Somerset Business Awards 2010

Somerset celebrates its vibrant business community as the winners of the Somerset Business Awards 2010 are announced at a sell-out event at the Somerset County Cricket Club

Somerset celebrates its vibrant business community as the winners of the Somerset Business Awards 2010 are announced


The winners of this year’s prestigious Somerset Business Awards were announced on Friday 22nd October at the annual Somerset Business Awards Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony. The occasion was a great opportunity to celebrate the varied and vibrant businesses of Somerset, with winners flaunting impressive combined credentials that place Somerset in an enviable position to weather the economic storm and withstand recently announced government cuts.  


Almost 300 people from the county’s top businesses – from sole traders to major corporate firms – attended the sell-out event at the new Somerset County Cricket Club conference and banqueting facilities to find out who had won this year’s highly-coveted awards. Organisers commented that the standard of the entries this year has been exceptional, whilst the number of entries was up over 50%, proving that the popularity and prestige of the Somerset Business Awards continues to increase year on year.


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David Griffin, Managing Partner of Albert Goodman, the main event sponsor, commented, “The Somerset Business Awards have become the most recognisable and important endorsement of corporate and individual achievement in Somerset.  Through our involvement as main sponsor of this year’s awards, it is uplifting to view first-hand the strength of businesses and individual talent within our county, particularly at a time when we are experiencing the worst economic conditions for several decades.”


Albert Goodman Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Highlighting innovation in Somerset, the Albert Goodman Entrepreneur of the Year Award was awarded to Jeremy Hyams of Property Consortium UK, the 24 hour property repair service. Jeremy Hyams has had an unconventional rise in the business world, encountering many setbacks along the way, and his strength of character and determination to succeed are just two of the things that make him such an inspiration to others. He has built Taunton based Property Consortium UK from nothing into three separate, interlinked companies with a turnover in excess of �12million, employing nearly 80 people in the region.


Jeremy Hyams commented, “This is a great honour. Everyone has put a lot of hard work into the business – it’s not just me, it’s the staff and everyone around me who have elevated me to where I am – this is a testament to them really.”


New Business of the Year Award

Despite the ongoing recession, there are a surprising number of successful new businesses in the county and the New Business of the Year Award, sponsored by ADPR Ltd, certainly brought some impressive entries. The judges awarded the title to Glastonbury based The Orchard Pig, an award-winning drinks company that has grown from a hobby between two friends to a well-known brand, being stocked in over 350 outlets across the South West, in London and overseas. The company has a clear growth plan with a defined marketing strategy and is on target for a �900,000 turnover in 2010, with a �4million target for 2013.


Managing Director Andrew Quinlan commented, “We’re chuffed to bits to win this award. I think more than anything it gives the team confidence that we’re doing the right thing. The recognition of Somerset drinks and food particularly is great – it’s really nice for a ‘foodie’ business to be coming through in this sector.”


Operations Director Neil Macdonald added, “This is great recognition for nearly three years hard work, not just for Andrew and I but for the whole team. It’s very exciting – this sets us up really well to go forwards from here so there’s a lot to sing and shout about!”


Young Entrepreneur of the Year

The judges were so impressed with the level of achievement from young people at this year’s Somerset Business Awards that they awarded a special prize for Young Entrepreneur of the Year to Lympsham based Turnkey IT Solutions, which also came second in the New Business of the Year Award. Established by Michael Turner in January 2009 at the tender age of 17, Turnkey IT Solutions provides a complete outsourced managed IT solution for businesses and has recently developed ‘Staff Guardian’ – an innovative application that allows managers to ensure their staff's safety and manage overheads easily. The young entrepreneur is already an impressive businessman and is a real asset for Somerset, undoubtedly destined to go on to bigger and better things.


Michael commented, “Winning a Somerset Business Award is really great for Turnkey IT Solutions. It’s great recognition – it shows that we’re doing the right thing and our customers are obviously really proud of us. We will continue to grow and hope to gain more customers in Somerset and nationwide. We’ve launched, which is a great staff safety solution, and we hope that by winning this award it will help us promote that.”


E-Business Award

Another highly successful Somerset IT company is the Somerton based web development company Commcam, which won the hotly contested E-Business Award, sponsored by Samson Office Supplies. Founded in 2006, the company employs four staff and has grown steadily since its inception, this year being on-course to turnover �350,000. Commcam’s dedication to providing its customers with tailored solutions has enabled them to create cutting edge e-commerce functions using state of the art technologies and their own innovative programming techniques, building a client base of nationally recognised names.


Director Phil Morton said that winning the award would help Commcam to raise its profile within Somerset, as they have a range of national and international clients but not many in Somerset. “I’m fantastically pleased to win the Somerset Business Award. It means an awful lot to the company and I hope it will raise our profile in Somerset hugely.”


New to Somerset Award

The dynamism of the county is still managing to attract new investors despite the economic crisis, as more people recognise the outstanding opportunities for business development in Somerset thanks to its great location and excellent transport links, amongst other things. The New to Somerset Award, sponsored by Into Somerset, was presented to The Rusty Axe, a charming country pub and restaurant in Stembridge, Martock, which has already made its name as an active part of the local community and has seen its profitability increase thanks to a series of creative themed evenings. A modern but sensitive refurbishment and the owners’ commitment to using only locally sourced products are part of what makes this delightful pub such a worthy winner.


Proprietor Robert Banks was delighted to win the award, commenting, “Winning this award has been a marvellous accolade to the pub and to the staff who work with us. We hope this is going to improve the business no end, bringing more people into Stembridge to see where we are and what we do.”


Carbon Reduction Award

Environmental awareness continues to be a key theme for Somerset businesses, with Bridgwater based Gerber Juice Company, one of the UK’s largest producers and distributors of juice and juice drinks, claiming the Carbon Reduction Award, sponsored by Somerset County Council. The company has the lowest carbon footprint per litre of juice produced in the juice market, and has invested in a state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution facility that meets the highest environmental standards, lowering the company’s carbon footprint on every level. Food miles have been reduced by 260,000 per annum, saving 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.


Managing Director David Saint said, ““Winning this award is an acknowledgement of the work undertaken by each of our 700 employees in making our facility at Express Park so successful. Together we have turned the site into the most advanced juice manufacturing facility in Europe, if not the world, with a total reorganisation of the company's business within five years and at the same time achieving a low carbon footprint. We have, in fact, attracted new customers by adopting a low carbon strategy and Gerber Juice now leads the juice industry in this very important area. I would recommend that everyone takes similar action within their own business.”


Waste Minimisation Award

Shepton Mallet based Framptons Ltd, a family run food manufacturer and contract packer that has been in business since 1898, won the Waste Minimisation Award, sponsored by Somerset Waste Partnership. The company processes and packs more than one million litres of fruit juices, smoothies and milks for brand owners, as well as manufacturing 500,000 omelettes and around 120-150 tonnes of chilled and frozen liquid egg for the food service market. It successfully halved its carbon footprint in 2009 and in the past year has reduced water usage by 32%, plus it is nearing its target of sending zero waste to landfill by the end of 2010. In addition, Framptons Ltd has donated more than �5,000 from waste minimisation and recycling activities alone to local charities since 2008.


Managing Director Ian Harvey said, “It’s absolutely great to win the Waste Minimisation Award, especially for the wider team of Framptons, who have worked so hard to reduce our waste to landfill. This is the second time we’ve won an award here – last year was for sustainability generally. We’ve made significant progress again this year in the reduction of waste to landfill and we’re hopeful that we will achieve our target of zero waste to landfill by the end of this year.”


Best Exporter Award

Somerset boasts a significant number of thriving companies that trade internationally and competition for the Best Exporter Award, sponsored by UKTI, was tough. The title was awarded to Avalon Sciences Ltd, which makes 98% of its income from export business. Avalon Sciences Ltd researches, develops and manufactures oil exploration and production instrumentation, establishing itself as a world leader in this field and successfully exporting products to all continents of the world. The company has expanded its HQ in Somerton in the past year, doubling the number of staff employed, and provides global support and training from highly qualified field engineers who can fly to any customer at short notice.


President Gary Tubridy commented, “It’s fantastic for us because it will show our competitors that we have a real international presence, being winner of the Best Exporter Award. We hope that all the people in our company will enjoy this accolade and we look forward to coming back next year and maybe winning again.”


Service Excellence Award

The Service Excellence Award, sponsored by Ylem Ltd, was presented to Frome based company DUO, which sells non-standard size fashion boots. The business has achieved 800% net sales growth in six years thanks to its knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff and total commitment to service, with performance constantly evaluated to ensure the highest standards of service. DUO sends out around 800 pairs of boots every day, all over the world, yet still maintains a strong customer focus and a personal approach to every customer contact.


Managing Director Nick Sinfield commented, “It’s fantastic to win the award tonight. It means a lot to everyone back in the office and the customer service team in particular. We get 25% of our new business as a result of personal recommendation, from customers who use our stores or shop online, and that’s all down to the experience that our staff give them, throughout the company, from the warehouse right the way forward to the shop floor.”


Marketing and Promotion Award

The Marketing and Promotion Award, sponsored by Glyder Design & Print, was awarded to the venue for the evening, the Somerset County Cricket Club. A marketing campaign to increase ticket sales for Twenty20 games has delivered the greatest growth in Twenty20 revenue over the last two years of any of the first 18 First Class Cricket counties, with a 260% increase, driving the commercial side of the Club to new heights. It now has the fourth highest Twenty20 ticket revenue in England, with attendance growing 78% since 2009, attracting an additional 21,602 supporters in 2010.


Guy Wolfenden, Head of Sales and Marketing for Somerset County Cricket Club, said, “"This is fabulous recognition for Somerset Cricket Club, demonstrating that the success being achieved on the pitch is mirrored off the pitch! The Somerset Business Award for Marketing and Promotion is a great accolade for Somerset Cricket Club's "Danger" Campaign for Twenty20 Cricket. The concept, design and delivery were done in conjunction with BSH Partnership. Although limited in its budget, the campaign covered a large number of media avenues and allowed the club to feed back into the live action at The County Ground over the summer, creating the festival atmosphere we had all hoped it would."


Charity of the Year Award

In the current economic climate, it’s been a tough year for many charities but the entries received for the Charity of the Year Award, sponsored by Clarke Willmott, were both inspirational and uplifting. This year’s award was presented to Yeovil and Sherborne Samaritans, a well-deserving group of volunteers who devote their spare time to the assistance and support of those in society who suffer from emotional distress and suicidal thoughts. It receives no government funding and yet the Yeovil branch frequently answers more than 100 telephone calls a day, as well as responding to emails and meetings.


Jen Symonds from the charity explained why the award is so important to them. “The Samaritans really wants to reach out to people, companies and schools, and to everyone who is out there who doesn’t know about the Samaritans. We want them to know about us so that they can use us in the future and we can help more and more people.”


Sole Trader Self Employed Award

Businesses of all shapes and sizes were represented and acknowledged at the awards. The Sole Trader Self Employed Award, sponsored by Lentells, went to James Roberts from Glastonbury based Abel Willow, which makes sustainable products from willow and hazel. All of his products are sourced in Somerset and are environmentally friendly, made from sustainable materials using the most energy efficient production methods available – pure manpower! Set up in 2009, Abel Willow has recently started marketing a new product, “Green Classroom”, to local schools. This is fundamentally an outside room constructed mainly of willow which serves as an outdoor learning environment and leisure area.


James Roberts commented, “I am delighted to win at the Somerset Business Awards 2010. I will be focusing now on products such as my Green Classrooms, which are sustainable outdoor learning centres for young adults, and carry on growing the business, using this award as an accolade, helping me do well in 2011.”


Business of the Year (0-5 employees) Award

The Business of the Year (0-5 employees) Award, sponsored by the Federation of Small Businesses and the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, was presented to Kiddimoto, a family business based at the foot of Cheddar Gorge. Established in 2004, this environmentally conscious company manufactures high quality, innovative ride-on toys, which are designed to improve motor skills, teach balance and coordination, increase strength and develop confidence on two wheels from an early age. Net sales went from �70,000 to �235,000 in 2008 and with expanding overseas sales are expected to exceed �1.2million in 2011.


Managing Director Simon Booth said, “What a fantastic result, winning the Somerset Business Award! I’m so proud to be the winner – this is going to really help the business and is going to take us on to the next stage, so hopefully next year we’ll be back for the next award, for 5-50 employees!”


Business of the Year (5-50 employees) Award

The award for Business of the Year (5-50 employees), sponsored by Lloyds TSB, went to Wincanton based company Myakka. Started 11 years ago, the family-run company specialises in supplying affordable, desirable imported furniture, textiles and home accessories from India, with Fair Trade being fundamental to the ethos of Myakka and everything it does. It has increased overall sales revenue to April 2010 by 25.2% to �1.6million and is ahead of budget to exceed over �2million for this financial year.


Director Georgie Hopkins said, “It’s a very exiting evening for Myakka, we’re absolutely thrilled. It’s a great achievement not just for Simon and myself but for the whole team. We know it’s a hard fought category for the Business of the Year Award (5-50 employees) and we’re absolutely delighted.”


Business of the Year (50+ employees)

Finally, the award for Business of the Year (50+ employees), sponsored by Business Link, was presented to Property Consortium UK – also the recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The company is now one of the region’s leading businesses and is a major success story for Somerset, with a commitment to training, coaching and development that is second to none.


Chief Executive Jeremy Hyams said he was delighted about the recognition the company has received. “I am very proud to have won two awards – Entrepreneur of the Year and Business of the Year (50+). It is an incredible testimony to the staff and to the management team – it’s fantastic!”


The host for the evening was Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of The Lord's Taverners, the UK's leading youth cricket and disability sports charity and the official charity of recreational cricket. The Lord's Taverners is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee this year and has established a special relationship with the Somerset County Cricket Club. A raffle on the evening raised almost �3,000 for the charity, which gives disabled young people a ‘sporting chance’, helping them to develop in terms of self esteem, wellbeing, health and education.


A group of students from Bridgwater College had made a series of short films, which were used to support the awards on the evening, including 10 second films of all the nominees and 90 second films of the winners. Media Programme Manager Alan Hardcastle commented, “Making these films gives our students a great opportunity to network – many build freelance careers around this kind of activity. It also helps local business see what is possible within media, and that they can have access to professionals with the skills to help them promote their businesses. It is great when these students realise that what they do has a real bearing in the real world, and it gives them something to really strive for in their studies.”


The Somerset Business Awards are organised by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, in conjunction with a wide range of sponsors from the private and public sectors. The annual awards recognise and celebrate business success, giving them the perfect platform to raise awareness of their products or services and attract new clients. They have become one of the most important and popular fixtures on the county’s business calendar in recent years, with winners going on to do bigger and better things following the success of winning a Somerset Business Award.