Fastest 50: Business must go on as usual

Welcome to this special supplement celebrating the Ward Hadaway Yorkshire Fastest 50 for 2018. This is the eighth year in which we have held the awards, supported by The Yorkshire Post, and they never fail to deliver inspirational, fast-moving stories from the world of business.

Challenges: Brexit is a huge change that every company in the UK is coming to terms with. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Challenges: Brexit is a huge change that every company in the UK is coming to terms with. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Yorkshire is a hub for fast-growing, innovative companies that generate jobs and ultimately sustain the region’s competitiveness. Our awards celebrate those that have grown their businesses with speed, while maintaining profitability to come out on top.

Managing growth at speed is challenging in a changing environment, which is why the winners and indeed every company in this year’s list deserves the recognition afforded to them at the awards on Friday and within these pages.

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Adapting to change

Jamie Martin, managing partner at Ward Hadaway

The new strategy for today’s business leaders has to be about adapting to change and if we take Brexit as an example, it is something which every one in every company in the UK is coming to terms with.

Since the referendum in June 2016, businesses across Yorkshire have not denied the changes Brexit will bring, because they know it isn’t going away. They have not negotiated or bargained for a return of the ‘good old days’ either.

Instead they have realised that change is here to stay and instead of getting frustrated, they have focused on the challenge ahead in order to achieve super-fast growth.

The hard truth for companies of all sizes is that change is an accelerating occurrence in the 21st Century. It is a continuing process and sometimes we have to look to the past to reflect on our successes to give us strength.

Jamie Martin, managing partner at Ward Hadaway

A special year

2018 is a particularly special year for Ward Hadaway as we celebrate 30 years in business, with a decade in Leeds and six years in Manchester.

It is therefore fitting to reflect on the times when we have been successful in dealing with change to become one of the UK’s Top 100 law firms and a Northern law firm for national business.

As a business, we have grown to meet the needs of our clients in a changing environment. For instance, we have responded to Brexit by helping them understand the legal implications of what is and isn’t going on. In turn, we are seeing increased client demand for our related services, particularly at this stage in the process within our employment and immigration teams.

We are not afraid of change because whether it’s the effects of trade or the implications of workers’ rights, our lawyers continue to plan ahead and host training seminars to ensure they can arm businesses with knowledge, useful information, as well as skills for the future.

Developing devolution

While the Brexit situation is uncertain, there is also a growing need to stick together if Yorkshire is to receive powers under devolution. The clock has been ticking for some time and we need to make this happen sooner rather than later.

It’s all too easy in uncertain times to resist change and end up divided, but one thing is certain – change will inevitably happen and it is vital for Yorkshire to achieve and develop devolution.

Other parts of the UK, such as Scotland, Wales and London have long had devolution of powers and last year they were joined by Manchester, Liverpool and several other parts of England. All of these regions will be benefitting from the recent Budget to tackle transport and other issues.

Yorkshire and its five million people deserve to have a bigger say in how the region is run. The region has a flag, an emblem and even a civic day on August 1. It also benefits from 10 universities, tourism, farming, fishing, market towns, a large manufacturing base and thriving services sector. We’ve seen Regional Development Agencies, a Minister for Yorkshire, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Northern Powerhouse initiatives, but what is clear is that we need a consistent and unified approach. Things are different in the North to the South and therefore different measures need to be applied.

Potential for growth

The potential for growth and more companies to follow in the footsteps of this year’s Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 is well within reach. This is a region which has been founded on the energy of the industrial revolution and the Fastest 50 demonstrates that spirit and endeavour remain very much alive today.

Jamie is managing partner of Ward Hadaway. He can be contacted at [email protected] or on 0191 204 4341.