The Best in Somerset
2015 Somerset Business Awards winners revealed
The most outstanding businesses in Somerset were celebrated on Friday 23 October 2015, as the winners of the 2015 Somerset Business Awards were unveiled.
Following a record number of award entries from over 100 fantastic Somerset companies, more than 360 influential Somerset business men and women joined together to celebrate this year’s Somerset Business Awards. The finalists and sponsors returned to the county town of Somerset after two years away, 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, “I am delighted to welcome you all here to the 2015 Somerset Business Awards. This year we have seen a record number of entries from more businesses than ever, from all over Somerset. The entries truly showcase how passionate you are about working within Somerset. We are thrilled to see a rise in the quality of entries once again, and we wish you all the best tonight.”
Back by popular demand, Heart FM’s Cormac MacMahon hosted the Somerset Business Awards this year. He said, “It is with great pleasure that I return to the Somerset Business Awards and celebrate the fantastic business going on in Somerset. The diversity of business across the county is incredible, so to have made it this far and being finalist for these Awards is incredibly special.”
As main sponsors of the Somerset Business Awards, Albert Goodman’s Head of Family Business and Partner, Paul Hake, commented, “We are all fortunate to live and work in a beautiful county, with such a vibrant business community. We have an extremely forward thinking Chamber of Commerce and incredible education opportunities across Somerset. It is vital that we continue to support education, so we can develop and retain talent.”
The winners of the Somerset Business Awards 2015 are…
Skills for Growth Award
The Skills for Growth Award is sponsored by Somerset College. The Award looks for a business who invest heavily in the skills of their existing workforce, as well as dedication to the development of the Somerset workforce of the future. Rachel Davies, Principal of Somerset College, said, “We believe that education and apprentices should once more be a priority in this country and the businesses sat in this room are helping us to get there.”
The award was presented to Crosville Motor Services Ltd. Collecting the award, Jonathan Jones-Pratt, Managing Director, said, “We recognise that it is critical to invest in people and to win a locally driven, prestigious award is something to be proud of. We are absolutely delighted and it has been a career milestone to bring Crosville Motor Services to life in Somerset and without our staff, we wouldn’t be here.”
The runners-up were Claims Consortium Group and Lloyd & Whyte Group Ltd.
Sponsored by ADPR Ltd for the past three years, the Marketing and Promotion Award celebrates businesses showcasing innovative and creative marketing plans, with a clearly defined strategy and investment, regardless of the size of budget. Alice Driscoll, Managing Director of ADPR Ltd, commented, “We have seen a range of fantastic entries from those who have seen effective change through marketing and who have really proved their worth.”
The award was presented to Somerdale International Ltd for its creative marketing campaign dedicated to the birth of the royal babies, using a limited budget and gaining fantastic results. Stephen Jones, Managing Director, said, “We use a range of marketing techniques to promote the best of British and get a range of customers to try our cheeses. Our message is simple, we see what farmers are going through and we want to get them a bit more for their milk – so we hope people enjoy it!”
The runners-up were Made Portraits and Somerset County Cricket Club.
Porter Dodson return to sponsor the Environmental Award for 2015, with Rob Fox presenting the award. The judges were looking for a business which has developed and used good practice in managing waste and reducing energy use, whilst balancing profitability with environmental awareness.
The winner was announced as Frogmary Green Farm for its continued commitment for reducing energy use and recycling waste. Nick and Claire Bragg from Frogmary Green Farm collected the Award, saying, “Thank you for a fantastic evening and to the sponsors for recognising our environmental achievements. Our main thanks goes to our loyal employees, without whose support this wouldn’t be achievable.”
The runner-up was C & D South West Ltd.
Foot Anstey LLP sponsored the International Trade Award for 2015. Judges were looking for a business who has embraced international trade, either through imports or export or a combination of them both. Duncan Sykes, Partner at Foot Anstey LLP, said, “Goods and services are highly valued in this area and we are delighted to be a sponsor of this award, once again. It is wonderful to see companies – big and small – embracing international trade.”
The award was presented to Cuddledry Ltd for its continued commitment to growth through international trade. Kate Hutchings said, “We have managed to grow a business that works around family life, with working mums. Cuddledry is a growing brand that started in the UK just eight years ago and we are now selling all around the world. This award means a huge amount to us.”
The runner-ups were Geist Europe Ltd and Somerdale International Ltd.
Main sponsors of the Somerset Business Awards, Albert Goodman has sponsored the Somerset Business Awards for five consecutive years. As a renowned family business, Albert Goodman judged their own award looking for a family business run with its family members at the heart of the business, whilst showing its ongoing development, financial success and clear objectives for long term planning.
The award was presented to Sarah Hodge Hairdressers for outstanding family commitment to running a highly success family business across two generations. Abby and Karly Whittaker from Sarah Hodge Hairdressers received the award, saying, “Our main role is to not only provide a successful business setting for today’s environment but also to create a legacy. We have never compromised our core beliefs as a business or as a family and as we move forward, we stay united. We are constantly trying to improve our industry and to share this experience as a family is amazing.”
The runners-up were Spillers of Chard Ltd and Holiday Resort Unity including Brean Leisure Park.
Always a very hotly-contested award, the Service Excellence Award was sponsored and judged by Elite Staffing Solutions. This Award was an incredibly tough category to judge, due to all businesses’ dedication to their customers. Emma Warren, Elite Staffing Solutions, commented, “In a saturated market, it has been essential to business success to deliver something outstanding. Customer service is a priority to us and it has been a pleasure to meet some companies that hold this close to their hearts.”
The award was presented to Claims Consortium Group, for its outstanding commitment to delivering great service and consistently going above and beyond the call of duty. Matt Brady and Debbie Mawer collected the award, saying, “We are so proud to have won an award for service in a world of social media where one bad review can result in you losing business. We have spent a lot of time getting our ethos and philosophy right so we can deliver our customers the service they deserve.”
The runners-up were The Octagon Theatre and Marston Foods Ltd.
New Business of the Year Award
Glyder Ltd has sponsored the New Business of the Year again for 2015. Looking for the ‘X-factor’ from a new business in Somerset, this award continues to be a tough category as business owners dedicate their heart and soul to making their dream a success. Bethan and Tim Baigent from Glyder Ltd presented the award and commented, “We are celebrating our tenth year in business but that doesn’t make us forget how hard it was starting out. To start a business it takes determination, passion, motivation and vision, and these businesses are all exceptional examples of this.”
The award was presented to Mendip Ropemakers Limited and was presented to Becky Dunnett, who said, “There are only a couple of businesses in the world who do what we do. Somerset was always famous for rope making but it died out, so we are proud to be bringing it back! Winning this award recognises all the hard work that we do.”
The runners-up were GingerFred Dance Studio and Visual Business.
This award is new to the Somerset Business Awards 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, “When we heard about this new award, we really wanted to get involved. Manufacturing is bigger and better in Somerset than you might believe, making this category hard to judge!”
The winner was The Wild Beer Co for its dedication to research and development of an impressive range of products on offer. Collecting the award was Stuart Winstone, stating, “We work using over 350 oak barrels to give each of our beers complexity. We would like to give a massive thanks to the team for being passionate about the job since day one, and loving what they do.”
The runner-ups were James Tobias Ltd and SCM Handling Ltd.
Young Business Employee of the Year Award
Sponsored by Jobseekers Recruitment Service Ltd, this awards celebrates the young talent of Somerset businesses, who have been with their respective firms for up to three years. The judges look for a commitment to the development of the business and showing a clear added value from the young professional. John Farmer from Recruitment Service Ltd said, “We firmly believe that all good employees recognise the value of their staff and this is such a fantastic award because it provides recognition for individuals.”
The winner was announced as Sam King from Jon Thorner’s Ltd for his dedication to the business and showing his individual value to the business operations. Sam received his award, saying, “Winning this is the cherry on top of an amazing year! I would just like to say thank you to the company for the on-going support and to my incredibly inspirational boss.”
The runners-up were Becky Read from Claims Consortium Group and Kelly Lush from Open Vision Finance.
Business of the Year 1-10 Employees Award
The Business of the Year Awards are consistently battled for amongst Somerset businesses. Sponsored by Yeovil College, the Business of the Year 1-10 Employees looks at smaller businesses within Somerset, looking for overall outstanding success and business processes. Presenting the award was Yeovil College’s Steve Battersby, who commented, “Companies under ten make up 80% of businesses in the country, so this award is to celebrate the important micro employers in Somerset.”
The winner of the award was AB Heritage Limited for its exceptional business activity, clearly defined goals and routes to market. Managing Director, Andy Buckley, said, “This award is a phenomenal success and a movement in the right direction for us. It is a real testament to the fantastic work we are doing and is completely down to the team for getting the job done over the years.”
The runners-up were Southwest Digital Systems Ltd and Transolva Ltd.
Business of the Year 11-25 Employees Award
The next size up, the Business of the Year Award for 11-25 Employee is sponsored by A.C. Mole & Sons. This award celebrates SMEs in Somerset, who show they can stand out from the crowd and deliver a great results for their business. Rob Selley, Associate at A.C. Mole & Sons, said, “Judging this category was incredibly difficult this year, with such a diverse range of businesses.”
A close contest, the winner was announced as Red Berry Recruitment Ltd. Helen Lacey, Managing Director, collected the award, saying, “It has been fantastic to see the company grow and we think we are doing a great job, but this shows that other people agree! Thank you to my incredible team for their constant support.”
The runners-up were Teapot Creative Ltd and Somerdale International Ltd.
Business of the Year 26-50 Employees Award
Sponsored by EDF Energy, the Business of the Year 26-50 Employees Awards showcases businesses with even more employees working within Somerset. Judges were looking for outstanding businesses with great success stories. Nigel Cann from EDF Energy, said, “There are many fantastic business opportunities within Somerset and it is fantastic to see so many businesses getting involved – regardless of the size and industry.”
The award was presented to Brook Food Processing Equipment Ltd for its clear business strategy and exceptional results. Steve Wells, said, “We work with customers to create a partnership and have managed to build a great businesses and place in our industry. This is the first time we have ever entered anything and it is completely down to our great team.”
Business of the Year 51+ Employees Award
Higos Insurance Services Ltd return once again to sponsor the Business of the Year 51+ Employees at the Somerset Business Awards. Focusing on the bigger 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, “All three finalists have grown significantly and excel in their respective industries. These three finalists are fine examples of Somerset businesses.”
The award was presented to Claims Consortium Group and collected by Group Managing Director, Matt Brady, who said, “It is has been so important for us to invest in the building blocks of the company to secure the future of our business. I remember this business when it operated out of a house, and now we are leading in our industry.”
The runners-up were Monkton Elm Garden and Pet Centre and VADO.
Charity of the Year Award
Sponsored by Clarke Willmott LLP, the Charity of the Year Award showcases those charities working incredibly hard within Somerset to make a real difference within the county. Kate Gardner, Partner at Clarke Willmott LLP, commented, “We are incredibly proud to be associated with this award. These charities show care, commitment and expertise to benefit those in society.” £2,100 was raised on the night for all three charities, which was split 50% to the winner and 25% each for the runner-ups.
Always a tough category, but incredibly worthy charities to visit, the award was presented to School in a Bag, for its incredible dedication to helping those in need through ongoing sponsorship, its hugely successful weekend festival and many other activities.
Collecting the award, Luke Simon said, “There are so many children who don’t have any educational resources and we want to provide a passport to a life out of poverty. We are beginning to grow, with a network of support that is becoming national and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the people of Somerset. So far we have managed to help over 57,000 children in poverty but there is still a long way to go. It is fitting that we should win this award in our 10th anniversary year – many of you might know that this charity was started in my brother’s memory, who was lost in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, so Piers, this one is for you!”
The runners-up were Broadway Lodge Ltd and The Hub Yeovil Community Support Charity. The Heart FM charity draw was won by The Hub Yeovil Community Support Charity, who won £1,000 worth of advertising on the station.
Working together with Bridgwater College, the finalists were filmed by the 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 Somerset Business Awards would not be possible without the amazing work and contributions from Somerset Chamber members, including Bill Bradshaw Photography, for photography during the Awards. Bright Productions supported the Awards with the staging, sound and AV equipment and Food For You catering, providing guests with a gourmet three-course dinner, followed by a cheese course from Somerdale International Ltd.
Please follow @SomBizAwards on Twitter for all the latest news and updates with #SBA2015. For more information, please visit www.somersetbusinessawards.org.uk.