EDP Business Awards 2010


Business Development Award

Andrew Barnes,

partner Howes Percival

Howes Percival LLP is one of the leading commercial law firms in East Anglia and advises on a wide range of business development matters from start-ups to mergers, acquisitions and major corporate restructuring.

The firm prides itself on the quality of its people, their knowledge and their expertise and offers a range of services usually only associated with London law firms, but without the price tag. Howes Percival LLP is passionate about helping businesses grow and excel - and is delighted to be sponsoring the Business Development Award.


Award Night
Karl Sandall
Chief Executive, TaxAssist Accountants
TaxAssist Accountants

TaxAssist's growth strategy has enabled it to maintain its progress throughout the economic slump, despite the past few years being tough both for the accountancy industry as a whole and for many of TaxAssist's target market. The Norwich-based franchise operation has opened new shops, increased its sales and grown the number of clients on its books during the downturn, and due-diligence has meant the expansion has been one of quality as well as quantity. Initiatives such as the TaxAssist Training Academy have put the business in a strong position to continue this growth, which is expected to be both domestic and international.


CLS Offshore

Strategic growth at CLS Offshore, based in Great Yarmouth, has seen turnover grow from £850,000 in 2004 to more than £12m this year. The company, which has recently moved to a larger base next to its fabrication operation, is building on its existing contracts with big oil and gas players such as ConocoPhillips and Shell and is in talks with turbine manufacturer Vestas over a wind-farm installation contract. CLS has also recently signed a new contract with Eon and is carrying out a large platform upgrade project for Perenco. These successful tenders have resulted in increased employment by CLS.

Edwards & Blake

Edwards & Blake, which began life in 1998, is a contract caterer that works within other businesses, schools and colleges. The business has grown through innovation, backed by investment. From a starting budget of just £7,500, the Swaffham-based business now has a turnover of £10m, with 400 staff operating at 60 locations across East Anglia. Turnover grew 32pc last year and is forecast to be 20pc this year. Edwards & Blake, which already has a succession-planning strategy in place, has recently introduced the role of business development manager, with the remit of expanding its operations into the Midlands.

Taxassist Accountants

The franchise operation that provides accountancy and tax advice for small businesses has built a strong and profitable network, underpinned by a support system for its franchisees. Taxassist's 'shopfront' strategy has continued to drive growth, with an 18pc increase in the number of shops over the past year. Despite the economic difficulties faced by much of Taxassist's core SME market, the business achieved a record rise in profits last year of 36pc. Further afield, Norwich-based Taxassist is looking to build on the success of its first master franchise in Ireland, with an international development strategy drawn up in conjunction with UKTI.

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