The judges of the Somerset Business Awards are delighted to unveil the winners for the tenth anniversary of the most prestigious awards in Somerset.
The winners of each award were announced at the exclusive black tie award ceremony at the Westland Conference and Leisure Complex in Yeovil on Friday 17 October 2014. With an audience of more than 350 influential business people, Somerset companies were celebrated for outstanding performance and business excellence. Heart FM’s Cormac MacMahon returned to the stage for the second year to compere the Awards evening.
Introducing the Somerset Business Awards for the tenth year, Rupert Cox of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, officially welcomed the sponsors and finalists to the Awards evening. He said, “The Somerset Business Awards is now in its tenth year and I am very proud to be a part of it! It is an honour to celebrate such outstanding businesses in Somerset and I want to personally thank our wonderful sponsors for their continued support. To the finalists, you’re all winners and should be incredibly proud of your achievements!”
David Griffin, Managing Partner of Albert Goodman, the main sponsor for the fourth consecutive year, congratulated all the finalists, saying, “It is very rewarding for Albert Goodman to return to the stage as the main sponsor again this year. The variety and enthusiasm of Somerset businesses never fails to amaze me and I am always excited by the quality of business in Somerset.
“The Somerset Business Awards helps to recognise outstanding performance and moving forward, we need to think about the next generation and the education of our colleagues – we are all responsible of creating the entrepreneurs of the future.”
Skills for Growth Award
Sponsored by the Somerset Employment & Skills Group, the Skills for Growth Award recognises a business which has invested in the skills of their workforce and shown a commitment to developing the Somerset workforce of the future. Peter Livingstone, Chair of the Somerset Employment and Skills Group, said, “We are very excited to support this award. The quality of entries was fantastic and all three finalists should be incredibly proud of their businesses.”
The winner went to local leisure trust, 1610 Ltd. Collecting the award, Head of Workout Learning, Amanda Charlton, said, “I am absolutely speechless! To win is such an amazing feeling! I want to thank the staff at 1610 Ltd and the sponsors of the Somerset Business Awards. We invest in our staff so that they invest in our company and we can’t continue without them! The last four years have been an incredible journey for us and we’re not stopping yet!”
The runners up were Combers Ltd and The Hub – Yeovil CIC.
International Trade Award
The International Trade Award was sponsored by Foot Anstey LLP this year and Legal Director, Michael Gay, took to the stage to present the award. He said, “International trade is incredibly important to our economy – it helps businesses to grow and is vital to ensure we rebalance the economy. Our award recognises a fantastic business which does this seamlessly and is showing positive signs of expanding.
Exporting into new countries around the world, the winner was announced as Somerdale International Ltd. Accepting the award was Stephen Jones, who commented, “I want to thank the fabulous team who work for us and their ongoing hard work. We will continue to grow and trade into more countries around the globe.”
The runners up were SCM Handling and Something Different (Europe) Ltd.
Marketing & Promotion Award
The Marketing and Promotion Award showcases a business with an innovative and creative marketing strategy with clearly measurable results, irrespective of their budget. Sponsored by PR agency, ADPR Ltd, Managing Director, Alice Driscoll, presented the award. She said, “We all do marketing every day, but the entries we received were exceptional. The businesses showed how competitive the market place is, but what fantastic businesses we have in Somerset!”
Investing in their customers and maximising its budget, the winner was announced as Avalon Leisure. Bob Buckingham received the award with Jordan Cook. Bob said, “It is such an honour to receive this award and a real endorsement of the work we do. It was an incredibly tough category and to say we are delighted is an understatement. Thank you!”
The runners up were Wyke Farms and 1610 Ltd.
Albert Goodman Family Business of the Year Award
Returning as main sponsor for the fourth year, Albert Goodman presented its own award. Partner and Head of Family Business, Paul Hake, said, “Family business is thriving in Somerset and it is something we should all be very proud of. Our finalists are all financially successful and show a clear vision for the long term future of the business, including planned succession.”
The winner was announced as Frome-based A J Charlton and Son Ltd. AJ and Peter Charlton took to the stage to receive the award. Very emotionally, AJ said, “What a surprise! I want to thank all of my wonderful family and our amazing staff – we wouldn’t be where we are today, and so successful, without you. I couldn’t ask for anymore from you all, so thank you!”
The runners up were Spillers of Chard Limited and M & J Bowers Ltd.
The Environmental Award recognises a company which has developed and uses good practice in managing waste and reducing energy use, and balances profitability with environmental awareness. Sponsored by Porter Dodson, Adrian Poole, Partner of the firm, said, “Environmental issues are very close to Porter Dodson’s business and we are delighted to be sponsoring this award. The finalists are fabulous examples of managing environmentally-friendly businesses and we congratulate them all!”
The award was presented to farmhouse cheddar cheese manufacturer, Wyke Farms. Richard Clothier, Managing Director who took to the stage to accept the award, said, “It is an honour to receive this award! I’d like to thank all our farmers, suppliers and wonderful staff at Wyke Farms – I feel incredibly fortunate to work with such a great team and this is for you.”
The runners up were Montgomery & Sons Joinery Limited and Bragg Agricultural Services (Frogmary Green Farm).
Service Excellence Award
Having won this award in 2012, Cooper Associates Ltd were sponsors of the Service Excellence Award for 2014. Managing Director, Samantha Cooper, presented the award and said, “This award represents a company that has a clear strategy for excellent customer service and manages this consistently. Customer service is at the heart of our finalists’ business and they have set a high level to work at, which is measured throughout.”
The award was presented to Marston Foods from Frome. Leona McDonald and Sarah Green took to the stage to accept the award. They said, “This is fantastic, thank you so much! It is amazing to be recognised for our customer service and I’d like to thank our whole business – I am incredibly proud of you, so thank you to you all!”
The runner up were Southwest Digital Systems Limited (SDS Ltd) and Jungle Property.
New Business of the Year Award
Sponsored by design and print company, Glyder Ltd, the New Business of the Year Award celebrates a new business which has the ‘X factor’. Presenting the award, Bethan Baigent from Glyder said, “This award category was incredibly difficult to judge as the entries were outstanding! The finalists we shortlisted are all fantastic businesses and if we could award you all, we would!”
Winning the award was Fhoss Technology Ltd. Andrew Kimitri, CEO and founder of Fhoss Technology Ltd, accepted the award and said, “It is a great honour to receive this award, so thank you. This is real recognition of our work and I want to share it with our entire team. If you believe in your dreams, you can do it – and we have!”
The runners up were Wiseman Energy and Visual Business.
Young Business Employee of the Year Award
The Young Business Employee of the Year Award recognises someone who can demonstrate tangible achievements of merit in their role, either through progression, relevant personal or professional qualifications or training in their position. Sponsored by Jobseekers Recruitment Services, John Farmer said, “This was a really tough category to judge and all our finalists have that ‘extra something’ about them. It was an honour to judge this award and well done to all our finalists.”
The winner was announced as Ginny Gillingham of Oake Manor Golf Club Ltd, who manages all the events, weddings, the website and the golfers at the club. Ginny said, “Wow! This is incredible! I absolutely love my job and I make sure I have a very close relationship with my customers. A massive thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way, I really appreciate it!”
The runners up were Felix Marsh of Teapot Creative and Tara Jesse of Marston Foods.
Business of the Year 1-10 Award
The Business of the Year 1-10 employees Award recognises companies which have demonstrated how they stand out from the crowd in their category including ambition, profitability, growth, sound business planning, customer satisfaction and management of people. Sponsored by Yeovil College, Mary Payne, Director of Employer Engagement, said, “I am delighted to present this award on behalf of Yeovil College. Micro employers are vital to the Somerset economy and we had such an exciting range of businesses to judge.”
The winner was announced as C2 Safety. Managing Director, Jerome Timbrell, took to the stage to accept the award. He said, “This is incredible! I have grown the business since it began and I am delighted to be accepting the award. Thank you to our fantastic team, we’ll be coming for the next category size in the coming years, so watch this space!”
The runners up were Blackdown Shepherd Huts Ltd and Radfords Fine Fudge Ltd.
Business of the Year 11-25 Award
The next category size up, the Business of Year 11-25 employees was sponsored by A.C. Mole & Sons. Presenting the award, Amanda Grunter said, “Judging all the entries was very difficult, but really exciting! Somerset businesses are going from strength to strength and we are extremely proud to sponsor this award!”
The award was presented to Energy and Technical Services. Managing Director, Phil Warren, accepted the award and said, “Wow! Thank you so much! I’d like to thank my dedicated team for their support over the years. We are a forward thinking company and I look forward to many more years of exciting development and seeing what the future brings. Somerset is most certainly, open for business!”
The runners up were Teapot Creative and CETSAT Ltd.
Business of the Year 26-50 Award
The Business of the Year 26-50 employees award was sponsored by EDF Energy. Marcus Ransom from EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C Team took to the stage to present the award. He said, “We are delighted to represent this award. We are committed to the development of business in Somerset and our finalists are fabulous examples of great businesses in the county!”
The winner was announced as Ilminster-based Knight Electrical Switchgear Ltd. Russell Knight and Dale Turnball received the award and said, “We are only four years old and going from strength to strength. We are dedicated to putting the customer at the front of our business, giving them what they want, when they want it. I’d like to thank our families for their support over the years – thank you.”
The runners up were Berry & Escott Engineering and Covalent Software.
Business of the Year 51+ Award
Looking at the big businesses in Somerset, the Business of the Year with 51+ employees awards was once again sponsored by Higos Insurance Services. Marketing Manager, Neil Wyatt, presented the award and said, “With 20 offices in Somerset, we know what it’s like to have a large and successful organisation. We received an exceptional number of quality entries and we have some excellent finalists here today. Congratulations to you all.”
The award was presented to Wyke Farms. Richard Clothier, Managing Director, accepted their second award of the night. He said, “As a firm with over 150 years in business, this is a great honour for our business, its staff and our families. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world right now – I work with a fantastic team of more than 200 employees, many of whom I have worked with for more than 20 years in more than 150 countries. Thank you all!”
The runners up were Property Consortium Group and Somerset County Cricket Club.
Charity of the Year Award
The Charity of the Year award was sponsored by Clarke Willmott LLP. Money was raised on the night by the finalists and sponsors, which totalled £2,000, and was split between the three finalists. Presenting the award, Tim Walker said, “This was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but such an inspirational job to do. These three charities do an amazing job which benefits the community extensively and are all worthy winners. The winner does something very practical within Somerset and is recognised all around the world. Congratulations!”
The winner was announced as Reminiscence Learning, who were awarded half of the charity money raised – £1,000. Emma Green accepted the award, with Archie, the charity mascot. She said, “Wow! We have a unique business and method of working, and we are speechless to win, thank you! The work we do is vital to our community and we love doing it! We have a dynamic and passionate team, and they truly deserve this. This recognition will help drive our business forward, so thank you again!”
The runners up were Somerset Wildlife Trust and SURE (Somerset Unit for Radiotherapy Equipment), who received £500 each. SURE was also the lucky recipient of £1,000 free advertising from Heart FM – the prize from the Heart FM draw, which involved all of the finalists.
Working together with Bridgwater College, the finalists were filmed by the 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.
Rupert Cox concluded, “Huge congratulations to all our winners and finalists. Yet again, you have raised the standards for 2014 and the level of commitment and passion shown by the businesses is outstanding. The Somerset Business Awards are the most prestigious awards in Somerset, and all our finalists should be incredibly proud to be here.”
For more information, please visit www.somersetbusinessawards.org.uk. The Somerset Business Awards is active on Twitter, please follow @SomBizAwards for all the latest news and updates with #SBA2014.