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

Posted on 31st March 2014

Leading businesses from across Cheshire have been honoured at the prestigious High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise.

Bill Stothart, Chief Financial Officer, University of Chester; Martin Beaumont High Sheriff of Cheshire 2013/14; Fran Hulbert, Judge and Master of Ceremonies; Professor Phil Harris, Executive Dean of the University of Chester Business School and Tom Bloxham MBE, guest speaker and Chairman of Urban Splash Group Ltd.
Bill Stothart, Chief Financial Officer, University of Chester; Martin Beaumont High Sheriff of Cheshire 2013/14; Fran Hulbert, Judge and Master of Ceremonies; Professor Phil Harris, Executive Dean of the University of Chester Business School and Tom Bloxham MBE, guest speaker and Chairman of Urban Splash Group Ltd.
Seeing so many innovative businesses perform so well and build and renew a vibrant entrepreneurial economy is really positive for the future of Cheshire and the region as a whole.
Professor Phil Harris

The winners were announced on Thursday, March 27 at a special ceremony and dinner, held at Chester Town Hall. Guests included business leaders, sponsors, judges and finalists. The guest speaker was Tom Bloxham MBE, Chairman of Urban Splash Group Ltd.

Guests at the event were welcomed by Bill Stothart, Chief Financial Officer at the University and Professor Phil Harris, Dean of the University of Chester Business School.

Founded in 2006 by the 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, Martin Beaumont, introduced the Awards, before the results were announced 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 Awards for Enterprise 2014 supported by MBNA, with a free place for one of its suitably qualified employees on the University of Chester Business School’s MBA valued at £10,000 was Aspect Construction Contracts Ltd, based in Sutton Weaver.

Terry Hearfield, Financial Director of Aspect Construction, said: “We are thrilled to have received the Award for Enterprise on what was a fantastic and extremely well organised evening.  It is truly inspiring to see such a great number of successful organisations in Cheshire and also their strong association with the University of Chester, whose successful Business School impacts so positively upon the region and its businesses.”

The winner of the High Sheriff’s Award for Corporate Social Responsibility with a prize of £3,000 was Overwater Marina Ltd, based close to Audlem, which offers a range of moorings on the Shropshire Union Canal.

Colin Ainley, Marina Supervisor, said: “We feel very privileged to win the Higher Sheriff’s Award for Corporate Social Responsibility. Corporate social responsibility is central to our business ethos, delivered by creating a peaceful and diverse environment that benefits both our moorers and wildlife, as well as contributing to the thriving local economy through our close links with Audlem Village and the Audlem Lass shuttle service, run by the enthusiastic RNLI volunteer team.

“The generous award will enable our team to develop a nature trail for visitors showing both the history of the area and the diversity of Cheshire wildlife and habitats. The Awards evening was hugely enjoyable, ell organised, and with delicious food and inspirational speakers, including Tom Bloxom, MBE, of Urban Splash.”

The winner of the Mornflake Oats Award for Innovation receiving £3,000 was Holmes Chapel-based mobile tyre-fitting service tyresonthedrive.com

Dominic Clark, Founder and CEO, of tyresonthedrive.com, said: “Although we offer a simple proposition – why use the traditional high street purchasing model when mobile tyre fitting provides a range of overriding customer benefits – this simple idea is reinforced and made possible by the investment in technology and bespoke product development that we have made in tyresonthedrive.com over our two and half years in business. 

“It’s therefore gratifying for the business and all of our employees that others also recognise that we are trying to change an industry for the better and winning an award for something that we’re passionate about is about as good as it gets.”

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 for the first time, to support international trade, there was a new prize for exports initiated by UKTI. The joint winners of the UKTI Award for Cheshire Business Exporter of the Year were Delamere Dairy, which produces cow’s and goat’s milk and cheese, and Hughes Safety Showers Ltd of Stockport, a manufacturer of emergency safety showers, eyebaths and decontamination equipment for the chemical and petrochemical industries.

Ed Salt, Managing Director of Delamere Dairy, said: “Delamere Dairy is very proud to win the UKTI Award for Cheshire Business Exporter of the Year at the High Sheriff’s Awards.

“Two years ago, we made a conscious decision to seek out export opportunities and this Award recognises the efforts that all our staff, including our Business Development Manager in Hong Kong, have made to establish the many relationships in China and elsewhere which are now resulting in orders. We forecast export to become an increasingly important contributor to our business and the UKTI funding that has been awarded will be enormously helpful to support this complex and exciting activity.”

Paul Darlington, Group Sales Director, Hughes Safety Showers, said: “We are delighted and honoured to have received the UKTI Award for Cheshire Business Exporter of the Year at the ceremony for the High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise 2014.

“It recognises the dedication and hard work of all of our employees built up over many years, and we are equally proud to be associated with such a prestigious award.”

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 Charles Hewitt of Rock Chemicals Ltd.

Charles Hewitt, said: “I am delighted to win such a prestigious award.  It recognises the significant impact of creating and leading a unified, talented team and also the worldwide success of brand Rock Oil. It has massive personal poignancy for me, as I step aside from the Managing Director’s role next Tuesday - after 25 years. So, a massive thank you to all involved.”

Highly commended was David Barlow of specialist contractors Barlows (UK) Ltd of Malpas.

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.

Steve Westgarth was named the winner of the Cheshire Business Leaders Award for the Outstanding Cheshire and Warrington Young Entrepreneur for his mobile app development company Footsqueek which is based at the University’s Riverside Innovation Centre. This category was open to individuals aged 30 years or under (as at December 31, 2013) 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. Steve received a prize of £500 to invest in his business as well as free mentoring and business support from Cheshire Business Leaders.

Managing Director of Footsqueek, Steve said:  “I feel privileged to have received the award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year and would like to extend my sincere thanks to Cheshire Business Leaders for recognising the outstanding work being undertaken by the Footsqueek team as the business continues to develop into a thriving enterprise”.

Professor Phil Harris said: “Seeing so many innovative businesses perform so well and build and renew a vibrant entrepreneurial economy is really positive for the future of Cheshire and the region as a whole. It is with thanks to our sponsors that these Awards enable the commitment and hard work of these businesses to be celebrated in this way. It is really pleasing to see so much success in our local area.”

The High Sheriff of Cheshire, Martin Beaumont, said: “This is the eighth year of High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise, which seek to recognise, encourage and support successful businesses in Cheshire. 

“The UK's future wealth and prosperity is dependent upon a vibrant business sector and start-ups, young businesses and growing companies are the backbone of the economy. Here in Cheshire and the North-West, we are blessed with highly innovative and entrepreneurial business owners and managers: essential ingredients for business success.

“I am delighted that this year the number of award entries has doubled. I have been enormously impressed with their quality and the wide range of business sectors represented. It makes me very optimistic about the future health of business in Cheshire and all that means for jobs and prosperity.

“My thanks to all the entrants, to our wonderful sponsors and to the team from the University of Chester for making the Awards scheme such a success.”

The Awards prize fund and evening was made possible thanks to significant contributions from the following international and regional sponsors, most notably  MBNA the overall awards sponsor: Airbus; Barclays; Cheshire Business Leaders; Cheshire East Council; Cheshire and Warrington LEP; Cheshire West and Chester Council; Click Consult; Ellis and Co; KPMG; Knights; Marketing Cheshire; Mornflake; Muse; Oliver Valves; Roberts Bakery; SAS Daniels; Trinity Mirror Cheshire; Urenco; Warrington Borough Council; and UK Trade and Investment. 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.