Gala awards evening celebrates the best in Huntingdonshire business

PUBLISHED: 10:16 09 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:16 09 November 2016

Hunts Post Business Awards 2016

Hunts Post Business Awards 2016

Archant

It was night of celebration as hundreds of people gathered to recognise outstanding companies and inspiring entrepreneurs across Huntingdonshire.

Hunts Post Business Awards 2016 Hunts Post Business Awards 2016

Now in its 19th year, the awards ceremony took place at The Burgess Hall, St Ives, on Friday, and proved to be a memorable occasion.

There were 14 honours handed out - from apprentices to large companies - who are all leading the field in Huntingdonshire.

And as you’ll see from reading their stories, firms received accolades in a range of categories including retail, community achievement and innovation.

Hunts Post Business Awards 2016 Hunts Post Business Awards 2016

The Hunts Post content editor, Daniel Mansfield, said: “The dedication and passion of the business community here in Huntingdonshire never ceases to inspire us.”

The judges added that those who won represented the “best practice and excellence within their field”.

Along with glamorous winners the night was also given a Hollywood feel by performer Steve Lake who welcomed guests to the event with an array of classic songs as part of a lively reception.

Hunts Post Business Awards 2016 Hunts Post Business Awards 2016

Employer of the Year – sponsored by Luminus Group

A business that has embedded the ‘enjoyment of work’ philosophy into its mission, values and goals was the perfect contender – and that’s what EACS Ltd has done.

Mike Dearlove, managing director, said: “It feels great to have won the award. Everything we do is about the team.

“In our place everybody works for each other and it is a great environment – everybody enjoys coming to work.”

The judges felt that the IT solutions company, based in Huntingdon, was a worthy winner after demonstrating its commitment to staff through benefits and a “remarkable and well documented induction process”.

FINALISTS: 360 Group; TEAM Engineering; KDM Communications Ltd.

The Innovation Award – sponsored by Anglian Water

Reacting to a real need within the medical industry for professional wearable services to help reduce the burden of the four biggest killers worldwide helped one company to awards success.

Activinsights, based in Kimbolton, has been recognised for its innovative product – The Activinsights Band - that will provide “amazing benefits to people who can access technology to help prevent medical ailments”.

Managing director, Richard Thomas, said: “It was a great privilege to have won this award. This solution that we have developed comes from the UK producers and we are leading the world in what we are doing to help people’s health – it is fantastic to have been recognised.”

FINALISTS: Wellington Wise; Asckey Data Services Ltd; Cambridge Dynamics Ltd.

Retailer of the Year Award - sponsored by Barford + Co

After suffering a stroke earlier this year, the director behind Music Street Guitars and his team stood head and shoulders above other finalists for their hard work.

Based in Chequers Court, Huntingdon, the shop principally sells guitars and has expanded from a local to an international customer-base.

Upon winning the award, director, Tony Rawson, said: “We are the only music shop in the area and it is amazing that we have been recognised. I have relied on my team this year so this is for them.”

FINALISTS: Honeys Bridal and Events; Kiss Air Candles.

Business in the Community – sponsored by Get Set for Growth

For the fourth year in a row, those who teach the future company leaders, artists, counsellors and teachers were recognised for going above and beyond their roles as educators.

Huntingdonshire Regional College demonstrated, once again, how committed the whole of the team at the college, in Huntingdon, is to improving the district.

Sue Wright, director of employer services, said: “It is wonderful to have won again. We are so proud for the fact that our students work hard and this is about them and not us.”

The judges’ said that the team are “fired up with ideas and a ‘can-do’ attitude, backed up with commercial acumen and a desire to achieve excellence”. FINALISTS: The Marbrook Centre; B Inspired Publications Ltd; A1 Audio Visual.

New Business of the Year – sponsored by Ace Tech Training & Business Development

After overcoming obstacles in the first year of trading, it was an emotional win for the chief behind energy saving specialists DISC Solutions Europe Ltd. Managing director, Vince Fowles, said: “We have built a team of amazing people, every one of these guys go out and represent my company on an amazing level. I just can’t believe that we have won – it is absolutely overwhelming.” Based in St Neots, the firm has developed a strong presence in industrial, commercial and retail sectors providing electrical installation and energy saving services and has achieved an impressive turnover of £1million.

FINALISTS: Ibbidy Bobbidy Boo; Pink Petroleum; Riverport Press.

New Business of the Year – sponsored by Ace Tech Training & Business Development

After overcoming obstacles in the first year of trading, it was an emotional win for the chief behind energy saving specialists DISC Solutions Europe Ltd. Managing director, Vince Fowles, said: “We have built a team of amazing people, every one of these guys go out and represent my company on an amazing level. I just can’t believe that we have won – it is absolutely overwhelming.” Based in St Neots, the firm has developed a strong presence in industrial, commercial and retail sectors providing electrical installation and energy saving services and has achieved an impressive turnover of £1million.

FINALISTS: Ibbidy Bobbidy Boo; Pink Petroleum; Riverport Press.

Business of the Year – sponsored by Archant Ltd

After experiencing a successful year of award wins, which included the Queen’s Award for International Trade, it was only right that Kinesis triumphed as Business of the Year.

The St Neots company is currently achieving commercial success with around 90 distribution partnerships across the world and has a 90-strong workforce globally.

And it was its footprint as a global leader of medical and science consumables and equipment that won the judges over at The Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards.

Commercial director, Roy Testa, said: “It has been great to get the recognition this year but it comes down to hard work, team work and appreciating the team in a great working environment.”

The judges were impressed with the overall professional management, the implementation of processes and growth plans for the future.

Small Business of the Year - sponsored by Federation of Small Businesses

KDM Communications scooped the Small Business of the Year award.

This is the second time the firm has won this award, highlighting its work as a business-to-business agency specialising in science, technical, and medical marketing since 1984.

Annabel Sedgwick, managing director, said: “It feels even better than last time. We have an amazing team and are all really supportive of each other. I didn’t expect to win again and it’s really great.”

FINALISTS: Kevin Anthony Hair; Alex’s Café and Restaurant; Bright Business Advice; Forefront Fitness.

Business Development - sponsored by George Hay Chartered Accountants.

St Neots-based company, Kinesis, was crowned winner of this year’s Business Development award.

The firm was recognised for its work in supplying and servicing chromatography, liquid handling, sample storage, and medicinal chemistry equipment.

Jamie Gallifant, managing director, said: “We are really pleased. The people are fantastic, really positive and we are going from strength to strength.”

Mr Gallifant also took the chance to remember former Kinesis employee, Sharron Hopkins, who died suddenly last month.

FINALISTS: Wellington Wise; Emerson Patton Bright Business Advice; Jeffrey Mills Solicitors; Superior Surfaces.

Employee of the Year - sponsored by Archant Ltd

There was cause for celebration in 360 Group after its corporate account manager, Georgia McAhern, was named Employee of the Year.

Speaking after her win, she said: “I feel so happy about the whole thing and when I found out I had been put forward I felt really touched. I’ve been with the company for four and a half years and it’s going really far and they are helping to push me and grow.”

The firm, which recently moved offices in St Ives, serves businesses across the country, specialising in telecommunications packages such as business mobiles, landlines, and cloud technology.

FINALISTS: Neville Nania, of Xtreme Events; Sarah Emmons, from Clarence House Day Nursery.

Apprentice of the Year - sponsored by Le Mark Group

Cambridgeshire Constabulary also had the winning formula on the night after cooping the Apprentice of the Year award.

Taking home the accolade was the team’s communications assistant, Laura Wilson, who said she was “shocked” to have won.

She said: “I’m so happy, so shocked, and really grateful. I just put my all into the year. We all get on well and everyone is lovely and the team has really helped me to win it and have given me so many opportunities to develop.”

FINALISTS: Amalie Naismith, from Pink Recruitment; George Rae, from Ouse Creative Ltd; Tyler Bell, from BI Catering Equipment Services; Ben Evans, from

Local Buzz Marketing Ltd.

Training and Development Award - sponsored by Alconbury Enterprise Campus.

Le Mark Self Adhesive Ltd was named winner of this year’s Training and Development Award.

The Houghton-based firm specialises in providing an array of products such as heavy-duty gaffer tapes, printed labels, dance and TV floors, and protective equipment to the arts and entertainment industry.

Linda Gibbons, managing director, said after the win: “It’s fantastic and we really do enjoy bringing in young people and training them up.”

Neil Baldock, Le Mark director, said that the key to success was believing in staff, realising their potential and striving to “understand” them.

FINALISTS: Local Buzz Marketing.

Online Business of the Year - sponsored by Huntingdonshire District Council.

Taking home the Online Business of the Year award was estate agents Wellington Wise.

The company, which has served St Ives, Hitchin and Royston for more than a decade, has continued to expand and now boasts three offices in the county.

Tom Hookham, marketing manager, said: “I think [the secret to our success] is constantly innovating and trying to improve on what we already do. We have an amazing team and everyone contributes.”

FINALISTS: Local Buzz Marketing; B Inspired Publications Ltd.

Judges’ Award - sponsored by Huntingdonshire Chamber of Commerce.

Deserving special recognition from this year’s Judges’ Award was gym firm Forefront Fitness.

Operating out of Bluntisham and Willingham, the business prides itself on helping cancer patients stay fit during and after their treatment.

Marion Foreman, co-owner, said: “It’s amazing and a reward for all the hard work over the last two years. We started from nothing and built it up. We are open to everybody and I think [our success is down to] just being open and not being a traditional gym. We go into the community.”

Marion, who is an accredited trainer, health advisor, and weight management counsellor, runs the business alongside Steve Foreman, who is a qualified gym instructor.

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