THE winners of the 2019 Somerset Business Awards were announced on Friday, 25 October, at a glittering black-tie event at the Winter Gardens Pavilion, in Weston-super-Mare.
Nearly 400 business people from across Somerset attended the gala evening, which was organised by Somerset Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Somerset cricket legend Peter Trego.
The 2019 finalists came from all corners of the county, from Bridgwater, Taunton, Frome, Axbridge, Evercreech, Edington, Wheddon Cross and Wincanton, to Wellington, Sparkford, Shepton Mallet, Roadwater, Watchet, Weston-super-Mare, Yeovil, Glastonbury, Congresbury and Highbridge.
This year was the 15th anniversary of the awards and Somerset Chamber Chief Executive Stephen Henagulph thanked everyone who had entered: “I am extremely proud of our county’s businesses; we were all blown away by the quality of the entries and what Somerset’s businesses are achieving and producing.
“It was fantastic to be able to honour winners and finalists from all corners of the county and from a wide range of sectors and industries. Thank you to everyone who entered the awards and thank you to our judges and sponsors who continue to make these the biggest and best business awards in Somerset.”
It was the 10th year main sponsor Albert Goodman had supported the awards and Managing Partner Richard Bugler said it was an honour to be celebrating the very best businesses in Somerset.
“Businesses are the lifeblood of this county. There is a lot to be gloomy about at the moment, but despite all this the Somerset business community continues to do what it does best,” Mr Bugler said.
All the finalists were filmed by media students from Weston College who created short films about each business which were shown during the evening and will form part of the students’ studies.
The 2019 Somerset Business Awards winners were:
- Albert Goodman Family Business of the Year (sponsored by Albert Goodman):
Winner – Shearwell Data Limited, Wheddon Cross
The runners-up were: Briarwood Products, Highbridge and Sparks & Daughters, Taunton
The Albert Goodman Family Business of the Year Award recognises family-owned businesses across all sizes and sectors. The winning company must demonstrate how the family has had a significant influence on the business, with one or more family members involved in the management. It is also key for the business to be financially successful and show a clear vision for the long-term future of the business. The award was presented by Michael Cahill, Partner, Albert Goodman.
The award was accepted by Richard Webber who said: “Thank you so much – unfortunately, my wife and daughter can’t be here tonight. We started off with very little, just shearing sheep, it was very hard work. But the hard work has been very well rewarded.”
- Best Use of Technology (sponsored by Porter Dodson):
Winner – Clear-flow Ltd, Yeovil
The runners-up were: Orbital Media, Taunton and Somerdale International Limited, Wellington
The Best Use of Technology Award recognises firms in the technology sector and beyond which are using the internet, cloud computing, robotics, apps or even AI to stand out in the market place. It was presented by Evelyn Adfield, of Porter Dodson.
The award was accepted by Luke Turner and Mark Marriott. Mr Turner said: “What an honour to be able to get this for the guys on the ground who work so hard and push things forward for all of us. Thank you for the team, thank you to everyone in Yeovil.”
- Small Business of the Year (sponsored by TDA):
Winner – PVS Group Ltd, Bridgwater
The runners-up were: Race At Your Pace Ltd, Taunton and the Somerset Travel Company Ltd, Taunton
The Business of the Year Awards look for the “wow factor” in companies, delivering the full package and more. The winning businesses demonstrate how they stand out from the crowd in areas such as ambition, profitability, growth, sound business planning, customer satisfaction and management of people. The small business category is for businesses with up to ten staff. It was presented by Ges Green, Operations Manager, of TDA.
The award was accepted by Marcus Puddy who said: “This is an absolute honour. Today is a tick in the box for us that says we are doing the right thing.”
- Medium Business of the Year (sponsored by BT):
Winner – Sycamore Process Engineering Limited, Sparkford
The runners-up were: PRM Waste Systems Ltd, Wellington and Somerdale International, Wellington
The Business of the Year Awards look for the “wow factor” in companies, delivering the full package and more. The winning businesses demonstrate how they stand out from the crowd in areas such as ambition, profitability, growth, sound business planning, customer satisfaction and management of people. The medium business category is for businesses with between ten and 50 staff. It was presented by Paul Coles, English Regions Director, of BT.
The award was accepted by Jerry Redman and Paul Manning. Mr Redman said: “This is amazing, thank you to all the judges and those who encouraged us to enter the awards. Running a business is risky, daunting, scary, but when you get it right it can be an amazing thing. This is for all our workers at Sycamore.”
- Large Business of the Year (sponsored by PKF Francis Clark):
Winner – Bridges Electrical Engineers Ltd, Midsomer Norton
The runners-up were: Marston Foods, Frome and The Flavourworks, Wincanton
The Business of the Year Awards look for the “wow factor” in companies, delivering the full package and more. The winning businesses demonstrate how they stand out from the crowd in areas such as ambition, profitability, growth, sound business planning, customer satisfaction and management of people. The large business category is for businesses with more than 50 staff. It was presented by Ben Lee, Business Services Director, of PKF Francis Clark.
The award was accepted by Mathew Bridges and Chris Maddox. Mr Bridges said: “It’s a huge honour to win this award – I’m so proud of our team to have won it.”
- Charity of the Year (sponsored by Clarke Willmott):
Winner – Weston Hospicecare Ltd, Weston-super-Mare
The runners-up were: Arc, Taunton and Somerset Community Foundation, Shepton Mallet
The Charity of the Year Award demonstrates not just how much money the charity raises or spends, but also how it makes a significant difference to those they work for, by fundraising and the contributions of volunteers. It was presented by Tim Walker, Partner, Clarke Willmott.
The award was accepted by Mark Flower who said: “It’s our 30th anniversary this year so this is a worthy accolade for all our staff. This is a wonderful bonus.”
- Employer of the Year (sponsored by Elite Staffing Solutions):
Winner – Singer Instruments, Roadwater
The runners-up were: Lloyd and Whyte Group, Taunton and Netitude Ltd, Frome
The Employer of the Year, a new category for 2019, recognises organisations that have created a stimulating and supportive work environment and have a real commitment to the welfare of employees. This results in high staff satisfaction and a well-motivated, ambitious and integrated workforce. It was presented by Emma Warren, of Elite Staffing Solutions.
The award was accepted by Harry Singer who said: “On behalf of everybody at Singer, thank you all very much. We are lucky to have an incredible support network – we wouldn’t be here without all of you.”
- Investing in Somerset (sponsored by Hinkley Point C):
Winner – Melhuish & Saunders Ltd, Glastonbury
The runners-up were: Doubletree by Hilton Cadbury House, Congresbury and MMES 2012 Limited, Bridgwater
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. It was presented by Ian Myers, Deputy Site Construction Director, Hinkley Point C.
The award was accepted by John Mitchard and Sue Rushforth. Mr Mitchard said: “We do support a lot of local companies and we employ a lot of apprentices – thank you all for this award.”
- New Business of the Year Award (sponsored by Teapot Creative):
Winner – Taunton Doctors Ltd, Taunton
The runners-up were: Race At Your Pace Ltd, Taunton and Sopha Limited, Highbridge
The New Business of the Year 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. It was presented by Barry Tottle and Lizzie Ginbey, Directors, of Teapot Creative.
The award was accepted by Dr Christian Hornung and Dr Tim Norbury. Dr Hornung said: “We feel very privileged. This has involved so much hard work over the last two years – we would like to dedicate this to everyone who has been busy starting up their own new businesses.”
- Outstanding Achievement (sponsored by Weston College):
Winner – Elliot’s Touch, Watchet
The runners-up were: Digital Taunton, Taunton and New Leaf Life Design, Bridgwater
The Outstanding Achievement Award, new for 2019, recognises an organisation or individual who has gone above and beyond for the benefit of others, outside the remit of their day-to-day job. Maybe they have exceeded a personal goal or made a significant contribution to their community. Achievements could include anything from fundraising, environmental initiatives to community work or CSR. It was presented by Dave Crew, Head of Business Growth and Employer Partnerships, of Weston College.
The award was accepted by Paul and Donna Stevens [the couple received a standing ovation]. Mr Stevens said: “This is an honour to even be here. Our son, Elliot, died in 2014 from mitochondrial disease so we set up a charity in his honour. We have raised £150,000 so far. I’d like to thank everyone for giving us this opportunity and for keeping Elliot’s legacy going.”
- Private and Public Collaboration (sponsored by Wessex Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’ Association):
Winner – Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP), Wellington
The runners-up were: Bridgwater & Taunton College, Bridgwater and The Great Western Hotel, Taunton, part of YMCA Dulverton Group
The Private and Public Collaboration Award, new for 2019, acknowledges the collaboration of private and public partners whose joint work enhances the Somerset economy by providing innovative and sustainable products, solutions or strategies that have measurable results. It was presented by Jon Beake and Rachael Brannagan, Senior Regional Employer Engagement Directors, of Wessex Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association.
The award was accepted by Jane Knowles and Stewart Collins. Ms Knowles said: “Sitting less and moving more is the best vibe you can have. We offer completely free courses for your workforce. Thank you for this award.”
- Service Excellence (sponsored by Brook Financial Management):
Winner – The Young Clinic t/a Christopher Young Opticians, Shepton Mallet
The runners-up were: Netitude Ltd, Frome and SDS Limited, Edington
The Service Excellence Award recognises customer service which goes over and above normal industry expectations, with clear strategies for maintaining such high levels of service. It was presented by Alison Smith, Director, of Brook Financial Management.
The award was accepted by Christopher Young who said: “What an honour this is for my team. As everyone here as a business owner knows, no-one standing up here has done it on their own; their team is so important so thank you all very much indeed.”
- Somerset Manufacturer and Producer Award (sponsored by Bibby Financial):
Winner – Shearwell Data Limited, Wheddon Cross
The runners-up were: Hullabaloos Lemonade Ltd, Axbridge and James Chocolates, Evercreech
The Somerset Manufacturer and Producer Award recognises innovative and agile manufacturers and producers from the county, with a commitment to proven research and development in practice, and a passion for continuous improvement. It was presented by Terry Burke, Head of Sales, of Bibby Financial Services.
The award was accepted by Richard Webber who said: “I never expected this. This is hugely appreciated. We’re located in Exmoor National Park and I think that has helped us to find the skills we need for the business, skills you wouldn’t normally be able to find.”
- Young Business Employee of the Year (sponsored by Clarks International):
Winner – Aimee-Jade Kingdon, Quedam Shopping Centre, Yeovil
The runners-up were: Melissa Houldsworth, Bridgwater & Taunton College, Bridgwater and Scott Bateman, Hippychick Ltd, Bridgwater
The Young Business Employee of the Year Award is presented to a young individual who has made a significant impact on their business. Going above and beyond the call of duty, the award nominations are put forward by their employer. It was presented by Lesley Robertson, Organisation Development Director, of Clarks International.
The award was accepted by Aimee-Jade Kingdon who said: “I wasn’t expecting this – thank you to James [Tovey] and the Quedam Centre for nominating me. I would also like to thank my parents for making me realise that you get out of life what you put in; you make your own successes.”
Photographs from the awards are available online at: https://www.somersetbusinessawards.org.uk/gallery/