Future 50: 'Connections are gold dust'

A graphic that visualises a network of people

The Future 50 programme is for entrepreneurs who are ready to grow their networks - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Being a partner in Future 50 gives Birketts a chance to meet fresh and exciting businesses – it's why the firm has been a partner from the very beginning and remains totally committed to it. Especially in recent years, it’s a chance to meet and support entrepreneurs who’ve found ways to thrive in the tough conditions of the pandemic. 

It’s also an opportunity for us to support young businesses that may not otherwise have access to the kind of higher-quality advice the partners can provide – in our case, legal advice. We can also help them connect with other people, whether that’s other customers, suppliers or advisors – or other past or present Future 50 members.  

The 2021 programme saw many businesses that really impressed. A few stand-out examples were Vanilla Electronics, with its continued growth via acquisitions; Coral Eyewear, which is ahead of the curve on developing a brand around products manufactured from recycled materials; and Paddy & Scott’s, which has such an inspirational back story.  

Last year's move to a virtual programme of events made it far easier for the Future50 businesses to attend. For this year the quality of speakers and content has been further enhanced, with greater focus on content and learnings from high-quality experts. Networking remotely is of course more challenging than face-to-face, however the breakout sessions into smaller groups helped people connect. 

Those connections are what makes the Future 50 programme work. The companies that get the most from taking part are the ones which engage with the other members to share experiences and call on the partners for expert counsel. For the firms and entrepreneurs prepared to ask for advice, there is a huge amount available to help them make better decisions for their businesses.  

Ed Savory of Birketts

Ed Savory of Birketts Picture: CARL MIDDLEDITCH - Credit: Carl Middleditch

Future 50 isn’t just about the companies, though. It is also about the people. For any firm to grow, the individuals leading it need to develop as well. Meeting other successful business people and learning from their experience is one of the best ways of honing management and leadership skills.  

In past years we’ve often seen members realise they don’t have to be isolated, running their businesses. Many get a huge boost not only from seeking advice from other Future 50 members but also from giving it. Many people running SMEs have limited opportunities to connect with people from other companies – except for clients and suppliers – and this is where Future 50 really serves them well. 

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The Future 50 programme is for entrepreneurs who are ready to grow their networks, take advice from their peers and the partners... and who realise they don’t know what they don’t know. 

Inspiration can come from the other Future 50 businesses. Insights and expertise can be supplied from the partners. There are opportunities aplenty to make connections, which are the gold dust of the whole programme – each multiplied exponentially by the how much the member puts into it. 

That really is the bottom line. Future 50 isn’t necessarily about companies with a unique product or service. It’s about those that are determined to enhance and develop their operations to provide higher engagement with their people and an ever-improving (often revolutionary) service to their customers. They want to be better than anyone else and so approach the programme with an open mind and are willing to engage with the other members and the partners.

That’s when their full growth potential can be unlocked – and that, for Birketts, is what Future 50 is all about.  

Birketts is a full-service, top 100 UK law firm with a rich heritage spanning more than 150 years. Operating from offices across East Anglia and London, the company has an enviable track record advising businesses, institutions and individuals in the UK and internationally, which has seen it regularly win high-level legal awards and feature in The Times: Best Law Firms 2022 and 2021. Birketts is represented on the Future 50 board by Ed Savory and Mark Gipson.