Excellence in Business Awards 2016: Celebrating Shropshire's best in business
Driver training company TTC Group scooped the top prize as the Shropshire Star Excellence In Business Awards returned for a third year of glamour and celebration.
The company, based in Hadley Park in Telford, lifted the Business of the Year Award at last night's ceremony, surrounded by historic planes in the spectacular setting of RAF Cosford.
The ceremony saw more than 300 members of the local business community come together on a sun-kissed evening in the county, to celebrate all that is great about the Shropshire economy.
In total 29 finalists were shortlisted for the nine awards on offer, including five businesses which were battling for two categories.
Despite that, no company took home more than one award, demonstrating the strength of the overall field, and the variety and range of capabilities in the Shropshire business community.
Telford-based TTC Group became the third to lift the Business of the Year award, following in the footsteps of Telford manufacturer Proto Labs in 2014, and Newtown-based Quartix, which took home the top award last year.
Young Business Of The Year
Sponsor: University of Wolverhampton
Winner: R&D Tax Claims, Shrewsbury
Best Place To Work
Sponsor: Star Employment Services
Winner: Dyke Yaxley Chartered
Excellence In Learning And Skills
Sponsor: Telford College of Arts and
Winner: Fabweld Steel Products, Madeley
Farming Business Of The Year
Sponsor: Higgs and Sons
Winner: Select Livestock, Pulverbatch
Sponsor: Rybrook BMW Shrewsbury
Winner: FBC Manby Bowdler, Telford
Growth And Innovation
Sponsor: Proto Labs
Winner: Bronze Software Labs, Telford
Micro Business Of The Year
Sponsor: the Shropshire Star
Small To Medium Sized Business Of The Year
Sponsor: Greenhous Group
Winner: Marches Care, Shrewsbury
Business Of The Year
Sponsor: Enterprise Flex-E-Rent
It overcame a strong challenge for the top prize from Shrewsbury-based Salop Design & Engineering, and another Telford company – the computer specialist Rockford IT.
The award was handed over by sponsor Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, to complete a night of celebration for businesses from a variety of market sectors.
Shropshire Star editor Martin Wright, who attended the event at RAF Cosford, said: "The Excellence In Business Awards have really come of age since the 2014 ceremony was launched.
"They have become a firmly-established part of the business calendar, and the evidence for that lies in the quality of entries we are receiving.
"TTC Group is firmly-established as the market leader for driver training – it has had a tremendous effect on road safety in Britain, and it is terrific that we have been able to recognise it as a true Shropshire success story.
"It was up against some very strong businesses in Rockford and Salop Design, and all three can be very proud of their place on the podium.
"But TTC is a worthy winner of the Business of the Year award, and joins Quartix and Proto Labs in what is becoming a prestigious and impressive winners' gallery."
Eric Smith of BBC Radio Shropshire was the compere for the night's festivities, and began his speech with a dedication to the Queen, who celebrated her 90th birthday on the same day as the awards.
He also paid tribute to the sponsors of the ceremony, including drinks reception sponsor the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, the wine sponsor DB Roberts, and Yarrington, which runs the event.
Mr Smith then introduced the work of the Shropshire Star-backed Ladder for Shropshire apprenticeships campaign. Next week the Shropshire Ladder team will be part of a delegation heading to St James's Palace for an event hosted by the Duke of York, who has supported the campaign throughout, and this was highlighted at the awards night.
The first award to be handed out was for the Young Business of the Year, sponsored by the University of Wolverhampton, which went to R and D Tax Claims in Shrewsbury, while the Best Place to Work Award, sponsored by Star Employment Services, went to Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants, which is also based in the county town.
The Excellence In Learning and Skills Award, sponsored by TCAT, saw manufacturer Fabweld, from Madeley, take home the honours.
In the new Farming Business of the Year category, sponsored by Higgs & Sons, Pulverbatch-based Select Livestock took the honours, and its position in the final had been recorded in a parliamentary debate after Shrewsbury MP used a session on farming in the Westminster Hall to wish the company good luck.
"I am delighted that tomorrow I will be attending the business awards at RAF Cosford to support my friend, Daniel Morris, a cattle farmer, in the farming section," Mr Kawczynski said, referring to one of the owners of Select.
The Customer Champion category, sponsored by Rybrook BMW Shrewsbury, was taken by law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, which has offices in Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury and Telford.
Priorslee-based software company Bronze Software Labs walked away with the Growth and Innovation Award, sponsored by Proto Labs, having continued its innovative output since being named a winner at the first EIBA ceremony in 2014.
Another new category, Micro Business of the Year, sponsored by the Shropshire Star,was handed to Annscroft-based Pipekit, while sponsors from Greenhous Group handed the Small to Medium Sized Business of the Year Award to Marches Care.
TTC was the last business to head on-stage, as the Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, rounded off proceedings.
Mr Wright said: "We must offer our most sincere congratulations to all our winners. The field was very competitive, and the judging thorough, so to come away with one of these awards is no mean feat.
"It has been another fantastic night in the striking surroundings of RAF Cosford. There was a real party atmosphere among our guests, and the celebrations reached a crescendo as the awards began."
Guests at the event were also asked to help raise money for the chosen charity, Hope House.
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