The winners of the 2018 National Enterprise Network Awards were announced on Friday 16th November. Host Nick Pandolfi named winners in five categories at the Awards ceremony, part of the day-long National Enterprise Network Annual Conference, sponsored by Barclays and held at Barclays Head Office in Canary Wharf, London. Two organisations were also recognised with Highly Commended entries during the ceremony.
Enterprise support excellence recognised in unique awards programme
Established in 2007, the awards recognise excellence in the delivery of enterprise support, encouraging the exchange of good practice and the development of improved services and organisations. This year’s categories were: Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year, Enterprise Engagement Award, Unsung Hero of the Year Award and Enterprise Team of the Year Award. Outgoing NEN Chairman, Graham Marley also presented an additional Chairman’s Award, in recognition of the exceptional work of one of its members.
Once again, it was very clear from the high quality entries received by the NEN network of members that there are some truly fantastic enterprise related initiatives and committed professionals working incredibly hard across the whole of England. Selecting winners from the shortlist was a difficult task for judges Liz Smith, Head of Small Business – East, Barclays Business Banking, Peter Ibbetson, NEN Director and NEN Chairman Graham Marley.
The first winner to be announced was in the category of Enterprise Engagement of the Year, given to an organisation able to demonstrate truly effective excellence and creativity with client or stakeholder engagement. Colchester-based Colbea was announced as the winner in recognition of their “In the Market for Success” programme. The programme, launched with funding won through the RBS Skills and Opportunities Fund, has gone from strength to strength since launching, with over 83 new female-led businesses established. Colbea tackled head-on the issue of keeping the new businesses engaged using a range of creative, supportive and innovative tactics.
Hampshire based Associate Member Enterprise Exchange were highly commended in this category.
The Enterprise Team of the Year Award is given to a team that has achieved something exemplary, above and beyond the norm. This year’s award went to North-East based PNE Group. They were chosen as the winner of this category in recognition of their “Sustainable Start-up Awards” – a unique awards initiative for new and emerging businesses which contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Through intensive collaboration, the team at PNE Group have been able to demonstrate impressive impact, including regional and national PR coverage, and made a real difference to sustainable start-ups in the North East.
The Unsung Hero category asked members to nominate someone from their team whose contribution is crucial in meeting the needs of the business and its clients. Sonia Patel from Yorkshire-based Airedale Enterprise Services, was announced as the winner in this category. Sonia was described by her team as “an absolute star and great asset”. Since joining the organisation 5 years ago on a graduate programme, Sonia has made a huge impact and impression on everyone in the organisation. She has flourished and used her creativity and customer service skills to create a new role for herself as a Digital Marketing specialist, enabling Airedale Enterprise Services to offer this out as a new service to clients. It was clear that Sonia’s colleagues felt lucky and proud to have her as part of their team, and that she is an inspiration to those around her.
Rebekah Wickham from Doncaster-based Finance For Enterprise was Highly Commended in this category for her achievements.
The penultimate category of the programme – Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year Award – was split into two sub categories to reflect differing turnover. This category sought to recognise organisations with enterprise support at their very hearts. In the under £750k turnover sub category, the Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year was awarded to Airedale Enterprise Services. Within their local area, Airedale Enterprise Service has a strong and trusted reputation. During its 35 year history, the organisation has shown a great deal of adaptability and diversification in order to keep offering enterprise support services to start-ups for free. The team works hard to offer an ever-evolving selection of business clubs, networking meetings, presentations and topical events for the local businesses within their region. The judges felt that this is an organisation which provides outstanding enterprise support services to a community in which it is firmly embedded.
In the over £750k turnover sub category, the Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year went to Suffolk-based MENTA. Taking a strong entrepreneurial approach to all of its services, MENTA provides its clients, communities and stakeholders with an outstanding service. Strong partnerships, a good mix of income streams, and a number of third party income sources and contracts enable MENTA to keep sustainability at the heart of its business model, delivering a strong and positive impact on its local community.
The ceremony concluded with a final award in recognition of an Outstanding Contribution. Graham Marley, National Enterprise Network’s 2016-2018 Chairman, presented this award in recognition of the exceptional work of an individual – Jenn Crowther, CEO of Scarborough-based Yorkshire in Business. Since taking over as CEO in 2016, Jenn has made a significant impact both on the organisation and the local area. Personal experience has given Jenn a life-long drive for enterprise support, meaning that she knows exactly what small businesses need. She works tirelessly with local businesses and unites the community – all of whom benefit from her infectious passion and commitment. Following on from the success of Totally Locally Scarborough campaign, a new business initiative – Love Local – was launched earlier this year; gaining excellent PR on TV, radio and press. It also led to Scarborough being recognised in a category of the Great British High Street Awards. The award came at the end of an exceptional week for Jenn, as on Thursday 15th November she was announced as the overall winner of High Street Hero category in the Great British High Street Awards.
Each award winner was presented with an engraved trophy, with highly commended organisations given framed certificates to recognise their contribution.