The 35th Journal Top 200 awards yesterday paid tribute to the biggest and best in business across the North East. Ruth Lognonne reports on this year's success stories amid what has proved a tough trading year for everyone.
THE Journal editor, Brian Aitken, purposefully refused to mention the ‘R’ word at yesterday’s annual celebration of the Top 200 businesses in the North East.
With the UK officially out of recession, although clearly not out of the woods, more than 100 business representatives turned out to celebrate the vital role that companies have in the success of the region and in securing economic growth.
The Top 200 awards ceremony, held at Newcastle’s Copthorne Hotel, has become a major highlight in the region’s business calendar, now in its 35th year.
It represents the very best of the North East. The companies featured demonstrate that strong businesses, with creative products and services and a real commitment to customer service, will win through.
It also serves to remind many of the wide range of national and international brands that have grown from the region how success can be built on such a base.
The North East Top 200 for 2012 is produced by The Journal and was compiled by Newcastle University Business School. Its director of engagement Dr Joanna Berry said: “We have 27 new entries to the list and, despite a significant drop in year-on-year employment statistics, combined turnover has increased by almost £8bn since 2008 – a welcome sign of efficient business models and leaner business operations.
“We are a region ready for the challenges of the recession and are being innovative in our response as both businesses and consumers.
“We are not only making big noises on home soil but also overseas and we are recognised for our hard work, innovation and good humour.
“It’s great to see so many North East companies sticking two fingers up at the recession and long may this prosperity continue.”
There were seven awards in total to be handed out, with Washington- based car manufacturing giants Nissan taking home two gongs, one of them the coveted Top 200 Company of the Year.
The booming car maker, with turnover of £4.3bn, also topped the chart for the top five ‘inbound’ companies. Aitken, who hosted and presented the awards, said the Top 200 list was a credit and provided hope to the region’s diverse wealth of companies.
He said: “My over-riding impression of the North East, in my nine years here, is one of hope, diversity, ingenuity and reinvention – the mindset that as one door closes, another one opens.
“Life will carry on and we’ve got an important part to play in it.
“The Top 200 list, when you see it, is a credit, as you would expect and hope, to our manufacturing companies.
“But it’s also a credit to the North East’s diverse economy with transport, healthcare, life sciences, petrochemicals, motor vehicles and knowledge-led enterprises also thriving.”