This year’s Somerset Business Awards winners are revealed
In front of nearly 400 influential business professionals, the 2017 Somerset Business Awards were announced and celebrated on Friday 20 2017, at the annual celebratory dinner, held at Wellspring Leisure Centre in Taunton.
Hosted by Alex Lovell – BBC News presenter and TV personality – the 14 Awards were presented by their sponsors, before the winners were announced and invited on stage to collect their trophy.
Greg Saunders, Chair of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce – organisers of the Awards – welcomed all the finalists and sponsors to the event, and congratulated them on making it this far in the Awards. He commented, “The quality of this year’s entrants was exceptional. If you’re sitting here today, you should be incredibly proud. On behalf of all the sponsors, congratulations and enjoy the evening!”
Eight-time title sponsor and leading local accountancy firm, Albert Goodman, also took to the stage to welcome everyone to the Awards and congratulate all the finalists. Managing Partner, Richard Bugler, commented, “We are delighted to return as the main sponsor for the most prestigious awards in Somerset. Albert Goodman was established in Somerset over 150 years ago, and throughout that period it has been our vision to assist businesses throughout our county. Through our involvement with this year’s Awards, it is inspiring to view first-hand the large number of successful, well-run businesses and individual talent within our county. Congratulations on getting this far and we look forward to celebrating with you.”
BBC News Presenter and TV personality, Alex Lovell, presented this year’s Awards, returning by popular demand for the second time. She said, “The range of businesses in Somerset is incredible. We hear of world-renowned firms that have been running for several decades, from our part of the world. It’s really important to recognise best practise, innovation and ambition in new and established businesses. I wish you all the best of luck!”
This year’s Somerset Business Awards winners are:
Skills for Growth Award
Recognising businesses that have not only invested in the skills of their existing workforce, but have shown a commitment to developing the Somerset workforce of the future, this Award was sponsored by Wessex Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’ Association. Jon Beake, from the Association, presented the Award, saying, “It is really important for us to upskill and support the workforce of the future. Our finalists have demonstrated great investment in training their staff, and should be very pleased with their success.”
The Award was given to Avery Carpentry Contractors Limited. Antony Simpson and Adam Avery accepted the Award on stage and said, “Thank you so much to our team and the trainers. We are a young company and our staff are our future. So, we are supporting and developing not only their future, but the future of our business!”
The runners up were: Bridges Electrical Engineers Ltd (Midsomer Norton) and MMES 2012 Ltd (Bridgwater).
New Business of the Year Award
Sponsored by Teapot Creative, this Award celebrates businesses who have been trading for less than three complete financial years. The judges were looking for innovative and passionate businesses, with a new idea or a new business concept. Lizzie Ginbey and Barry Tottle presented this year’s Award.
Awarded for the wow factor in brand identity, ideas and true passion for their business, Elite Staffing Solutions (South West) Ltd won this year’s Award. Emma Warren, Managing Director and Founder, accepted the Award. She commented, “I am so excited to win this Award! Huge thank you to my husband for supporting me. Thank you also goes to my wonderful team, who are amazing, loyal and dedicated – I could not do this without you!”
The runners up were: Art Care Education (Somerton) and The Sangha House (Taunton).
Marketing and Promotion Award
Sponsored by specialist communications agency, ADPR, this Award looks for a creative and measurable marketing campaigns, either on a sustained or one-off project. Presented by Beki Sharman, PR Account Manager at ADPR, she commented, “There were two stand out businesses this year, that were among the best entries we have ever seen. Their creative approach to marketing, shows a real passion and innovation in their industries, supporting their aim to stand out in a highly crowded market place.”
The Award was presented to Norseland Ltd and was accepted by Kieran Sheridan-Lawler, who led its festival sponsorship campaign for the Mexicana brand of Norseland. He commented, “I was thrilled to be a finalist, but to win is even better! So many people have supported me with this engaging campaign, and I am so pleased it paid off. Thank you very much!”
The runner up was: Red Berry Recruitment Ltd (Shepton Mallet).
Service Excellence Award
Sponsored by two-time previous winners, Claims Consortium Group, this Award recognises customer services which go over and above normal industry expectations, with clear strategies for maintaining such high levels of service. It was presented by Connie Beasley, Operations Director for the firm, who commented on how important the people are within a business.
Key Solutions Mortgages Limited was crowned the winner, accepted by Holly Pearce and Marcus Lifton from the firm. They said, “This means so much to our firm. We work hard for our clients and care about them, as much as we do about our firm. We’re delighted! Thank you.”
The runners up were: ITEC Connect Ltd (Bridgwater) and Dimpsey Glamping (Chard).
Somerset Manufacturer & Producer Award
With so many incredible locally-based producers and manufacturers in the country, it was only right to update this Award. A new Award for 2017, the Somerset Manufacturer & Producer Award was sponsored by Ashfords LLP and presented by Stuart Mathews, a Partner at the firm. He explained how the judges were looking for innovative and agile manufacturers and producers from within the county, with a commitment to proven research and development in practice, and a passion for continuous improvement.
The Award was presented to Berry & Escott Ltd, for their dedication to the business. Gemma Deal and Steve Jones went on stage to accept the award and commented, “We have a fantastic team and this is for them. There’s a lot of hard work and dedication in our business, and I am very proud to give them this award!”
The runners up were: Blackdown Shepherd Huts Ltd (Ilminster) and TMB Patterns Limited (Bridgwater).
Investing in Somerset Award
Another new award for 2017, the Investing in Somerset Award recognises companies who are passionate about supporting Somerset’s economy through local activity, demonstrated by their use of local employment, training, trading or regional supply chain. Sponsored by EDF Energy, Rob Jordan, Site Construction Director for the business, commented, “The Somerset Business Awards is a magnificent event and we congratulate everyone. Our finalists are all fully committed and aligned in their business, to ensure we create a legacy in Somerset.”
The Award was presented to Somerset Country Cricket Club for playing such a key role in the Somerset community. Sarah Trunks and Spencer Bishop collected the Award on stage and said, “We are delighted to be recognised through this Award. We take being in the heart of the community very seriously and so the community is at the heart of all that we do.”
The runners up were: Somerset Larder (Nether Stowey) and Wyke Farms (Bruton).
Technology & Innovation Award
Sponsored by Porter Dodson Solicitors & Advisors, this Award recognises firms who are using the internet, cloud computing, robotics, apps or Artificial Intelligence to stand out in the market place. Evelyn Adfield, Head of Corporate Commercial for the firm, commented, “We received an impressive number of entries from different sizes of business. Choosing a winner was difficult, but a good challenge!”
The Award was presented to Bridges Electrical Engineers Ltd. Chris Maddox and Curtis Bartlett went on stage to collect the Award for using such advanced technology within their business. Chris commented, “We have incredible people working for our organisation, so this is for them. The courage and dedication is amazing, so thank you and here’s to the future!”
The runners up were: SCM Handling Ltd (Bishops Lydeard) and DNA Worldwide Ltd (Frome).
The Albert Goodman Family Business of the Year
Main sponsors, Albert Goodman, host this award and annually look for demonstration that the family has significant influence on the business, with one or more family members involved in the management of the business. It is also key for the business to be financially successful and show a clear vision for the long-term future of the business. Mike Cahill presented the Award, saying, “It is an honour to introduce our Award. Family business has a huge impact on our economy, and it is amazing to see the passion and pride of our local businesses, coupled with the unrivalled enthusiasm and energy for their success.”
This year, The Albert Goodman Family Business of the Year Award was presented to Bowen Opticians Ltd. Fiona Bromfield and Stephanie Suire went on stage to collect the Award, saying, “Wow, what an honour. This is a huge achievement for our small business and we are delighted! Thank you to the judges and to our team for making this possible!”
The runners up were: Jobseekers Recruitment Services Ltd (Taunton) and C & D South West Ltd (Chard).
Young Business Employee Award
Sponsored by Clarks and presented by Senior Vice President, Lesley Robertson, this Award is presented to a young individual who has made a significant impact on the business. Going above and beyond the call of duty, the Award nominations are put forward by their employer. Lesley commented, “Investing in young, local talent is very important, and the entries this year were exceptionally high. Both the businesses and individuals are great examples of success in Somerset.”
A tough Award to judge, Lucy Francis of Wyke Farms was named this year’s winner. She took to the stage to accept the Award and said, “Thank you so much to the Managing Director and Head of Marketing for supporting me in my career. Thank you also to my partner for putting up with my social media obsession – it’s paying off!”
The runners up were: Edward Jackson, of Key Solutions Mortgages Limited (Weston Super-Mare) and Amy Wall, of Friends for Pets Ltd (Winscombe).
Business of the Year Awards
The Business of the Year Awards look for the “X-Factor” in companies, delivering the full package and more. The winning businesses demonstrate how they stand out from the crowd in their category in areas such as ambition, profitability, growth, sound business planning, customer satisfaction and management of people.
1-10 Employees Award:
Looking at the one-man bands and smaller businesses, the Business of the Year 1-10 Employees Award is always highly competitive. Sponsored by TDA and presented by Ges Green this year, she commented, “We are proud to support the growth of our local economy, and thank the small businesses for their efforts towards making our region so successful!”
This year, the Award was presented to Elite Staffing Solutions (South West) Ltd. Accepting their second Award of the night, Managing Director, Emma Warren, said, “Wow! It’s been an amazing year for us. We have invested heavily in our business, our staff and new technology – and it’s paying off! Thank you.”
The runners up were: Puddy Vehicle Solutions (PVS) Ltd (Highbridge) and Granny Gothards Limited (Stoke St Gregory).
11-25 Employees Award:
The next business size up, the Business of the Year 11-25 Employees Award was once again sponsored by A.C. Mole & Sons. It was presented by Michael Cook, a Partner at the firm, who commented, “We are delighted to be a part of celebrating business success throughout Somerset. All our finalists fully deserve to be here and should be very proud.”
This year’s winner was Orme Architecture Ltd. Suzannah House and Edd Medlicott went up on stage to collect the Award and said, “This is an amazing achievement and we are very proud. We have an amazing team and this is for them! Thank you.”
The runners up were: Brook Financial Management Limited (Ilminster) and Kiddimoto Ltd (Cheddar).
26-50 Employees Award:
Sponsored by PKF Francis Clark, Richard Kennedy, a Partner for the accountancy firm, took to the stage to present the Award. He said, “We look after lots of businesses in Somerset and know how important these Awards are. The judging process has been a privilege for us to be involved in and we congratulate our finalists.”
The winner for 2017 was announced as Busy Bees Cleaning and Maintenance 2000 Ltd. Amy Welch and Dan McCallie went on stage to accept the Award and commented, “This is a fantastic achievement! We are so pleased to finally win, after three years of entering. Our advice to everyone is to persevere, as it truly makes you a better company! This Award shows that our hard works really pays off!”
The runners up were: Berry & Escott Ltd (Bridgwater) and Melhuish and Saunders Ltd (Glastonbury).
51+ Employees Award:
The largest business category of them all, the Business of the Year, 51+ Employees Award focuses on companies from 51 employees, all the way up to, and beyond, 300 employees. Returning as the sponsor again for this Award, Neil Wyatt, Head of Marketing for Higos Insurance Services, presented the Award. He said, “It is a tremendous honour for me to visit these large businesses in Somerset. There is incredible diversity in these organisations, who are fine examples of Somerset at its best!”
For the second time during the evening, Norseland Ltd was crowned the winner! Taking to the stage, Clive Richer and Daniel Clay, accepted the Award on behalf of his company, saying, “This Award is testament to the whole team, from the factory staff all the way up to our board of directors. We are incredibly proud to be the winner at the Somerset Business Awards. Thank you.”
The runners up were: Yeovil College (Yeovil) and VADO (Cheddar).
Charity of the Year Award:
The winning charity for this Award demonstrates more than how much money it raises or spends, but also how it makes a significant difference to those they work for, by fundraising and the contributions of volunteers. Sponsored by Clarke Willmott LLP, Tim Walker, Partner from the firm, took to the stage to participate in the Charity raffle. Prizes this year included shopping vouchers from Clarks Village, an overnight stay in the Best Western Plus Swan Hotel and a weekend test-drive from Taunton Jaguar.
Taking home the Award and a cheque for £1,120 – 50% of the total money raised on the Awards night – We Hear You were crowned this year’s winner. Anne Montague and Melissa Hillier took to the stage to accept the Award and large cheque. They said, “It’s been an amazing evening and this is a complete surprise. What we do is so important, so it is great to let even more people know about what we do, and have their support. Thank you so much!”
The runners up were: Art Care Education (Somerton) and The Willow Set (Stoke St Gregory), both taking home £560 each.
To close the evening, Greg Saunders returned to the stage, concluding, “It’s been an amazing evening and we congratulate all our winners and runner ups. We hope you’ve enjoyed the evening and thank you for joining us to celebrate!”
Working together with Bridgwater & Taunton College, the finalists were filmed by Media students who created a short film about each business, which were shown on the Awards night and forms part of the students’ final course results.
Please follow @SomBizAwards on Twitter for all the latest news and updates with #SBA2017. For more information, please visit: www.somersetbusinessawards.org.uk.