Calling growing businesses “the engines that [will] drive this economy back to recovery”, Lambert’s keynote address won him cheers and applause from the audience, which included Dragon Theo Paphitis, EasyJet tycoon Sir Stelios Haji-loannou and Reading FC’s John Madejski.
“Let me quote some useful figures from a recent study by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts,” began Lambert.
“They crunched the numbers and came up with some remarkable conclusions about the role that growing businesses play in generating prosperity and jobs.
“On their definition, only six per cent of all the UK firms that employed ten or more people could be categorised as high growth.
“But that small fraction of the total figure generated more than half the new jobs created by existing businesses between 2002 and 2006 – 1.3 million out of 2.4 million new jobs. More than half.”
Cue thunderous applause.
Lambert continued: “What these businesses have in common is a heavy emphasis on innovation – doing things differently, even in mature industries. Innovative firms grow twice as fast as the rest.
More cheers from the audience.
Lambert ended his speech on this high note: “The final piece of good news is that, at least on the latest available data, the UK has one of the biggest proportions of high-growth firms in the industrialised world.
“We – or rather you – are obviously doing something very right here.”
Lambert went on to present the Company of the Year Award, with Caffè Nero’s Gerry Ford, to a delighted Simon Calver, CEO of LoveFilm. Read more about the winners of the 2009 Growing Business Awards here.