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Growth Flag Annual Report Launch – Flagging Growth? Finding Growth in Changing Times

  • Wednesday, January 31, 2024
  • Posted By The Growth Company
Growth Flag Report Launch Download

On Thursday 25th January, Growth Flag celebrated its first year of highlighting growth potential in businesses and local economies during a hybrid event.   

The event launched the first Growth Flag annual report ‘Flagging Growth? Finding Growth in Changing Times’, with over 70 people attending both in person and online. The Growth Flag data tool shows which areas of the UK have the greatest growth potential and has been designed with policy makers, commissioners, business decision makers and analysts in mind.  

The key part of the report - the Growth Power Outlook offers insights for every part of the UK on the growth potential of their businesses, the potential impact of that growth on asset bases, and the outlook suggests data-led strategies for local places in 2024.  

Richard Mortimer Head of Economy, Work and Skills at Stockport Council attended the launch event and shared his thoughts on the Growth Flag report, “I think it’s a fascinating report, a really interesting piece of work, a really powerful tool as well. From our point of view at Stockport Council, I think we would be looking to use it to identify businesses where we could target more support and find out what their issues are and where their difficulties lie and to think about how our strategic response is framed around the most effective way of using the resources, we have available to best support the businesses in our local economy.” 

The report highlights the growth potential of UK businesses and the potential value of this growth on asset bases. Some of the key findings from the report include: 

  • In a challenging wider economic context, analysis has found that 13.1% of UK businesses are likely or very likely to grow by 20% in the next financial year. 
  • The potential for high growth does vary significantly across different places, with higher levels in the devolved administrations and varied levels within and between combined authorities. 
  • The North of Tyne Combined Authority has the highest level of total assets for high growth potential businesses in a combined authority at £116 billion. 
  • Areas geographically close to but outside of city centres tend to have higher proportions of businesses with growth and high growth potential. 
  • The report brings together innovative first-of-its-kind analysis to suggest strategic interventions for local authorities in 2024, based off Growth Flag’s latest data intelligence.

Nathan Shoesmith, Insights and Analysis Lead at Growth Flag and Research Consultant at GC Insight said, “I really enjoyed presenting the report today, releasing this really insightful data and findings that challenge some of the key assumptions about how we think of local economic growth. We have had some great questions from the audience too and some real interest in what this all means and how this can start to facilitate positive change for places.” 

A panel of speakers attended including both co-founders of the Growth Flag, Richard Jeffery, and Richard West, as well as the Associate Dean, Enterprise and Engagement at Salford Business School, Dr Francine Morris, Nathan Shoesmith, Insights and Analysis Lead at Growth Flag and Research Consultant at GC Insight and Dr Nicola Headlam, Independent Economic Advisor and Brand Ambassador for Growth Flag. 

The panel shared interesting insights on the report’s findings and answered questions from the audience. Commenting on the report, Mark Thomas, Strategic Lead for Business Engagement at Transport for Greater Manchester said “it was instantly recognisable how useful it could be when planning transport in the future and identifying growth areas and industries and looking at how well served they are by transport. I would love to find out more about how we might do that and that’s why I am here today to kick off the conversation.” 

Sharing her thoughts on the findings, Chief Economist and Brand Ambassador at Growth Flag, Dr Nicola Headlam, said: “High growth SMEs are not always within sexy sectors or in R&D intensive or frontier firms. They may not pull focus when looking at an area, but they are the bedrock of local growth potential and prosperity. We are ever more convinced that working with detailed data on SME health and propensity for growth should be the bedrock of economic assessment at any scale. Evidence-led strategies on the ways in which places can identify and support SMEs with propensity for high growth could be transformative.” 

You can read the report here or book a demo to see how we can help you. 

Richard West, Co-Founder of Growth Flag and Managing Director of Red Flag Alert shared this thoughts at the event: "I think it is a really exciting report, I hope those who came here today to watch can see the value of it and I am really excited to see what we can do now that we have proved the concept, and what we can do now to evolve the Growth Flag tool moving forward, that is the most exciting part.” 

What we all want to know is what happens next. Richard Jeffery Co-Founder of the Growth Flag and National Director of GC Business shared his thoughts “What I want to see next is people involved in economic development engaging in the report, thinking about what it means for their business and for them to start to ask questions about where they want to go next.” 

Growth Flag is a collaboration between Red Flag Alert and The Growth Company- find out more at