Cheshire's top businesses honoured at High Sheriff’s Award for Enterprise

Posted on 19th March 2009
Three businesses from across Cheshire are celebrating after winning prizes at the prestigious High Sheriff's Award for Enterprise.

The winners were announced at a special ceremony at the University of Chester last night (Wednesday, March 18).

Founded by a former High Sheriff of Cheshire, David Briggs MBE, in 2006, the Award for Enterprise is judged on ambition, innovation, growth, enterprise, and employee and management development. The entrants are also required to explain the way in which they will ensure their company continues to expand in the future.

The current High Sheriff of Cheshire, Alastair Stoddart, said: "I would like to congratulate all three finalists, which are exceptional businesses, encapsulating the spirit of enterprise and entrepreneurship in the county."

Ian O'Doherty, President of Bank of America Europe Card Services, was the keynote speaker at the event.  He added: "I am very pleased to have been a part of the High Sheriff's Award for Enterprise 2008.  In these challenging financial times, it is encouraging to see businesses thrive and continue to expand by embracing change and adapting to market trends."

First place, and a free place for one of its managers on the MBA programme at the University of Chester (worth £8,000), was awarded to CHK plc, which manufactures steel-based components and products from its eight-acre site in Crewe, Cheshire.

Founded in 1964, the company has seen its turnover increase by £750,000 within two years, from £4.99million in 2005/6 to £5.74million in 2007/8.

It has responded to changing market conditions, broadening its production of more complex components, such as suspension systems. In addition, it now manufactures agricultural products under licence.

Alan Pinkney, Managing Director of CHK plc, commented: "I am extremely proud to be accepting this Award, which is testament to the hard work and dedication of our excellent team.

"We have a clear vision at CHK plc for the future, which will allow us to grow and ensure further success."

Second place and a £4,000 cash prize was awarded to Dandy's (Chester) Ltd, in Chester, which produces and supplies landscaping materials to both the general public and trade.

A family run business since the early 1800s, the company shows a strong commitment to environmental issues, and it has increased its product range to include many recycled and organic products, some of which are produced from materials it has diverted from landfill and waste sites.

Adam Dandy, Managing Director of Dandy's (Chester) Ltd, said: "Many aspects of the company are run in-house, and this prize recognises the achievements of each member of staff. Looking to the future, it is our aim to become carbon neutral by 2013, and we are continually looking at innovative, eco-friendly ways to offset our expansion."

Third place and a £2,000 cash prize went to Capenhurst-based company, EA Technology Limited,which specialises in innovative products and services for the international power industry.

The company, which also won second place in the 2006 Awards, was established in 1966 as the research and development arm of the UK electricity industry.  It gained independence in 1997 and is owned in the majority by its employees.

Robert Davis, Managing Director of EA Technology Limited, commented: "We are very pleased to be accepting this prize which marks the commitment of our loyal staff. In January this year, we opened our first international subsidiary in Australia, and we look forward to expanding further on a global level."

Chris Pyke, Head of the Chester Business School at the University of Chester, added: "CHK plc is a well deserved winner and joins a list of excellent companies which have been honoured with this Award.  We look forward to welcoming its nominated manager onto our MBA programme, where they will develop further skills and knowledge to meet the global challenges of the 21st- century business environment."

The Award's outstanding prize fund was made possible thanks to significant contributions from regional and international sponsors: Barclays Bank; Cheshire County Council; Warrington Borough Council; Halton Borough Council; Northwest Regional Development Agency; University of Chester; Cheshire and Warrington Economic Alliance; and Business Link Northwest.