South East Business Insider Fall 2022


Take fate into your own hands

Speaking with business leaders and their advisors for this issue, three main themes stood out to me.

The first was durability. From investing in the circular economy to applying for B Corp accreditation, almost every conversation I’ve had has been about people and planet, and profit. Take my interview with Shelley Lawson of Frog Bikes.

The company has ambitious goals to halve its emissions and bring its supply chain closer together. Lawson says Frog is already talking to a few engineering companies in Wales, Scotland and the Midlands to source components. Often, she explained, the legacy of these companies has been to supply the automotive or oil and gas sectors. But, realizing that their future “might have to be a little different,” she sees them pivoting to making similar products but for a different industry.

The second theme was resilience. No one is saying this year is going to be easy, but even when times get tough, there are still positives. There are many stories of expansion, development, regeneration and innovation on our pages this month. Our negotiators (see guide to corporate finance) don’t see too much of a slowdown either. Some of them are predicting that we might even see more deals of a certain type as CEOs nearing retirement seize their moment to exit.

This brings me to the third major theme of this issue: legacy. Traditional vendors are adapting, while businesses are looking for different structures to thrive. Our focus on employee ownership has been heard by a number of companies who have sought to secure their future by handing over the reins to employees. Nikwax’s Nick Doyle describes it as making people feel in control of their own destiny.

In 42 Under 42, our first such list for the South East, many of the businesses featured are family owned. Now in their second or even third generation, they are fantastic examples of sustainable growth. Our event welcoming this first cohort to Insider takes place on December 1 in Reading. Find more details on how you can be there, and all about our Class of 2022, starting on page 34.

Miri Thomas, Editorial Director, Insider


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