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We are very much a Norfolk owned, Norfolk business. We created our vision focusing on people, service and the environment seven years ago and everything we do from boardroom meetings down stems back to that vision
Ian Hacon Chief Executive, Blue Sky Leisure

Future50 One to Watch

Comms Supply

Norwich-based Comms Supply has set its sights on establishing itself as the leading provider of telecoms solutions in the region. It has already secured a number of high-profile local businesses as its customers, providing bespoke telecom packages, which aim to offer a diverse range of facilities, while driving down cost. This year, the company announced that it would look to quadruple its staff after seeing its turnover break through the £1m mark. Part of its growth has come from a strong demand for its new hosted solution, which provides free or low-cost telephone calls over the internet. The business counts 180 customers on its books, including the East Anglian Air Ambulance and The Forum in Norwich, and said May this year had been one of its busiest sales months, recording nearly £80,000 in new business. It recently launched a fresh marketing drive to capture more contracts with its robot company mascot, which is used to highlight its personable customer service delivered by real people and not machines.

Eco Classrooms

Thorpe-based Eco Classrooms has proved that sustainability can be at the heart of a successful business model.Formed in 2010, the firm began by focusing its attention on the education sector, offering low-cost solutions for new classrooms which met the government’s 2016 sustainability targets. But the company’s growing portfolio now boasts a diversity of structures, including a dance studio, a café and study centre, and a specialist educational centre comprising of an array of small meeting rooms and classrooms. And the company has proved that it is not afraid to take advantage of a wide-ranging customer appetite for its eco-friendly buildings. This year, the firm launched a sister company and website platform www.eco-healthrooms.com, after generating significant business from Norfolk and Waveney Primary Care Trust. Each timber-framed building is based around a modular design aimed at cutting energy and carbon usage. They take six weeks to construct on-site, with many projects only needing one of two weeks on-site construction. The buildings are also cheaper to install and maintain than a conventional mobile classroom.

Zing Insights

Tharston-based Zing Insights brands itself as an innovative market research consultancy, which designs and delivers customer research techniques through a range of methods. Unlike more traditional market research firms, Zing uses interactive technology to remain a step ahead of its competitors. Its iPad research pod stations - manned by a member of their team- encourage people to not walk away and forget about an event, but to record their views on a system which can be readily used to improve performance in the future. So far, the firm has relied on company referrals to boost business, and has built up a base of heavy-weight clients from a range of sectors, including the BBC Good Food show, National Caravan Club and Construction News Magazine. It aims to push forward in the next year by targeting the local tourism and retail sectors – and it has already seen success by providing  research services on the GoGoGorillas art trail around Norwich city centre. Meanwhile, it also focused on developing a new strand of the business called project Karma: an online market research community supporting start-ups, charities and social enterprises.

Enterprise and innovation are the key to this award which seeks to celebrate the crucial role and dynamic spirit of the EDP’s Future 50 family of businesses.

Now in its second year, the One to Watch Award aims to identify the leading innovators and businesses that have excelled in the last 12 months. Last year, Norwich-based Intelligent Fingerprinting was selected as inaugural award winner, its combining of research ideas with business brains, proving a classic example of a successful university spin off with the potential to produce world leading products.

Kevin Horne, NWES chief executive, said: “We have been involved in the EDP Future 50 campaign since its launch and deem it an integral part of our business development strategy and something which links directly to our mission to ‘encourage enterprise’. The ‘Future 50 – One to Watch’ category at the EDP Business Awards identifies a business that has excelled during the past year.

“At NWES we believe that it is essential to nurture our innovators and entrepreneurs – our economic health depends on enterprising individuals making their mark. Over the last five years we have helped about 2,500 new businesses to start trading.

“We are keen to see more people set up on their own – in a sustainable way. It has been proven that with our support businesses survive longer, grow faster and are more profitable.

“This year, once again we look forward to reviewing the entries to compile a shortlist of those companies that are blazing a trail in our region with the potential to make the maximum positive impact on our local economy.

Award Criteria

To complement its sponsorship of the EDP Future 50, sponsors NWES are looking for a company within the Future 50 family of businesses able to demonstrate a pioneering approach to business and with the potential to flourish and deliver impressive results.

This category is about recognising an early stage business which shows the promise to become a success story of tomorrow. Judges will look for drive, impact, vision and potential. Above all, the winner of this category will be able to show a dedicated effort to drive their business forward.