Somerset’s best businesses were celebrated in style on Friday 21st October 2016, as the winners of this year’s Somerset Business Awards were announced.
Following an exceptional number of award entries from over 100 Somerset companies, nearly 400 influential Somerset business men and women joined together to celebrate this year’s Somerset Business Awards. The finalists and sponsors joined together, to attend the prestigious black tie dinner held at Wellsprings Leisure Centre in Taunton.
Graham Knight, Chair of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, opened proceedings, commenting, “The Somerset Business Awards are a truly county wide celebration united by a passion for business. It’s extremely gratifying to see so many new people here this year, with an audience of 380 you are all in good hands!”
As main sponsors of the Somerset Business Awards for the seventh consecutive year, Albert Goodman’s Managing Partner, Richard Bugler, commented, “Albert Goodman are immensely proud to be main sponsor. We share the same values as many of our clients and entrants, a true family business that has just celebrated 150 years. This evening is a great opportunity to celebrate and showcase the best businesses in our county.”
BBC news presenter and national TV personality, Alex Lovell, hosted the Somerset Business Awards this year, and announced the winners in style. Commenting on her involvement, she said, “It’s a wonderful evening and I am privileged and very honoured to be here. It is important to recognise the hard work and achievements of businesses in the South West.”
The winners of the Somerset Business Awards 2016 are…
Skills for Growth Award
This year, the Skills for Growth Award is sponsored by Wessex RFCA. The Award recognises businesses that are investing in their own workforce, as well as the wider community – providing the opportunity to enhance and develop the workforce of the future. Jon Beake from Wessex RFCA, said, “Wessex Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association link businesses to the armed forces, who are renowned for their training and development programmes, investing in the development of their own staff, ensuring they can promote within. It was logical for Wessex RCFA to sponsor the awards and we feel very privileged to have judged our finalists, all of which have fantastic training going above and beyond for Somerset’s future workforce.”
The award was presented to One Step Recruitment Ltd. Collecting the award was Tansy Maggs and Sam Garner. Tansy said, “We haven’t entered many awards before so it is a real honour to be stood here – we work so hard to support the next generation. This award is for the late Sean O’Brien who unfortunately is no longer with us, we are all extremely proud.”
The runners-up were Channel Training Ltd and Claims Consortium Group.
Marketing and Promotion Award
Sponsored by ADPR Ltd for the past four years, the Marketing and Promotion Award celebrates businesses with truly innovative and creative marketing plans, with a clearly defined plans, objectives and investment, regardless of the size, sector or budget of the campaign. Beki Sharman, Account Manager at ADPR Ltd, commented, “At ADPR, we have incredibly high standards, and were delighted to see that the quality of our Award entries and the companies we visited, were among the best we’ve ever seen. The businesses here today should be immensely proud of their achievements.”
The award was presented to DNA Worldwide – a company providing DNA, Drug & Alcohol Testing – for its impressive marketing campaign within the drug sector. The entry showed incredible business results and developed relationships with the legal profession, as an outcome. David at DNA Worldwide, said, “It’s an incredible award to receive, and completely mesmerising. At DNA Worldwide we feel very passionate about providing the opportunity to reach a point of truth in people’s lives. It’s a fantastic achievement for us and our team.”
The runners-up were Weston College and Reminiscence Learning.
Porter Dodson returned to sponsor the Environmental Award again, with Scott Bowley presenting the award. In this Award, judges were looking for businesses to prove they are going above and beyond in developing and using best practice across a variety of environmental channels, whilst balancing profitability for the business.
The winner was announced as Frogmary Green Farm for the second consecutive year, for its continued commitment. Nick and Claire Bragg from Frogmary Green Farm collected the Award, saying, “It’s absolutely fabulous to win this award for the second year. It’s a fantastic achievement for our team as we strive to do as much as we can for the environment.”
The runners-up were Holiday Resort Unity & Brean Leisure Park and Prolectric Services Ltd.
Albert Goodman Family Business of the Year Award
Main sponsors of the Somerset Business Awards for the seventh consecutive year and the leading South West accountancy firm, Albert Goodman were delighted to return to the stage to present their Award. As a renowned family business, the Albert Goodman judges were looking for an influential family business, run with two or more members of the same family enjoying significant success whilst showing clear succession plans for the future, ongoing development and clear financial reward.
This year’s Award was presented to Holiday Resort Unity & Brean Leisure Park. Alan and Andrea House from the company received the award on stage, saying, “We are completely bowled over, thanks so much to our team. We never thought we would be employing 250 people with over a million guests in the last year!”
The runners-up were Oneline Surveys Ltd and Frogmary Green Farm.
Service Excellence Award
Consistently one of the most popular Awards, the Service Excellence Award was judged by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce. Always an incredibly tough category to judge, all the businesses visited showed true dedication to their customers. Greg Saunders, Vice Chairman for the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and Partner at Clarke Willmott LLP commented, “The Somerset Chamber represents hundreds of businesses in Somerset so there is the upmost desire to provide an excellent service. Visiting the businesses was a great opportunity to learn from big and small companies.”
Holding on to their crown, the award was presented to Claims Consortium Group for the second year. For consistently delivering outstanding service, above and beyond the call of duty. Jeremy Hyams and Debbie Mawer collected the award, saying, “Thank you so much, it is a real honour and it is most humbling to be stood here. We are obsessed with our customer and the service they receive as well as our staff. We are genuinely privileged to work with our team.”
The runners-up were Willmots Transport Ltd and Black Swan Dental Spa Ltd.
New Business of the Year Award
Foot Anstey LLP sponsored the New Business of the Year Award for 2016. Judges were looking at businesses with no more than three years of trading, showing they had the ‘X-factor’ of a new business idea, product, service or concept. Duncan Sykes from Foot Anstey LLP presented the award and commented, “We have been sponsors for the last several years, but this was our first year as sponsor of the New Business of the Year Award. We relish the opportunity to showcase new talent and to be able to physically go and judge the finalists was an amazing experience. It was great to see the top talent of our finalists, how far advanced and progressed they are is a true testament to their workforce. A great bedrock of business in the region.”
The winner was announced as Puddy Vehicles Solutions Ltd. Marcus and Louise Puddy collected the Award, Marcus said, “I am truly speechless. It’s remarkable to have achieved this much in only 18 months, saving our customers a total of 64 million in the process. It’s a great accolade to receive, thank you very much.”
The runners-up were Elite Staffing Solutions (South West) Ltd and My Day Care Services Ltd.
Somerset Manufacturer Award
This award recognises the most innovative and agile manufacturing businesses in Somerset and is sponsored by local accountancy firm, Monahans. Looking for the most innovative and agile manufacturing businesses in the county, the Somerset Manufacturer Award recognises a passion for continued business improvement. Presenting the award, Stephen Fry from Monahans said, “We are very proud to be sponsoring the Somerset Manufacturer of the Year Award. There are more local manufacturers than you realise and it is important to recognise their outstanding contribution.”
The winner was announced as Swallowfield. Collecting the award were Andy Wolfe and Lauren Hagon, Lauren said, “This is amazing, thank you so much. This award is for our team of 350 people in our Wellington Factory. Many of you may not have heard of us before but our team is innovative and works incredibly hard so this a fantastic achievement.”
The runner-up was Prolectric Services Ltd.
Young Business Employee of the Year Award
Sponsored by Clarks, this awards celebrates the young talent of Somerset businesses, who have been with their respective firms for up to three years. Nominated by their employer, judges look for an individual who has made a significant impact to their company. Belinda Deery from Clarks said, “Clarks are a big employer in the South West, with 1600 employees. We are extremely proud of our Somerset roots, starting with a young Cyrus and James who founded the company, based on principles of community and opportunity. The category was hugely competitive and the quality was incredibly high, judging gave us real food for thought.”
The Award was given to James Cox from The Royal Bath & West of England Society, for his outstanding contributions to the business. James received his award, saying, “Thank you to Royal Bath & West. This is probably the longest gap year you’ve ever heard of! I would also like to thank my Dad, as well, without him I would never have applied for the job.”
The runners-up were Charlotte Atkinson (Quedam Shopping Centre, Yeovil) and Sam Price (Integrated Data Needs).
Business of the Year 1-10 Employees Award
The Business of the Year Awards are consistently popular each year, amongst all Somerset businesses, looking for the complete package. Sponsored by Glyder Ltd, the Business of the Year 1-10 Employees looks at smaller businesses within Somerset, looking for overall outstanding success. Presenting the award, Tim and Bethan Baigent from Glyder Ltd, Tim said, “We are thrilled to be here for the eighth year. The quality of entrants were exceptionally high, making our job very difficult!”
The winner of the award was Care Focus (South West) CIC. CEO Claire Waddon, said, “We did not think we’d win! Thank you to Somerset Chamber and Albert Goodman and of course our team at Care Focus SW. We aim to come together and make success and we are very grateful to receive this award, but this is for every social worker out there who strives to make the services out there better for our mums and dads.”
The runners-up were Farm Toys Online and Petruth Paddocks Limited.
Business of the Year 11-25 Employees Award
The next size up, the Business of the Year Award for 11-25 Employees, was again sponsored by A.C. Mole & Sons. This award celebrates SMEs in Somerset, who show they can stand out from the crowd and deliver great results, on a slightly larger scale. Rob Selley at A.C. Mole & Sons, said, “We are very proud to be sponsoring this award. The judging process was a fascinating experience, highlighting the quality of the businesses in Somerset. The finalists should be proud of what they’ve achieved.”
This year, the award was given to Teapot Creative Ltd. Directors Barry Tottle & Lizzie Ginbey took to the stage to collect the award. Lizzie said, “This is truly amazing, thank you to Somerset Chamber and A.C. Mole & Sons for deeming us worthy of this accolade. A huge thanks to our team!”
The runners-up were Filberts Fine Foods Ltd and Rebecca Bevins HR Consultancy Ltd.
Business of the Year 26-50 Employees Award
Returning to sponsor this award, EDF Energy judged the Business of the Year 26-50 Employees Award. The judges were looking at larger businesses, who could clearly demonstrate passion, drive and success within their business. David Eccles from EDF Energy, commented, “We are delighted to be sponsors. The go ahead of Hinkley C is a once in a lifetime opportunity for up to 25,000 people in the local area. Developing the supply chain with Somerset businesses will result in the coming together of many local people.”
The award was presented to DNA Worldwide Ltd, who took away two Awards on the evening. David Nicholson and Hannah Morden-Nicholson accepted the award, and said, “Well now we are completely speechless! If it wasn’t for the team and the sponsors, this wouldn’t be possible. DNA Worldwide is one big family across the world and the future looks very exciting.”
The runners-up were Oake Manor Golf Club Ltd and Melhuish & Saunders Ltd.
Business of the Year 51+ Employees Award
Higos Insurance Services Ltd returned once again to sponsor the Business of the Year 51+ Employees at the Somerset Business Awards. Focusing on the biggest businesses in Somerset, this award celebrates those businesses who deliver outstanding results on a larger scale, whilst ensuring solid business processes are maintained. Neil Wyatt, Head of Marketing at Higos Insurance Services Ltd, commented, “Somerset is the heartland of successful businesses and we are delighted to sponsor this award. It was an extremely tough year for judging truly Somerset businesses at their best, the finalists should be proud of their achievements.”
The award was presented to Yeovil College and Jacquie Dean and Mark Bolton took to the stage to accept the Award. She said, “It’s such a thrill to receive this award. Yeovil College has transformed in recent years and the strength of the college is because it works so hard with the businesses and communities it serves, big and small they are all part of the success.”
The runners-up were Claims Consortium Group and Bridgwater & Taunton College.
Charity of the Year Award
Sponsored by Clarke Willmott LLP for the third year, the Charity of the Year Award showcases those charities working selflessly within Somerset, making a real difference within the county. Roger Seaton at Clarke Willmott LLP, commented, “Undoubtedly, this is the most important of the evening and the quality of the charities was so high. It was so inspiring to visit each charity, meeting individuals and seeing how they tirelessly give back to the community.”
With three incredible charities, it is also the toughest category, and this year it was presented to The Hub Yeovil, Community Support Charity. Collecting the award and receiving a cheque for £1,145, Clive Tuck, CEO said, “Wow! A huge thank you to Somerset Chamber. Our amazing team have changed so many lives in so many ways.”
The runners-up were Secret World Wildlife Rescue and We Hear You, who received a total of £575 each. One lucky finalist, Channel Training, won £1,000 worth of advertising with Heart FM (media partners for the Awards).
Working together with Bridgwater & Taunton College, the finalists were filmed by Media students to create a short film about the business and what winning means to them. These were shown on the Awards night and form part of the students’ final course results.
The prestigious Somerset Business Awards would not be possible without the amazing work and contributions from Somerset Chamber members including Bright Productions who supported the Awards with the staging, sound and AV equipment, Food 4 You catering, for providing guests with a gourmet three-course dinner, followed by a cheese course from Somerdale International Ltd. Newsquest and Heart FM, this year’s Media Partners, and ADPR Ltd for looking after the PR of the Somerset Business Awards. And finally thank you to Simon York Photography, for photographing the Awards.