Entries now open for Shropshire Chamber business awards

Shropshire Chamber of Commerce has officially launched its 2022 business awards – revealing a host of new categories to reflect the changing economic climate.

Steve Owen from Paveaways. Mark Bebb from Salop Leisure, chamber events manager Kelly Roberts and CEO Richard Sheehan
Steve Owen from Paveaways. Mark Bebb from Salop Leisure, chamber events manager Kelly Roberts and CEO Richard Sheehan

The chamber unveiled its plans for this year’s competition at a launch event held at Salop Leisure in Shrewsbury, in front of a big gathering of business leaders.

Alongside the business ‘Oscars’ night on June 10 at Telford’s International Centre, there will also be a conference and expo this year, held at the Mercure Telford Centre hotel on June 8.

The chamber said it was expecting the awards celebration to be its biggest and best ever.

Steve Owen from Paveaways. Mark Bebb from Salop Leisure, chamber events manager Kelly Roberts and CEO Richard Sheehan

Entries for the awards are now open, with a closing date in early April. All the details can be found on the new awards website, www.shropshirechamberbusinessawards.com.

This year’s business award categories are:

- COMPANY OF THE YEAR: The showpiece award for an all-round star performer, flying the flag for Shropshire business excellence.

- BEST NEW BUSINESS: For businesses in any sector, formed since January 2020.

- BEST SMALL BUSINESS: For businesses in any sector employing up to 10 full-time equivalent staff, demonstrating a high level of success.

- OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE: For companies which go the extra mile in looking after the needs of their clients.

- INTERNATIONAL TRADE: For companies with impressive export or import track records, and strong overseas links.

- COVID RESPONSE AWARD: For any business which has had to regroup, rebrand, relaunch or reposition itself as a result of the pandemic.

- MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING: For companies which ‘make things’ and are continuing our proud industrial heritage.

- WELLBEING IN THE WORKPLACE: For companies which recognise the importance of supporting both the physical and mental wellbeing of staff.

- INNOVATION: For companies who have spotted a gap in the market, and thought outside the box to fill it.

- SUSTAINABILITY: For environmentally aware businesses which promote innovative practices, processes or technology.

- YOUNG BUSINESS PERSON: Open to anyone aged 30 or below in January 2022, who demonstrates flair, commitment and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Chamber CEO Richard Sheehan outlines the plans for this year's event

Speaking at the launch event last week, Richard Sheehan, chief executive of the chamber, said: "We all know it has been a difficult situation over the last 18 months and it seems like forever since we were last here to celebrate the success stories of Shropshire businesses.

"We're aiming for something really special to celebrate business success. Don't underestimate the value of putting your business forward for an award and the effect it has on you as a business owner or manager as well as your staff."

Mark Bebb, MD from past winner and launch event host Salop Leisure

Previous business winners also spoke at the launch event. Mark Bebb, managing director of Salop Leisure, said: "I still remember collecting the award and it remains a highlight of my career. Undoubtedly, it makes you and your team really proud, and it helps you attract new people."

The reigning Company of the Year is Oswestry-based alarm maker Aico who won the award in 2020 as well as the Workplace Health & Wellbeing and Corporate Environmental Responsibility awards.

Matt Small from Aico chats to Carl Jones

Matt Small, commercial and finance director, said: "To win the award was fantastic and it really does lift the spirits of everybody involved.

"We've all got goals and objectives and awards like these help you achieve those.

"There's a lot of competition in the room but it would be lovely to keep at least one of those awards."

Launched in 2001, the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards have attracted audiences of up to 900 people for the black-tie celebration.

Mr Sheehan said there seemed to be a huge appetite for a return to the awards gala night for the first time since 2019. Judging by the huge level of advance ticket sales he said it was looking set to be a sell-out.

Shropshire Chamber’s team at the launch of the 2022 business awards

The shortlist for the awards will be announced on April 8 and judging will take place during the week commencing April 25.

More details about the conference and expo programme – as well as the celebrity guest speaker for the awards night – will be announced in the coming weeks.

Niamh Kelly from HR Dept, Jane Pritchard from Aico, Richard Hughes from Chrisbeon and Sarah Hooper from Thrive HR
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