Oxfordshire’s faces of a vibrant economy revealed by Grant Thornton


Grant Thornton UK has announced the launch of its second annual Faces of a Vibrant Economy initiative, which identifies 100 organisations and their leaders (private, not for profit and public sectors) that demonstrate excellence through growth, innovation and purpose, four of which are based in Oxfordshire.

Craig Burkinshaw of Witney-based Audley Travel, Karen Curtin of Bicester’s Graven Hill Village Development Company, Jamie Hartzell from Ethex in Oxford and Mark Goldring CEO of Oxfam.

New research from the leading business and financial adviser suggests that company vision, culture and purpose are key priorities for UK businesses, particularly those demonstrating high-growth (grown by 20% turnover) in the last year.

Research of 1,000 CEOs and business leaders from UK mid-market firms* revealed that company vision, culture and purpose is a top-five investment priority for more than a third (35%) of mid-market businesses. For high-growth businesses, this rises to 40%.

On average, 38% of the businesses surveyed specifically invested in vision as a top-five investment to get to the next stage of growth, this rises to 43% of high-growth firms.

The Faces of a Vibrant Economy list has been curated to showcase and celebrate UK businesses, public and third sector organisations that are clearly demonstrating the value of purpose in action.

Jim Rogers, practice leader at Grant Thornton in the Thames Valley, said: “If the Thames Valley were known for its ethical businesses, it would attract more millennials, more start-ups and more progressive and socially-orientated businesses.”

This theme is exemplified in Thames Valley’s Faces of a Vibrant Economy – from responsible tourism at Audley Travel and ethical investment at Ethex, to green and sustainable development at Graven Hill.

“These leaders show us how business can be a force for good in society, how creative approaches to public services and commitment to investing in your people can drive superior results and how passion, coupled with purpose and a great idea can change the world for the better.

“For our part, we are committed to continually building and connecting this network of inspirational leaders and their organisations, in the Thames Valley and across the UK, so that they can learn, share ideas, teach others and ultimately continue to grow for the benefit of our economy and society. By curating this community and sharing their stories we hope to inspire others to follow their example.”