The UK’s dynamic businesses underpin daily life

  • “SMEs are the backbone of our country"

Foreword by The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

The world around us, the world we take for granted in so many ways, has been shaped by businesses.

From when you first woke up this morning to when you go to sleep tonight, you will constantly be interact-ing with the fruits of innovative entrepreneurs’ labours. The apps on your smartphone, the coffee in your cup, the train that takes you to the office and the TV you relax in front of at the end of the day, they are all made possible by a complex web of private companies.

When you flick a switch, the lights come on thanks to a string of businesses. When you want to buy food, you can do so thanks to a supply chain of companies that leads from a seed producer to the bread on your table.

Businesses do not just provide jobs and boost the economy, valuable though both those roles are. They make daily life possible, providing us with a standard of living few could have dreamed of less than a century ago.

To me, that is why all businesses, especially smaller ones, are inspiring; taking the spark of an innovative idea and shaping it into a life-changing reality. And the 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses listed here are among the very best.

Their work touches on every aspect of our lives. Look at Everyman Cinemas, bringing beautiful old buildings back into use and breathing new cultural life into communities across the UK. Sedgefield’s Kromek Group, developing technology that protects us from threats as diverse as cancer and terrorism; or Selkirk’s Spark Energy, supplying gas and electricity to hundreds of thousands of rental properties.

From dynamic start-ups to established family firms, SMEs are the backbone of our country. I want to build an economy that works for all, and that means working with, and listening to, smaller firms. The priorities I have set – a more productive, skilled workforce, and an economy balanced across the UK and open to new opportunities – can only be achieved if we listen to these businesses. And they lie at the heart of our indus-trial strategy, a strategy designed not just to support the big household names, but all the companies, large and small, that underpin our daily life.

I believe in a brighter future for this country, one in which new technology and new thinking brings better jobs for more people. The 1,000 innovative companies recognised in this report are at the forefront of do-ing just that. I certainly found them inspiring, and I am sure you will too.