SME Fast Growth 50: The eco system giving SMEs a boost across the region

The North West is home to thousands of SMEs that see the region as a strong place to start and grow a business.

As in partnership with Alexander & Co release the names of the next ten companies that have made it onto the SME Fast Growth 50 index, we look at what makes the region’s ecosystem drive SME growth.

The North West is home to six of the UK’s 14 digital unicorns (startups valued at over $1bn) and reinforces just why the region is ideal for those looking to start their next venture.

Starting a new business can be daunting at the best of times, but if you’re in the right city for what you need and the right environment, you’re already off to a good start.

Whether you’re in Manchester, Liverpool, Preston, or Lancaster, one of the biggest advantages for businesses in the region to thrive is that it benefits substantially from connections to “feeder” universities that provide fledgling companies in the area with access to high-quality talent across a range of areas such as tech, life sciences, and engineering.

Take Manchester for example. With four universities, the city is home to some of the best talent in the country, meaning that if you want to launch a tech venture, you’ll be looking at talented graduates straight on your doorstep.

With rising inflation and rising costs of living, London is becoming more inaccessible for some. Many of the cities and towns across the North West are still considered affordable compared to the South of England which makes it an attractive location for scaling businesses to the area.

When it comes to development and expansion, the region’s success has been boosted by a range of dedicated support services and a rich financial services sector.

Emma Ball, partner at Alexander & Co

For example, Citylabs in Manchester or facilities such as Alderley Park, Daresbury Laboratories, and the Knowledge Quarter in Liverpool support not only start-ups but scaleups to drive innovation and thrive in their specialisms.

Emma Ball, Partner at Alexander & Co commented: “The North West has some hugely successful brands

which is a testament to the thriving eco-system we have here to help develop and support businesses at all levels.

“From a strong pipeline of talent from the region’s universities to various hubs such as MediaCity in Salford and the Business Growth Hub, working across region, the support network around the North West has been helping with the region’s success. We are pleased to work with and advise many of the region’s growth companies”

Emma added: “It is a region that is high in confidence, and you only have to look at the number of tech

deals over the past 18 months to see the increasing optimism from firms, but also investors alike and this makes the North West a perfect breeding ground for businesses to start and grow.

“The region also has a long and rich history in pioneering new innovation and technologies and as we publish the SME Fast Growth 50 list this week, we can see the businesses’ optimism to further grow and expand.”


Rank Company Name Location Latest turnover (£m) Turnover growth
21 COLT BRANDS Manchester 3.5 223%
22 ENERGY ASSETS Manchester 47.5 205%
23 GRIFFITHS & ARMOUR (HOLDINGS) Liverpool 9.0 194%
24 SPHERE CONSUMER PRODUCTS Warrington 30.3 192%
25 EURO RECYCLING BROKERS Blackpool 16.6 187%
26 PERSONA GROUP Bury 13.3 184%
27 MCDERMOTT DEVELOPMENTS Accrington 45.0 179%
29 POUR MOI Macclesfield 30.8 164%
30 SSP HEALTH HOLDING Manchester 9.4 153%

The SME Fast Growth 50 list has been compiled with data from Experian.

All the businesses are private and located in the North West and have shown the largest percentage increase in turnover (up to £50m) over the last three years while also remaining profitable in each of those years.