Revealed: The winners of the Norfolk Business Awards 2018, hosted by Katherine Ryan

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Ciaran Nelson of Anglian Water who presented the Outstanding Achieveme

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Ciaran Nelson of Anglian Water who presented the Outstanding Achievement Award to Norwich Research Park. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photgraphy

The outstanding talent from Norfolk's deep and diverse business community was put firmly centre-stage at the county's premier awards ceremony.

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Matt Kelly, Archant chief content officer. Picture: Simon Finlay Photg

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Matt Kelly, Archant chief content officer. Picture: Simon Finlay Photgraphy. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photgraphy

The new-look Norfolk Business Awards organised by the Eastern Daily Press were presented at the Norfolk Showground Arena on Thursday evening, where King's Lynn-based JD Cooling Group was named the overall business of the year.

The 18-year-old company was chosen by judges of all the finalists in recognition of a period of sustained growth which has seen it expand to more than 100 staff, five UK offices and a turnover of £20m.

JD Cooling Group had been shortlisted in the Large Business of the Year category while its founder John Dye was a finalist for the Director of the Year though, in a sign of the awards' strength in depth, both were pipped to the titles.

The awards were hosted by comedian Katherine Ryan, who entertained guests before attention turned to handing out the trophies.

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photgraphy

In total, 13 awards were handed out to the cream of Norfolk's business community in front of 550 guests – the largest audience in nearly 30 years of the awards.

Norwich Research Park received the award for Outstanding Achievement, while double award-winners on the night included Norwich tech firm FXHome and Loddon plastics specialists Panel Graphic.

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Guests were welcomed by Matt Kelly, chief content officer of EDP publisher Archant, who explained that the theme of the 2018 awards was people – the workers and leaders who power the success of Norfolk's business scene.

'There are so many extraordinary success stories at this year's awards and all different in so many ways that it's almost impossible to draw any thread between them, except perhaps for two things,' he said.

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photgraphy

'First, they all, in one way or another, reflect the character of this wonderful county. And secondly, they are all the product of passionate, committed and expert people. Having great people in your business certainly doesn't guarantee success. But you can certainly guarantee failure if you don't.'

Winners ranging from funeral homes to financial planners, and tech firms to tourism venues, demonstrated how they had put people at the heart of their business.

Money was also raised by guests for the nominated charity for 2018, Norfolk cancer charity Big C.

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photgraphy

THE WINNERS

• Business of the Year

JD Cooling Group

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photgraphy

'It's opened my eyes to Norfolk's business strength' - Winner of Business of the Year shocked to take home title

• Outstanding Achievement

Norwich Research Park

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photgraphy

'A beacon of innovation excellence' – Norwich Research Park wins Outstanding Achievement award

• Breaking Boundaries

FXhome

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Norfolk Business Awards 2018. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photgraphy

The Norwich software firm selling into 160 countries around the globe

• Environment and Sustainability

Rosedale Funeral Home

Biodegradable coffins and plastic-free flowers - funeral home chain wins sustainability prize

• Knowledge Pioneer

Chadwicks

'Why do we do it this way?' – The question which drives Knowledge Pioneer winner Chadwicks

• Investing in Future Growth

Panel Graphic

Supercar contracts with Porsche and McLaren put plastics firm in the fast lane for growth

• Tech Innovator

Developing Experts

Online learning platform wins tech title ahead of global expansion

• Customer Care

FXhome

The Norwich tech firm looking after 3.2 million customers worldwide

• Small Business

Indigo Swan

Happiness first' approach pays off for Indigo Swan with Small Business award

• Large Business

Mills & Reeve

City powerhouse with a 21st-century approach wins Large Business title

• Skills of Tomorrow

Netmatters

Netmatters wins Skills of Tomorrow award for young developers programme

• Best Employer

The Maids Head Hotel

800 years of hospitality… and still leading the way

• Director of the Year

Steve Earl, Panel Graphic

Director of the Year pays tribute to 'superb team' at Panel Graphic

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