Call for entries for Deloitte Fast 50 Awards

A scheme aimed at identifying the UK’s 50 most successful technology companies has been launched by business advisory firm Deloitte.

Entries for the firm’s 2009 Fast 50 Technology awards have now opened and West Midlands firms are being urged to put themselves forward.

Now in its twelfth year, the awards recognise and rank technology companies with an exceptional growth in turnover over the last five years.

Last year’s winning entry was Thunderhead, a London-based enterprise communications software house, with an astounding growth rate of 28,558 per cent.

Coventry-based firm ByBox was ranked 17th in the list after reporting a 1,340 per cent growth in revenues.

Chris Robertson, Deloitte technology partner in Birmingham, said: “The Technology Fast 50 awards are an opportunity for businesses to gain recognition for their successes and achievements over the previous 12 months. In what has been a turbulent environment for the sector, there has never been a more important time for businesses to highlight their achievements.”

The launch of the Fast 50 coincides with the launch of the Deloitte report ‘When The Crunch Bytes’ which analyses the key operational and financial concerns of last year’s entrants to the Fast 50, and shows that the economic conditions facing the 2008 winners appear the most challenging experienced in the eleven years that the Fast 50 programme has been operating.

Mr Robertson said: “The recession is having a marked impact on the way in which Fast 50 companies are being run. Investment decisions are much more black and white: management teams generally do not have the luxury to “see how things go”. Instead the focus on return on investment is relentless.

The pressure to reduce working capital has also increased in the last twelve months. Increasingly our respondents felt the impact of reduced credit terms from their suppliers, whilst the largest cost for many of these companies – staff salaries and wages – result in steady, constant and regular expenditure which may not match fluctuations in turnover or cash flows.”

According to the Deloitte report the key financial concerns cited included working capital (36 per cent), financing (28 per cent), margin management (24 per cent) and other/ none (12 per cent).

In terms of operational concerns, 47 per cent of those surveyed said employee acquisition and retention was the biggest issue, followed by operational structure (28 per cent), managing external relationships (15 per cent), new products or services (7 per cent) and other (3 per cent).

Nearly half (47 per cent) said they would reduce or freeze employee numbers; 25 per cent would reduce marketing and PR spend; 20 per cent would cut back R&D and/ or expansion plans; and eight per cent would increase debt.

Mr Robertson said: “While businesses are being cautious, there are also plenty of positive messages coming from this year’s winners: a challenged economy represents opportunity as well as challenge for technology entrepreneurs. The majority of our respondents are self-funded, which could turn out to be a competitive advantage in an environment of scarce liquidity.”



For further information contact:

Matt Taylor/ Philip Parkin, Headline Communication

Tel: 0121 643 4600   

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