Cheshire’s top businesses honoured at High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise

Posted on 26th March 2013

Leading businesses from across Cheshire are celebrating after winning prizes at the prestigious High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise.

Professor Phil Harris, Dean Faculty of Business, Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, University of Chester; John Greaves Communications Director, Bank of America; Simon Enderby, The Up and Under Group; High Sheriff of Cheshire, William Lees Jones; Andy Fewtrell, Managing Director, The Up and Under Group.
Professor Phil Harris, Dean Faculty of Business, Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, University of Chester; John Greaves Communications Director, Bank of America; Simon Enderby, The Up and Under Group; High Sheriff of Cheshire, William Lees Jones; Andy Fewtrell, Managing Director, The Up and Under Group.
It’s really encouraging to see so many innovative businesses performing so well in this region. Thanks to our sponsors these awards enable the hard work of business entrepreneurs to be recognised these prestigious awards.
Professor Phil Harris

The winners were announced at a special ceremony and dinner held in the Molloy Hall at the University of Chester’s Main Campus on Thursday 21st March. Guests included business leaders, sponsors, judges and the finalists. The guest speaker was Ross Warburton MBE, Executive Director of Warburtons. His company makes the most popular bread in the UK and the company’s products are the second-best selling food and drink brand after Coca Cola.

Guests at the event were welcomed by the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Wheeler and Professor Phil Harris, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business, Enterprise and Lifelong Learning and holder of the Westminster Chair of Marketing and Public Affairs.

Founded in 2006 by former High Sheriff of Cheshire and now Lord Lieutenant for Cheshire, David Briggs MBE, the Awards for Enterprise are judged on the categories of Innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility and Enterprise.

The current High Sheriff of Cheshire Mr William Lees-Jones introduced the awards before the results were presented by the Master of Ceremonies Fran Hulbert, Chair of the Business Advisory Council for the University of Chester.

First place in the High Sheriff’s Award for Enterprise 2013 supported by Barclays, with a free place for one of its suitably qualified employees on the Chester Business School’s MBA valued at £10,000, was electrical engineering company B&S Group Ltd of Chester.

Highly commended was IT solutions company Blue Coffee Networks Ltd from Cheadle Hulme and Easy MCS Ltd of Chester which supplies renewable energy training.

Steve Potts, Managing Director of the B&S Group Ltd, said: "Winning the High Sheriff’s award for Enterprise is a testament to the work and dedication of the whole team at B&S Group. We have created a unique position in the markets we operate in and our forward strategy will enable us to capitalise on 20 years of hard and dedicated work. We are very excited by the opportunities which are emerging in our markets and the investments we continue to make are designed to ensure we can realise the full potential that exists for us.  

"It was a very close competition and I would like to pay a particular tribute to the teams at Blue Coffee Networks and Easy MCS Ltd, for their inspiration, innovation and commitment to enterprise and entrepreneurship. Their presence in the top three makes for a clear statement of all that is good in Cheshire business. I would like to express my personal appreciation to the organisers and sponsors of the High Sheriff’s award initiative and for the impetus it offers Cheshire business."

The winner of the Bank of America Award for Corporate Social Responsibility with a prize of £3,000 was specialist engineering company The Up and Under Group from Crewe. Social enterprise group Blacon Community Trust was highly commended.

Simon Enderby, Operations Director of the Up and Under Group, said: "The Up and Under Group is delighted to be awarded the High Sheriff’s Award for Corporate Social Responsibility. It is great recognition for all the hard work everyone involved in the business and the charity have made and will hopefully act as a further springboard for us to continue to support youngsters and change lives through adventure well in to the future."

The winner of the Mornflake Oats Award for Innovation was communication business Graham Shapiro Design, which received the £3,000 prize. Highly commended was financial services company ICC Solutions of Warrington.

Graham Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer and Founder at GSD®, said: "I’m honoured to have received this prestigious award. It’s great that the University of Chester and associated sponsors have recognised GSD® for its innovation and creativity, for the second time in three years. We are very proud of our new Reggie® product and winning this award has made all the hard work worthwhile."

These three awards were open to businesses with an annual turnover of at least £500,000 and which employ between five and 250 members of staff. The entrants were required to demonstrate outstanding performance and explain their strategy to ensure that the company will continue to expand and flourish in the future.

This year there are also two new prizes.

The Cheshire Business Leaders Award for the Outstanding Cheshire and Warrington Business Leader recognised an exceptional business person, who has shown vision and leadership at the helm of a successful and growing business that has also contributed to the development and reputation of the whole sub-region. The award was given to Adrian Lomas from Blueleaf which is based at Chowley Oak Business Park in Tattenhall, just outside Chester.

Nominations for the award were received from individuals running businesses of all sizes. The winner was awarded free membership of Cheshire Business Leaders, worth £500 a year.

Adrian Lomas, Managing Director of Blueleaf, said: "Cheshire Business Leaders is an organisation that is involved in some fantastic initiatives to develop and enrich the region. I am so proud to have been judged a winner by them and am really looking forward to joining them in their work.”

Michael Williams was named the winner of the Cheshire Business Leaders Award for Cheshire and Warrington Young Entrepreneur. This category was open to individuals aged 30 years or under (as at 31st December 2012) who are running a business that has been trading for a maximum of three years. The judges looked for growth in turnover and/or profits, job creation, developing new markets and long-term potential of the business to determine a winner. Michael received a prize of £500 to invest in his business as well as free mentoring and business support from Cheshire Business Leaders.

The winners of both Cheshire Business Leaders Awards were also be invited to attend the annual Cheshire Ambassadors lunch at the Chester Grosvenor Hotel and Spa, hosted by His Grace, The Duke of Westminster, the University’s Chancellor.

Professor Phil Harris said: "It’s really encouraging to see so many innovative businesses performing so well in this region. Thanks to our sponsors these awards enable the hard work of business entrepreneurs to be recognised by these prestigious awards. It is encouraging for the economy of the region to have such talent and hard work driving business in Cheshire forward."

The Awards prize fund was made possible thanks to significant contributions from the following international and regional sponsors:

  • Barclays Bank
  • Bank of America
  • Cheshire Business Leaders
  • Click Consult
  • Cheshire East Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Cheshire & Warrington LEP
  • Click Consult
  • DTM LEGAL
  • Marketing Cheshire
  • Mornflake
  • Oliver Valves
  • Roberts Bakery
  • Trinity Mirror Cheshire
  • Warrington Borough Council
  • The University of Chester

Together, this sponsorship has made the High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise represent one of the highest values of any competition of its kind in the country.