Success of Essex’s Innovation 50 is celebrated

Celebrating the 50 fastest growing and most innovative companies in Essex

Acketts with plaqueThe county’s 50 fastest growing and most innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have recently had their achievement recognised at a showcase event to celebrate the Innovation 50 project. Innovation 50, a joint project between the Essex Innovation Programme (EIP) and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), has indicated important characteristics and strategies of the 50 fastest growing SMEs in Essex. The companies were identified as part of a three year business project.

The event, hosted at ARU, took place on the 25th May and included speakers from three Essex companies who spoke about topics that had been identified through the Innovation 50 research as significant barriers to growth for SMEs…

Innovation 50 companies

The 50 SMEs in Essex that demonstrated fast growth, or the potential for it, and had innovation at their core received a plaque at the celebration event to recognise their achievement and can now display an Innovation 50 kitemark to highlight their innovation credentials…

The Innovation 50 companies are being supported through the Essex Innovation Programme and partners through mentoring, introductions, academic expertise or publicity coverage and will be part of a newly created ‘Essex Innovation Network’ to provide access to likeminded companies.

Using innovation to achieve success

Businesses from a wide cross section of industries and sectors applied to Innovation 50 including one of the country’s last remaining privately owned zoos, video games developers, construction companies and high-tech manufacturers amongst numerous others. The Innovation 50 SMEs were chosen by examining the reasons behind a company’s growth and identifying where additional support could enable them to grow even faster.

Colchester Zoo's Innovative PenguinsThis is what some of the companies said about being selected as one of the 50:

“Colchester Zoo continues to work hard to evolve year on year for the benefit of both our animals and visitors. We are extremely pleased that Colchester Zoo has been recognised as one of the top 50 innovative businesses in Essex.”

Melissa Fitch, Marketing Manager, Colchester Zoo

"Health and fitness is a very crowded market and have chosen a very difficult approach. Most of my competition preach to the converted and that is not going to solve the huge health crisis we face in Essex and beyond. Being selected by Innovation 50 has re-assured me that I am approaching this problem in the right way. The award has given me renewed faith in my product and the drive to succeed. As a very small business the help and support I'm getting from marketing experts as a part of my Innovation 50 title has been a godsend. I'm sure that this continued support will become a huge part of my future success."

Paul Mumford, Creator, The Accumulator

“We are delighted to have been recognised by the Innovation50 award, and we hope that we can help to inspire other businesses to achieve success through their innovation.  Excellence is at the heart of what we do and each lampshade we craft is hand made in Great Britain using only the finest materials and fabric.”

Angela Berry, Director, The Lampshade Company

“To be considered one of the most innovative businesses within Essex has been hugely empowering. We are looking forward to the future as part of the Innovation 50 initiative, with a view to continue to grow and achieve with the support this allows. We believe that all businesses that are a part of Innovation 50 can feel immensely proud and it is a great opportunity celebrate Essex as being very exciting place to do business”.

Andy Smith, Director Ultimotive

Gaining knowledge to encourage innovation and growth

Focused audienceInnovation 50 is enabling the Essex Innovation Programme to learn how companies have used innovation to achieve success and the project has already provided useful data. Research work, which has already shown that 85% of applicants see their future as positive and feel that they benefit from being Essex-based, will continue and a full report of the analysis and recommendations will be produced for 2018. This will be used to develop a blueprint of a successful business with innovation at its core.

"The support and enthusiasm for the programme that has been shown by small and medium sized enterprises has been outstanding. We have collected a vast amount of data already and our survey work continues. From this important piece of research, I hope we can build on the successes and strengthen the support available for our business community to grow further."

Dr. Rob Willis, the Lord Ashcroft International Business School, ARU

How a university and business collaborate                     

The interest shown in Innovation 50 from the county’s applicants is a great example of how the talents and resources of the Essex Innovation Programme (EIP) and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) can be harnessed for the greater good of the business community. The partnership between EIP and ARU has been set up to encourage the sharing of expertise and good practice to support economic growth in the region. It is envisaged the methodologies and conceptual frameworks will be developed as valuable models for future initiatives and for determining future strategy.

Read here for more information on the Essex Innovation Programme.

Emma Wakeling
Emma Wakeling

Business Innovation Manager

07921 397050


Leading on the Essex Innovation Programme and developing new support mechanisms to enable Essex businesses to grow. Managing a team of experienced private sector business mentors who work closely with multi-sectoral established businesses and start-ups to embed innovative practices. Focusing on product (including intellectual property), process, organisational and marketing innovation. Developing key collaborative strategic partnerships with industry and academia.