Humber's high growth ScaleUp stars shine from Scunthorpe

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 27 Mar 2019

The number of fast-growing ambitious businesses with leaders hungry for success is increasing across the wider Humber region – new insights from the ScaleUp Institute reveal.

There are now 900 companies in East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire that meet the definition, having increased turnover or employment by more than 20 per cent in a year. 

And the Scunthorpe-area is leading the way.

Shining stars include Amvale Medical Transport Ltd, Clugston Group, Foster Environmental and Louth’s Luxus with the latter two in the top five for both staff additions and turnover increases. 

Clugston delivers for Arco in a pan-Humber project. 

On the North Bank multi-discipline focused engineering giant Spencer Group tops turnover growth in the analysis - having spent a large part of its history headquartered in Barrow, with Hull’s Walker Modular, manufacturer of bathroom pods for commercial use appearing in both. Doubling up across headcount and revenues are also Bee Health, the Bridlington-based manufacturer of health supplements and Holme-on-Spalding-Moor stonemason J Rotherham, creator of worktops, fireplaces and flooring. 

Driffield’s Bankside Patterson, a steel building products manufacturer, and Howden-based brick and tile producer Crest both made the top five in employee additions. John Good Shipping completed the top spots.

Last year saw Normanby Gateway-based Foster Environmental - recently rebranded to FEL Group - win at the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce-organised Northern Lincolnshire Business Awards, with the specialist heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration provider capitalising on major drives in data centre demand. 

The past five years has seen a 400 per cent increase in profits and 300 per cent uplift in turnover. In 2017 alone, on which the ONS analysis is based, it added 25 new staff, raising the headcount to 73. 

Spencer Group is named Humber Renewables Champion last year. 

Speaking recently, chief executive Ged Doolan said: “For me, it is a pleasure working with such a dedicated team who truly specialise in this sector. It’s an old saying you can’t buy experience, which is true and we have it in abundance, but the difference in working with FEL Group is that we never presume. We always listen and engage in an open way and our priority is to gain a full understanding of our clients need, knowing quite often they can change their scope midway through a project and this is where real experience comes into play, remaining calm and managing change is a real skill that we possess, always keeping a keen eye on cost, programme and building safely.

“We’ve always put an emphasis on growing our own staff and investing in the people in our business. We also want to give back to the local community that has supported us.”

Foster is aiming to double the turnover in the next three years – an ambitious target which Mr Doolen said is “absolutely achievable.”

It is back on the shortlist again for the 2019 Northern Lincolnshire Business Awards, vying for training excellence and investment recognition. 

Walker Modular's product, and inset, the base off Marfleet Avenue. 

Broadgate Homes and Robsons of Spalding, Boston-based The Coaching Inn Group and Fox Group of Owmby complete the top 10 in both categories for the county.

In total the Humber and its hinterland’s stars in the ScaleUp analysis are employing a total of 72,271 staff and their turnover is worth £9.1 billion. 

Across the UK there are more 36,000 scaleups, an increase of 3.7 per cent from 2016.

ScaleUp Institute chief executive Irene Graham said: “Scaleups are the engine drivers of local economies; they are twice as innovative as large firms, employ twice as many apprentices, are twice as likely to be operating in international markets, and, significantly, they create high quality jobs.

“Their aspirations remain high. According to our recent ScaleUp survey eight out of ten expect to scale again in 2019, generating £1.5 billion more in turnover and creating an extra 7,000 jobs.

While they are ambitious about their growth, scaleups continue to face major challenges. In Greater Lincolnshire they particularly highlight access to UK markets, access to talent and leadership development as key issues. They also want easier access to support from local universities and peer-to-peer networks.

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