naturediet business development manager Aaron Burton and head of marketing Emily Cannon at the pet food manufacturer's headquarters in Ickburgh, near Thetford. Picture: Emily Cannon/Naturediet - Credit: Supplied

To find out more about the Future50 programme go to www.edp.co.uk/business/future50

Beattie Passive

Since joining Future50 in 2015 construction firm Beattie Passive has almost doubled the size of its workforce – creating 11 new jobs.

The firm, which builds Passivhaus-certified homes, was agreed a grant of £50,000 to help it open its first factory at Scottow Enterprise Park, funding equipment, marketing and other start-up costs.

Co-director Ron Beattie said the grant had 'supported with recruiting more people at a more rapid speed' to staff the new factory.

The money also helped the firm to focus its marketing in the self-build marketplace, with a greater presence at trade shows and more promotional content online.

The Hethel-based company's next big initiative is flying factories, which enable on-site construction and provide jobs for local workers. The first of these factories has been established at Graven Hill, a custom-build development in Oxfordshire.

Gnaw Chocolate

Chocolatier Gnaw was given a grant of £9,281, which it spent on beefing up its production capabilities.

The firm bought new machinery for its factory on Norwich Livestock Market which has allowed it to ramp up production to keep up with increasing demand.

The company has beaten its Future50 job creation target of seven, creating nine new positions since 2015. It now has six office staff and around 25 factory staff.

Founder and chief executive Matt Legon said: 'We have been investing in new team members. From an office point for view we have grown significantly, with three new staff starting since April.'

Gnaw has launched with two major new stockists this year – supermarket Waitrose, with which it signed a contract to supply more than 250 stores, and M&S food stores at BP service stations, which are stocking its quirky Gnaw chocolate bars and its premium Brooke & Amble range.

Challs

After a difficult period domestic cleaning product manufacturer Challs is considering numerous avenues for expansion.

The maker of Buster plughole cleaning products and Bin Buddy opened a new headquarters earlier this year after its previous base in Hadleigh was destroyed by a fire.

Production took a hit during the construction of the new high-tech office, but managing director Graham Burchell has said the company is getting back up to full steam with growth plans in the pipeline.

Challs is exploring new product development, including branching out into other areas like toiletries and personal care, and further expansion into international markets – its products, all manufactured in Suffolk, are already shipped around the world to places such as Singapore and Australia.

The firm had a grant of £44,600 agreed by Future50 and met its jobs target for the programme.

Naturediet Pet Foods

Pet food producer Naturediet has received almost £28,500 from Future50 since 2015, which it has funnelled into improving the heating and operations of its production line.

Improvements at the manufacturing plant have enabled the company, based in Ickburgh near Mundford, to produce existing products in smaller sizes and develop a new premium dry food range and semi-moist treats alongside its wet food offering.

The firm has created 11 jobs during the programme and developed four new roles. These include a business development manager, Aaron Burton, and head of marketing Emily Cannon, who joined from raw pet food manufacturer Natures Menu.

Naturediet chief executive Carol Orrow said: 'We're excited to welcome Aaron and Emily to the Naturediet family. They bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the company that will make a difference in how we drive the business and brand forward.'