Best of business honoured at glittering EDP awards
10:06 01 October 2011
Archant © 2011
The cream of the East Anglian business community gathered in Norwich last night for the annual EDP Business Awards. The winners ranged from well-known brands and established family businesses to entrepreneurs and new companies making their mark. EDP business editor SHAUN LOWTHORPE reports.
There was no mistaking the message: East Anglia remains a great place to do business.
About 300 leaders of the region’s business community gathered in Norwich last night to honour the entrepreneurs and enterprising companies that are winning new business, increasing profits and creating new jobs.
Despite the uncertainty that hangs over the economy, the EDP Business Awards was a showcase of the region’s enterprising spirit.
The premier award of the night – the Barclays Corporate Business of the Year – was won by Hughes Electrical. The Lowestoft-based retailer has managed to increase its revenues and profits – trading on a reputation for good customer service and defying the conventional wisdom about the state of the high street.
As Tim Seeley, of Barclays Corporate, explained to the audience at last night’s awards, Hughes is on course to have doubled its turnover since 2008.
Swaffham-based catering group Edwards & Blake and Anglia Maltings of Great Ryburgh, near Fakenham, were runners-up.
Bill Jordan, founder of Jordan’s Cereals, and who, with his wife Deb, has breathed new life into the Pensthorpe Nature Reserve in north Norfolk, was honoured for his outstanding contribution to the food and farming industry and sustainable tourism.
Mr Jordan was given the Denise Anderson Award by the EDP Business Awards’ main sponsor, Anglian Water.
Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s managing director, said: “The Denise Anderson award is all about recognising those who have shown a long-standing commitment to business in the east of England, and those who go about their day-to-day work in a way that embodies what we want our region to stand for.
“Very few people can lay claim to this in the same way as Bill Jordan. Over the years, he and his family have grown their hugely successful regional business to achieve the international recognition it enjoys today.
“We’re delighted to recognise Bill’s drive and passion for his business in our region and for his inspirational leadership in fields ranging from tourism and agriculture, to environmental protection and nature conservation.
“His achievements in each field are worthy of individual recognition, but taken collectively they make him an outstanding candidate for the Denise Anderson award.
“Awards like this showcase what is best about the people in our region. They also offer great inspiration for other businesses and individuals striving to be the very best in their field, and the very best in our region.
“That’s why we are so delighted to be associated with them.”
This year’s awards included new categories – a new Director of the Year award, won by Blair Ainslie of Gorleston-based Seajacks, and an E-Commerce award won by Andrew Kerry, founder of the retail firm Mattressman.
There was also recognition for one of the region’s traditional strengths through a new Food and Farming Excellence Award. The inaugural award was won by Anglia Maltings.
The awards span every business discipline: from development to customer care, concern for the environment and contribution to the community at large. The winners ranged from the tourism sector, Wroxham Barns, to heating engineers Heatrae Sadia, to consultancy Create and recycling firm V C Cooke.
But the awards also look beyond East Anglia’s borders, with Great Yarmouth-based engineering and marine firm E-Tech group winning the International Enterprise category for its performance in export markets.
Archant Anglia business editor Paul Hill opened the awards night at the Holiday Inn Norwich North with praise for all of the finalists and their spirit of “doing different”.
“What all of our finalists and winners have achieved is made all the more remarkable by the extraordinary times we live in.
“We have found some hidden gems – companies that are quietly going about their business, rarely shouting about the success they’ve achieved.
“But if ever there was a time to highlight and give due credit to firms that are doing well, it’s now.”
*For full coverage of the EDP Business Awards see next Wednesday’s business supplement
Business of the Year
Barclays Corporate -
Food and Farming Excellence Award
Sponsored by Anglia Farmers
Winner: Anglia Maltings
Customer Care ‘Plus’ Award
Sponsored by Aviva
Winner: Wroxham Barns
Community Impact Award
Sponsored by BITC/Norse
Winner: V C Cooke
Sponsored by Further
International Enterprise Award
Sponsored by Grant Thornton
Winner: E-Tech Group
Business Development Award
Sponsored by Howes Percival
Winner: Taxassist Accountants
Environment and Sustainability Award
Sponsored by May Gurney
Winner: Heatrae Sadia Heating
Best New Business
Sponsored by Norwich Business School
Winner: Create Consulting Engineers
Director of the Year
Sponsored by Banner
Winner: Blair Ainslie, Seajacks