People often characterise Shropshire’s business landscape as having a somewhat slower pace than the dog-eat-dog world you might encounter in a more urban environment.
It’s not that it’s sedate as such, but, so they say, it doesn’t experience much by way of fluctuation. Instead, we carry on at a steady rate, growing a little at a time.
It’s not a reputation that sits particularly comfortably with some local businesses, though.
According to a new report compiled by accountancy giant BDO, the 50 fastest-growing businesses in the county generated an extra £1.1 billion in turnover over the last year.
Out at the head of the pack was Shrewsbury-based Capital Care Group.
Capital Care Group achieved 59.10 per cent per cent growth over a three-year period ending in May this year following a 2017 funding injection from Metro Bank, which was used to refinance a portfolio of five care homes and acquire a 47-bed care home in Wolverhampton.
There are a variety of sectors represented on the list.
A number of the leading companies represent a diversity of industry sectors including IT service provision, construction, manufacturing and social care.
The 10 fastest-growing companies in the county represent eight sectors, highlighting the fact that no single industry is dominating when it comes to business success.
The top 10 includes Hortonwood-based meat processor Pickstock Telford, an abattoir operator with a growth of 47.63 per cent.
Oswestry-based aerial platform manufacturer Skyjack UK achieved growth of 29.11 per cent over the same period.
And privately-owned Cleobury Mortimer firm Amodil Supplies, which is the largest UK stockholder of stainless steel products, notched up growth of 27.98 per cent.
David Pooler, a partner at BDO and head of the Shropshire team, said: “Shropshire’s diverse and healthy business environment helps the county stand out when it comes to business growth in the Midlands.
“The variety of sectors that make this list create a promising picture for the future and boost Shropshire’s reputation as an attractive place to do business.
“We already have most of the ingredients needed to make Shropshire a great place to live and work, and universities are increasingly expanding their educational offering in the county.”
He added: “Moving forward, if further investment in infrastructure and business premises is made, Shropshire will not only meet growth expectations but exceed them, making it a desirable place for a diverse, high-quality workforce to call home.
“This recipe for robost business growth is likely to become all the more critical as uncertainty over Brexit continues.”
The report also recognises Telford as the centre of business growth in Shropshire, as it is home to 27 of the top 50 businesses.
It also reveals that the top 50 companies took on a total of 2,270 new members of staff across the last year.
Some of Shropshire’s biggest employers also feature outside the top 10, but in the top 50.
Lighting manufacturer Luceco, which has its UK distribution centre on Stafford Park in Telford, came 11th on the list after achieving growth in turnover of 27.55 per cent.
Dairy giant Muller, one of Shropshire’s biggest businesses, most significant employers and best-known names, was named 12th on the list and boasted a growth of 27.20 per cent.
Naturally the list focuses on the speed and growth and not the overall size of the business, and the fast rate of growth at Muller is the more impressive because it came from a higher starting point.
Transport and logistics firm Grocontinental sneaked onto the list in 48th place with growth of 12.36 per cent.
Paul Bennett, chairman of the Shropshire Business Board, said: “We are quite unusual in that there is such a variety of successful businesses in Shropshire, which means we’re not really dependant on any particular sector.
“Our key challenge is to encourage 100 to 200 SMEs that can double in size over the next decade.”
He said there remains a lot of potential in the local economy.
“The good news is that those businesses should have plenty of room to grow,” he added.
“Unlike many other parts of the Midlands, in Shropshire there is no war for talent, but a workforce willing to develop skills for higher-level opportunities.
“Plus, the county has land ready for commercial development through the Invest in Shropshire programme.
“Furthermore, the economy is extremely diverse, making it easier for employees to find the job they want – and meaning employees aren’t always fighting for the same kinds of talent.”