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Best Shropshire businesses celebrate excellence

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

The cream of Shropshire business was hailed at a grand awards ceremony in the county.

The first ever Shropshire Star Excellence in Business Awards proved to be a night of spectacular celebration of all that's great about Shropshire's economy.

From cutting-edge manufacturers to care homes for the elderly, Thursday night's awards demonstrated the strength and breadth of the local business community.

Telford-based prototyping business Proto Labs emerged as the big winner on the night, scooping two categories, including the coveted blue riband Business of the Year category.

That recognised the rapid growth of Europe's biggest mould maker at its impressive factory on Telford's Halesfield Industrial Estate, where it has made more than 10,000 tools to send products to 27 countries around the world.

Proto Labs also landed the Excellence in Manufacturing Award, sponsored by Lloyds Bank, as it came away from the ceremony with high praise from the awards' judges ringing in its ears.

In the Business of the Year category, it edged out housebuilder Saxonby, electronics business Digiland, and Ra'alloy Ramps in Stafford Park in Telford, which is the only company of its type in the world, making boarding ramps for aeroplanes.

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But Ra'ally did not go home empty handed, as it landed the Excellence In Innovation Award, sponsored by Elite Precast Concrete, in recognition of its development of a bold, new, market-leading product.

Elsewhere, The Pontoon and Dock Company came away with the top prize in the Small Business of the Year category, sponsored by DB Roberts.

The Young Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Greenhous, was won by growing Priorslee-based software development company Bronze Software Labs.

Shrewsbury chartered accountants firmWhittinghamRiddell was the winner in the Excellence in Learning and Skills category, sponsored by Telford College of Arts and Technology, which was also a winner on the night, in the Customer Champion Category, sponsored by Precision Colour Printing.

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The evening was compered by television presenter Joanne Malin.

And fittingly for an event held at RAF Museum – Cosford, it also heard from the manager of the famous formation flying team the Red Arrows.

Squadron Leader Ruth Shackleton was the guest speaker, tellingthe 300-strong audience about her experiences with the team.

Speaking shortly after collecting their gongs onstage at the event, the winners told the Shropshire Star that they were delighted with their awards.

John Tumelty, managing director of Proto Labs, said: "We are delighted. This was the ultimate prize on offer on the night.

"For all the staff that work all the hours god sends to deliver parts to cusomers as fast as possible – this is for them."

He added: "They have turned a manufacturing company into a world leading manufacturing company."

Richard Howells of Bronze Labs –who arrived at the event sporting one of the first-ever Google Glass delivered to the UK –said his award win was "great".

"We have assembled a hell of a team here and are doing some fantastic things," he added.

"It's fantastic. We've trebled the size of our team in the last 14 months, and we are now getting global recognition."

Shropshire Star editor Martin Wright hailed the inaugural event as a huge success.

He said: "We've been anticipating the Excellence in Business Awards for some time, and tonight's event really lived up to expectations.

"Each of the winners, but also every single one of the finalists, can be immensely proud of their achievements in coming this far, and I know the judges were impressed with the quality on show in every single category.

"Throughout the whole process of establishing, shortlisting and judging the awards we have all been thrilled by the response of the local business community.

"Last night demonstrated once again that there is a real appetite for celebration of all that's great about Shropshire and Mid Wales business, and there was a really positive feeling in the room that this is a county on the up."

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