A PROJECT to find the 50 fastest growing small to medium sized firms in Essex has been launched.

Innovation 50 is being run by academics at Anglia Ruskin’s Lord Ashcroft International Business School and Essex County Council’s Essex Innovation Programme.

Companies have until June 15 to sign up.

Dr Sandra Selmanovic, deputy head of economics and international business at Anglia Ruskin, said: “Innovation 50 will examine the factors behind a company’s success and identify where additional support could enable them to grow even faster.

“All we need from businesses is enthusiasm and some of their time to help our researchers get to know their company. So get in touch and tell us why you are special.”

Benefits from taking part in Innovation 50 include free support from the Essex Innovation Programme and academic expertise from Anglia Ruskin’s business school.

There will also be networking opportunities at events and access to mentoring and guidance in forging contacts abroad.

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “It was great to see such a vast array of businesses attending the official launch of the Innovation 50 programme.

“Essex has some fantastic small businesses which are vital to the county’s economic growthand the programme will support them to grow and innovate.

“It’s initiatives like this that show that Essex Means Business.”

The organisers of Innovation 50 ask SMEs to provide details of their growth in turnover, staffing and market share over the last three years, or a shorter period if they have been operating for less time, although they are happy to hear from SMEs that can evidence growth in another form.

Firms can visit anglia.ac.uk and search for Innovation 50 or email andrew.hayman@anglia.ac.uk.