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Durham International Festival of Enterprise

Why GAS decided to support the inaugural Durham International Festival of Enterprise.

You may be reading this because you’ve just heard Phil Andrew, our Head of Customer Experience, introduce us at Durham International Festival of Enterprise (DIFE).  You might have seen our bright ‘Bill Doctor’ banners in the foyer.  You might even have attended David Hall and Dan Smith’s workshop on building a strong procurement strategy.

Ultimately, we hope you’re here because we peaked your interest in some way.

Because, if you’ve attended DIFE, you’re our kind of person.

Your presence at such events means you’re open to learning from others and listening to what they have to say.  You possess one of the most important skills for an entrepreneur – spotting an opportunity.

Because of the work we’ve carried out in partnership with our 1,600 customers, ranging from sole traders to multinationals, we’ve got quite a lot to share ourselves.  Give our social media channels a follow; we use those to share our business advice for free.  Some of our most popular posts have covered:

  • What the falling value of the Pound means for businesses
  • How this falling value is biting manufacturers hard and how they can bite back
  • The full picture on the changes to business rates
  • Saving money on your waste collection
  • Why apprenticeships make sense
  • What the autumn statement meant for you
  • How the price of crude oil will affect your business
  • And more!

Did you know?

  • In the North East in 2016, there were only 679 businesses per 10,000 residents. That’s the lowest of anywhere in the country.  London was highest with 1,040.
  • A third of all UK businesses are in the London or the South East.
  • More than 99% of UK businesses are SMEs
  • However, the North East saw the highest growth in business numbers in the country 2016, with an 8% increase.

(House of Commons Briefing Paper on Business Statistics, November 2016)

At Great Annual Savings Group, we operate on an international level, with customers all over the UK and Ireland.  But we’re very proud of our North Eastern roots.

It has been suggested that the North of England often misses out on the opportunities available to the South.  Phrases like “it’s grim up North” are commonplace for Londoners.  Just ask Ricky, our ECRM Manager!  So when we saw the opportunity to help facilitate an event that will provide so much value for the area, we leapt at the chance.

The event encourages entrepreneurial spirit, which has a lot of synergy with the way we work, both in terms of our Business Solutions Managers (BSMs) and our customers.  We help businesses of all sizes and ages address their running costs and expect our BSMs to form a strong relationship with each of their customers, differentiating us from many of our competitors.

If you like what you’ve seen, why not get in touch to find out how GAS can help your business get leaner and smarter?

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.