Two Highbridge companies were in the running to win accolades at the 2021 Somerset Business Awards, which were announced in the first virtual awards ceremony on Friday (March 26th) hosted by BBC Somerset presenter, Claire Carter.
A record number of businesses once again entered the awards and around 1,000 people logged-in to watch the ceremony live online.
The 2021 finalists came from all corners of the county. These were the 16th awards and it was the 11th time local South West-based chartered accountants, tax consultants and financial planners Albert Goodman was the main sponsor of the event.
Stephen Henagulph, Somerset Chamber Chief Executive, said: “I am extremely proud of our county’s businesses and it’s an honour to be able to celebrate the many individual achievements and the outstanding work done by our businesses in these difficult last 12 months.”
“Our winners and finalists come from all corners of the county and from a wide range of sectors and industries. Thank you to everyone who entered the awards and thank you to our judges and sponsors who continued to support us and enabled us to make these the biggest and best business awards in Somerset.”
2021 Somerset Business Awards winners:
- Albert Goodman Family Business of the Year (sponsored by Albert Goodman):
Winner – Musgrove Willows, Westonzoyland
The runners-up were: Bridges Electrical Engineers, Midsomer Norton and Clarity Cleans, Axbridge
The Albert Goodman Family Business of the Year Award recognises family-owned businesses across all sizes and sectors. The winning company must demonstrate how the family has had a significant influence on the business, with one or more family members involved in the management. It is also key for the business to be financially successful and show a clear vision for the long-term future of the business.
Ellen Musgrove, of Musgrove Willows, said: “I’m very proud of my children and while we were disappointed not to be shortlisted last year, this is amazing and I’m incredibly proud of them.”
- Best Use of Technology (sponsored by Porter Dodson):
Winner – Cardstream, Taunton
The runners-up were: Clerksroom, Taunton and WPA, Taunton
The Best Use of Technology Award recognises firms in the technology sector and beyond which are using the internet, cloud computing, robotics, apps or even AI to stand out in the market place.
Adam Sharpe, CEO of Cardstream, said: “We’re so happy to win. We’ve been working hard for a decade to simplify e-commerce and we’re over-the-moon to win – this award is dedicated to the whole team.”
- Small Business of the Year (sponsored by TDA):
Winner – Cognique, Shepton Mallet
The runners-up were: Petruth Paddocks, Cheddar and Harry’s Cider Company Ltd, Langport
The Business of the Year Awards look for the “wow factor” in companies, delivering the full package and more. The winning businesses demonstrate how they stand out from the crowd in areas such as ambition, profitability, growth, sound business planning, customer satisfaction and management of people. The small business category is for businesses with up to five staff.
Nigel Reece, of Cognique, said: “We’re really flattered to have won this award given we were up against some stiff competition. I’d like to thank the judges TDA and Somerset Chamber. This is Cognique’s first major award and it’s for the entire team.”
- Medium Business of the Year (sponsored by Brook Financial Management):
Winner – Filbert’s Fine Foods, Glastonbury
The runners-up were: Impact Design and Marketing, Taunton and Race At Your Pace Ltd, Taunton
The Business of the Year Awards look for the “wow factor” in companies, delivering the full package and more. The winning businesses demonstrate how they stand out from the crowd in areas such as ambition, profitability, growth, sound business planning, customer satisfaction and management of people. The medium business category is for businesses with between six and 25 staff.
Mark Taylor, Managing Director, of Filbert’s Fine Foods, said: “This is wonderful news at the end of what has been a very challenging 12 months. We have got it right with our branding, we’ve got he right products and we our exports are going through the roof at the moment. Congratulations to the other businesses who were nominated, as well.”
- Large Business of the Year (sponsored by PKF Francis Clark):
Winner – Marston Foods, Frome
The runners-up were: Somerset Larder, North Petherton and Singer Instruments, Roadwater
The Business of the Year Awards look for the “wow factor” in companies, delivering the full package and more. The winning businesses demonstrate how they stand out from the crowd in areas such as ambition, profitability, growth, sound business planning, customer satisfaction and management of people. The large business category is for businesses with more than 26 staff.
Sarah Green, of Marston Foods, said: “This is absolutely amazing! Thank you to Somerset Chamber of Commerce and PKF Francis Clark for a great end to a long week and a very long year! We’re optimistic for the year ahead – the market has changed, but we’ve been quick to adapt to those changes.”
- Charity of the Year (sponsored by Clarke Willmott):
Winner – Arc, Taunton
The runners-up were: Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Wellington and PROMISEworks, Baltonsborough
The Charity of the Year Award demonstrates not just how much money the charity raises or spends, but also how it makes a significant difference to those they work for, by fundraising and the contributions of volunteers.
Justin Roxburgh, Chief Executive of Arc, said: “We were finalists last year so to win this year is incredible. This is such an important award for us. This is amazing and a fantastic achievement by our amazing staff, board members and volunteers.”
- Employer of the Year (sponsored by Elite Staffing Solutions):
Winner – WPA, Taunton
The runners-up were: Singer Instruments, Roadwater and Poolbridge Accountancy Ltd, Highbridge
The Employer of the Year Award recognises organisations that have created a stimulating and supportive work environment and have a real commitment to the welfare of employees. This results in high staff satisfaction and a well-motivated, ambitious and integrated workforce.
Neil Davidson, Chief People Officer at WPA, said: “Congratulations to all the finalists and everyone involved in the awards. It’s fantastic to win Employer of Year!”
- Investing in Somerset (sponsored by Hinkley Point C):
Winner – Somerset Larder, North Petherton
The runners-up were: HOST Somerset, Bridgwater and The Bridge (Langport), Langport
The Investing in Somerset Award recognises companies who are passionate about supporting Somerset’s economy through local activity, demonstrated by their use of local employment, training, trading or regional supply chain.
Steve Braithwaite, of Somerset Larder, said: “We’re pleased to support the local supply chain and very proud of the whole team. It’s a great team effort and thank you for the award.”
- Start-up of the Year Award (sponsored by Teapot Creative):
Winner – Kinetic Kitchen, Compton Martin
The runners-up were: Accar Food Commit, Wincanton and Plantside Café, Wellington
The Start-up of the Year Award, new for 2021, honours businesses which were set-up and began trading from January 1, 2020. Judges were looking for clear, long-term business plans, evidence of a USP and details of what made the finalists stand out from the crowd.
Harry Noel-Smith, of Kinetic Kitchen, said: “We have a very good team here and our family, friends and the community have all been driving us forward to get up at 3am day in and day out to make doughnuts!”
- Outstanding Achievement (sponsored by Weston College):
Winner – Aspen Waite, Bridgwater
The runners-up were: David Hutchins Innovation Ltd, Somerton and OTHO, Weston-super-Mare
The Outstanding Achievement Award recognises an organisation or individual who has gone above and beyond for the benefit of others, outside the remit of their day-to-day job. Maybe they have exceeded a personal goal or made a significant contribution to their community. Achievements could include anything from fundraising, environmental initiatives to community work or CSR,
Paul Waite, of Aspen Waite, said: “As a proud man of Somerset we have never waivered in our support of Somerset. It’s great to hear people say we have made a difference in these difficult times.”
- Environmental Achievement (sponsored by Gravity)
Winner – James Tobias Ltd, Bridgwater
The runners-up were: C&D South West Ltd, Chard and Sopha, Highbridge
The Environment Achievement Award, new for 2021, recognises companies or individuals who can demonstrate a positive and long-term impact on the environment within their business, with evidence to show how they have improved environmental performance, implemented the efficient use of resources or supported sustainable development or environmentally-friendly schemes.
Phil Jones, of James Tobias, said: “It’s a huge honour to accept the award on behalf of everyone at James Tobias. We work as hard as we can to minimise impact on the environment.”
- Service Excellence (sponsored by CETSAT):
Winner – The Castle at Taunton
The runners-up were: Benchmark Project Management, Clevedon and Somerset Early Scans Ltd, Bridgwater
The Service Excellence Award recognises customer service which goes over and above normal industry expectations, with clear strategies for maintaining such high levels of service.
Ronan Hunter, General Manager of The Castle at Taunton, said: “We are very much surprised to win as all the finalists were worthy winners. Thank you to all the organisations and sponsors that made this possible. It’s been a challenging time for everyone at the moment so thank you.”
- Somerset Manufacturer and Producer Award (sponsored by Garador)
Winner – Marston Foods, Frome
The runners-up were: Filbert’s Fine Foods, Glastonbury and James Tobias Ltd, Bridgwater
The Somerset Manufacturer and Producer Award recognises innovative and agile manufacturers and producers from the county, with a commitment to proven research and development in practice, and a passion for continuous improvement.
Sarah Green, of Marston Foods, said: “We’ve put a lot of work in over the last 12 months and we’re over the moon to have won. We have got a lot of passion as a team.”
- Outstanding COVID-19 Response (sponsored by Clarks International):
Winner – Cake Box Bakery, Yeovil
The runners-up were: Petruth Paddocks Ltd, Cheddar and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Wellington
This one-off award recognises the outstanding response of a business either to diversify and survive the challenges posed by the pandemic, or which went above and beyond to support the UK’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Maybe a business produced PPE or made changes to existing products or services to help others on the frontline or to enable people to stay safe in the workplace. Alternatively, they may have launched a new initiative to protect jobs as a direct response to the pandemic.
Deborah Gingell, of Cake Box Bakery, said: “It’s amazing to win! We cannot thank our customers and all our hard-working staff enough for all the support they have given us over this past crazy year. We are all absolutely thrilled.”
More information about the awards is available at www.somersetbusinessawards.org.uk