• Devon Delivers

Devon businesses gather for Fast Track to Growth festival

More than 150 people from businesses across Devon came together for this year’s Fast Track to Growth Business Festival.

Thomas Westcott, Life Space Cabins and Exeter College were amongst the firms taking part in workshops and 1-1 sessions with a host of business experts from the business programme’s array of experts.

Supported by Devon County Council and partners including Astley Media, Commissioning HR, Momentum South West, South West Business Support Solutions, NatWest, PKF Francis Clark and Stephens Scown, Fast Track to Growth gives ambitious companies in Devon free business advice and expertise to help them develop and implement their growth plans.

Accountancy, HR, marketing, branding, finances for growth, legal issues around brand protection and data, business strategy, sales and customer service were all covered in the festival, which was held at Dartington Hall, and officially opened by Cllr Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills.

Dan Pritchard, managing director of Exeter-based PR and Marketing firm, Astley Media, which founded the Fast Track to Growth (FT2G) programme, said: ‘’The Business Festival offers directors and managers time away from the day-to-day running of their business to focus and consider their growth plans and objectives.’

“It was a great day - very intense! There was clearly lots of learning and connecting between organisations going on.’’

Members of the free FT2G programme can also apply for the Intensive Programme which involves two days of learning and a final pitch event which will see one company win £10,000 worth of on-going business support.

Tom Hicks of PKF Francis Clark, FT2G Accounting partner said: “FT2G is a fantastic forum for businesses looking to prepare and develop their company for the next stage of growth. It is great to be able to support innovative businesses and their aspirational founders in helping them along the journey to future business success.''

Alison Jenkins of South West Business Support Solutions, the Strategy partner commented: ‘’Obviously we loved the fact that the Business Strategy seminar was the most popular session of the day. Given that only 15% of South West businesses have a business strategy in place, FT2G will make a difference to all those who attended, as we focus on increased productivity and reduced business failure.’’

James Court of NatWest, the Finance supporter said: “The local NatWestBoost team were delighted to be part of FT2G, helping local SMEs with workshops and 121s to support their business growth plans. As a bank we’re hugely passionate about supporting entrepreneurs throughout the region so it was great to be a part of such a valuable event.”

Devon County Council Economy team and Plymouth and Exeter Science Parks, who support the programme, also attended the event to showcase the opportunities they offer.

Founded in 2015, the free to join FT2G programme boasts nearly 300 members representing every sector from technology to tourism. It has supported the likes of Pixalytics, Salcombe Gin and Acacia Training in their business growth and development.

Alison Lambert of Commissioning HR, the programme’s HR partner said: “It was a busy and energetic day at the FT2G Business Festival. We met some great Devon businesses wanting to take their growth to the next level. We would encourage businesses serious about developing further through their people to sign up to be a part of the intensive support programme. We will be helping those attending develop their good work offer and people strategy.”

All Devon based-businesses are invited to find out more about the programme and join for free at: www.ft2g.co.uk

Members are all encouraged to get the most out of their membership by applying for the Intensive Programme where one business will be awarded £10,000 worth of business support.

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Thanks to Devon Wildlife Trust, Exeter City Council, Exeter Science Park, Kor Communications, The Met Office and case study brands for photo permissions.