North West business Masters revealed
North West Business Masters winners revealed
EXCELLENCE, passion, outstanding achievement and innovation were celebrated today as the winners of TheBusinessDesk.com’s North West Business Masters Awards were announced.
At an exclusive lunch at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, winners were announced in six categories, ranging from North West Newcomer – the most exciting new business, to North West Ambassador – the award for outstanding contribution by a senior business leader.
The awards, supported by headline sponsor Jaguar, were made after readers voted on a shortlist compiled by a high-level panel of judges.
Fred Done, the Salford-born bookmaker who has built up a major business empire, including BetFred, and last year bought The Tote from the government for £265m, was crowned North West Ambassador.
Mr Done pipped two other leading businessmen, BT’s Mike Blackburn and Peter Cowgill of JD Sports Fashion, to the award, sponsored by marketing group MC2.
Judges remarked that the Tote deal had been achieved in the face of opposition from the horseracing establishment, which had favoured a rival bid led by ex BA chairman Martin Broughton.
The North West Innovator award, sponsored by law firm Cobbetts, was made to Warrington company Belfry Group managing director Keith Rimmer for his EcoPod device.
The product was invented by Mr Rimmer to alleviate fuel poverty in high-rise tower blocks. It can fuel costs and carbon emissions by more than 40% and in February Belfry signed a global licensing deal with construction giant Carillion.
Belfry Group, saw off competition from MHA Lighting and Elite Telecom to take the Innovator award, which was presented by Cobbetts corporate finance partner Paul Johnson.
Liverpool-based bio-medical start-up Redx Pharma was named North West Newcomer, ahead of fledgling tea brand Charbrew and sweet business Goody Good Stuff.
Judges were swayed by Redx’s ambitious growth plans, which with the help of more than £5m from the Regional Growth Fund, will create more than 100 high-value scientific jobs in Liverpool at a cancer research base.
Finance director Norman Molyneux was presented with the award by sponsor Odgers Interim, represented by consultant Alex Lenihan.
In the North West Exporter award, sponsored by the North West Fund for Development Capital, family-owned Knutsford company Oliver Valves was triumphant.
The award to Oliver came just days after its subsidiary Oliver Valvetek landed a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its efforts in international markets. Oliver, which makes valves for the oil and gas sector, has recently won a number of bumper contracts in the Middle East and South America.
It saw off competition from Oldham company Applied Language Solutions and military bridge manufacturer WFEL.
WFEL, was a winner though in the North West Manufacturer category, sponsored by Deloitte.
Based near Stockport, the private equity-owned company is a world leader in its field, and last year sealed one of its biggest-ever orders, a £57m order from the Swiss army.
It has continued to invest in the region and in January spent £200,000 in expanding its production facility with a 14,000 sq ft unit to support its support services division.
WFEL, represented by manufacturing director Mark Sheridan, saw off strong competition from WEMS International and Lancashire’s Fort Vale Engineering to take the award.
The North West Pride Award, sponsored by United Utilities, was made to retired businesswoman Carole Nash for her outstanding and continued support of a range of good causes.
Since selling the Altrincham-based motorcycle insurance business whicbh still bears her name, in late 2006, she has devoted her time to a number of charities and educational and cultural projects, including Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music.
Other finalists in the North West Pride category were Liverpool’s The Brink dry bar, and the newly- opened Factory Youth Zone on north Manchester.
Chris Barry North West Editor of TheBusinessDesk.com said: “In challenging economic conditions our winners and finalists have set a fantastic example to the North West business community. We congratulate the winners and thank our sponsors for their support in helping us to celebrate business in the North West.”
The judges for the awards were: Robert Hough chairman of the NWDA; John Young, North West Agent at the Bank of England, entrepreneur Richard O’Sullivan, Damian Waters from CBI North West, non-executive director and former PwC senior partner David McKeith, and JourneyUK MD Laura Wolfe – one of the winners last year.
For further information go to: www.redxpharma.com