"Strong, resilient, innovative and entrepreneurial” – small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region have once again shown the way with a year of outstanding performance.

This year’s Top 50 companies have seen a six per cent increase in total turnover and, better still, a 10 per cent increase in profit before tax. Meanwhile, employee figures have crept up by one per cent, meaning that the Top 50 now provide employment for around 7,500 people.

The period covered by the survey can best be described as ‘uncertain’, with contracting lending and rising inflation putting a squeeze on businesses, alongside a variety of Brexit related challenges.

There were 16 companies that dropped out of the list this year, two of which have gone through some form of sales processing and become part of larger organisations - possibly indicating a reasonable level of merger and acquisition activity in the region.

Of those businesses which haven’t made the Top 50, a number referred to the rising prices of raw materials and exchange rate fluctuations impacting on performance.

Many of these businesses reported significant investment in new technology, exploration of new markets, and were confident in the immediate future – so we look forward to hopefully seeing them back in the list next year.

Out of the 16 new entrants, five are in manufacturing and four are in the services sector. Newcomers include D&M Middleton Limited in Cleckheaton and Red Embedded Holdings Limited in Shipley, which sit at numbers two and three respectively.

Peaspring Limited, which is based in Keighley and manufactures merchant and wholesale clothing and fabric, remains at followed by 13 manufacturing companies, eight retail businesses, four wholesale businesses and four ‘other’.

Retail was the only sector in which profit before tax was lower than in the previous year despite an increase of nine per cent in turnover. This isn’t too surprising given the backdrop of the retail sector generally.

In recent years, the SME market has proven itself to be the engine room of the UK economy, generally outperforming the market on job growth, productivity and investment in innovation.

Despite the levels of uncertainty and top line pressures, businesses of course deal with the reality on the ground.

The results of the survey suggest that the SME market in the region, and hence the individuals behind those businesses, are strong.

Have you read our other features in the Top 50 SMEs series?

What it takes to make it on to the list of top 50 SMEs

A large number of new entries includes three in the top five

Avoid the pitfalls of selling your business

Award-winning firms are the fabric of Bradford’s success

Why SMEs provide a great place to work

Firm is tailor-made for the top spot in SME list

Why R&D tax relief is not just for scientists

See more from BHP Chartered Accountants at www.bhp.co.uk