Double Delight as Plymouth Firms Win Devon’s Fast Track to Growth Programme
An Earth observation company and ecommerce gift business have won this year’s Fast Track to Growth programme.
Pixalytics won the smaller company category, with House of Harris winning in the larger company category, at a final pitch event at Plymouth Science Park, the culmination of an intensive free business support programme for more than 20 Devon businesses.
Both companies have won £10,000 of on-going business support to help them grow.
Chris and Charlotte Harris founded the online store House of Harris in 2012 from their family home in Plymouth. With 25 years of shop-keeping experience from Chris’ parents behind them, the company has quickly grown, and now stocks well-known brands such as Yankee Candle and Ashleigh & Burwood, shipping to customers across the country.
Chris Harris, a former Royal Marine, said:
“With the stage the business is at, it’s absolutely crucial timing for us to get this investment at this stage of our growth. I’m really happy. It’s going to be absolutely invaluable to us. Not only is the support from Fast Track to Growth happening at just the right time, but it will also help us to sustain our growth for the future.”
Pixalytics specialise in Earth observation using satellite data, working with Governments and companies on a wide range of projects, including management of resources, agricultural schemes, flood prevention and developments.
The company was set up by husband and wife team Dr Samantha Lavender and Andrew Lavender in 2012, combining their experience in research, innovation and development. They met in Plymouth in the early 1990s at Plymouth University.
Andrew Lavender said:
“I’m absolutely shocked! It’s fantastic. We know that we need to develop our company and this is going to be a wonderful opportunity to do it, but I am genuinely completely surprised, because there were some amazing companies on the programme and I never expected us to win.”
Some 22 companies from across Devon were shortlisted for the Fast Track to Growth business programme. The programme is supported by organisations including Devon County Council, Barclays, Cosmic, PKF Francis Clark, Stephens Scown, Astley Media, Logo Creative Design, Commissioning HR, Sampson Hall and Aptus UK.
The programme gives ambitious companies in Devon access to free business support through a Growth Day event, and intensive business support programme.
The other finalists were A&J Carpentry, Acacia Training, Babble App, Bird Sunglasses, City Community Trust, Classic Pod Company, Clive’s Country Gardens, Creative Asset Management, Exeter Engineering Solutions, GAStherm, Greedy Fox, Lime Cloud, MuMar, Mumazing, Nexus Open Systems, Otter Vale Products, Root 2 Growth, Upton Barn and Walled Garden, and Whizz Kids Toys.
Alison Lambert, Director at Commissioning HR, said:
“Fast Track to Growth has discovered great businesses in Devon with exciting plans for growth. We have seen a diverse range of companies this year led by enthusiastic business owners. Pixalytics and House of Harris are worthy winners.”
Ben Travers, Head of Intellectual Property and IT Law at FT2G partners Stephens Scown LLP, said:
“It’s fantastic to see the huge variety and outstanding quality of businesses that made it to the final pitch. We’re always amazed by the variety of businesses and passion they have for what they do.
“The winners House of Harris and Pixalytics have both done incredibly well, displaying clear understanding and candour about their growth plans. They’ve dedicated a huge amount of resource, commitment and time to get to this point and they both demonstrated great potential for growth over the next two to five years.”
Dan Pritchard, Managing Director of FT2G founders Astley Media, added:
“Fast Track to Growth is all about supporting Devon’s growth businesses. This year we’ve had technology, food and drink, tourism, manufacturing, professional services, ecommerce and many more types of businesses the programme has helped develop their growth plans.
“The winners make use of technology in very different ways but it shows how innovative approaches to ‘tech’ are fundamental to successful businesses, be that using data or reaching new customers. We’ll be watching with interest as this group of companies continue on their growth journeys in the coming months and years.”
For more information www.FT2G.co.uk
(L-R) Fast Track to Growth 2018 winners Andrew Lavender of Pixalytics and Chris Harris of House of Harris.