This year, the winners of the annual High Sheriff of Cheshire Enterprise Awards were announced online.

While the organisers were disappointed that the Awards Evening could not take place this year, they enjoyed hosting a different kind of ‘social’ occasion, with an online ceremony engaging with businesses.

The Awards are only made possible thanks to significant contributions from a broad team of sponsors and judges and the organisers are thankful for this support for regional business.

In a strong competitive field, two companies scooped the overall prize High Sheriff’s Award for Enterprise, Precision Facades in Ellesmere Port (through wall facades contractor specialising in lightweight steel framing, rainscreen cladding and render systems) and PM PROjEN in Warrington. Judges praised Precision Facades’ first-class business with visionary leadership and PM PROjEN’s (an engineering design, engineering consultancy and project management company) willingness to engage and their exciting projects. Both organisations win a place on the University of Chester’s MBA programme worth £11,000 each and the Business School looks forward to welcoming them.

Steve McGowan, Managing Director of Precision Facades said: “Wow, we really weren’t expecting this and we appreciate all our hard work to build a great company has been recognised. It means so much to myself and amazing staff we have. We will be back even stronger next year. Thanks to all at the High Sheriff’s Awards and University of Chester. Stay safe.”

Shane Pugh, Director of Business Development for PM PROjEN said: “We are delighted to win this prestigious Award, it is always thrilling when someone else recognises the qualities of your business. Whilst we operate across the entire UK, it is great to be recognised as a significant business within our own region. We are extremely proud of what we have achieved and some of the initiatives we are seeking to roll out across the business. During these uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a piece of very welcome news to help lift the spirits of all our hard-working people.”

The High Sheriff’s Award for Responsible Business Practice, sponsored by Warrington & Co, was deservedly won by Halton Haven Hospice. The judging panel was impressed with this passionate and delightful business with total commitment to individuals and families in their care.

Viv Cullerton, Chief Executive, said: “Winning this Award means a great deal to us. Our team is indeed completely patient and family focused. I have to say the kind words that accompanied the result are equally as appreciated and so very true.

“I do work with wonderful people and I am so fortunate to do so. I applaud their dedication and commitment to enabling specialist palliative care for the people of Halton. I have to say a special thank you to the fundraising team and within that team a young man named Kev. 

“Kev is a stalwart at the Hospice. Nothing is too much trouble and he is heavily invested in ensuring our patients and families have the opportunity enjoy the Hospice grounds, share special moments, explore. He is instrumental to our ethos of assisting patients to live with a terminal diagnosis.

“Sincere thanks to all involved in the High Sheriff’s Awards. You have made a small, yet beautifully formed, Hospice team very happy.”

Halton Haven Hospice will receive £2,000 in prize money.

Judges wanted to Highly Commend Opus, a digital hub based in Warrington, offering a Co working Space, meeting rooms and an integrated community of like-minded businesses, because of their fantastic ethos and use of their business skills to make a real difference in the community with their collaboration space.

For the Roberts Bakery Family Award of Excellence Award judges were looking for leaders of outstanding entrepreneurial families and the achievements of specific family businesses in Cheshire, Warrington and Halton. There was a high calibre of entrant in this category and the Award went to Laker-Vent Engineering Limited in Ellesmere Port who win £2,000 in prize money. Judges were highly impressed with this second-generation controlled family business who are mechanical engineering contractors and a shining example of a strong family business.

Michael Ventre, Joint Managing Director, said: “We at Laker-Vent Engineering are very proud to accept the High Sheriff’s Family Business of Excellence Award. We would like to thank all our employees for their dedication, hard work and commitment.”

Highly Commended in this category was Abbey England Limited in Knutsford, a market leading wholesale supplier of premium British made materials and tools to businesses in both the UK and abroad.

The Mornflake Oats Award for Innovation was won by Smart Document Solutions. SmartDS is a small band of dedicated developers, designers and innovators based in Cheshire, whose vision is to help companies to overcome the skills gap and be able to use new technology to innovate, increase safety and build better solutions. Judges praised their first-class, state of the art technology as an impressive company with great energy and a future in mixed reality training and visualisation.

Lynne Jones said: “We are delighted to be recognised for our innovation work. In this fast-changing world, focussing on innovation is more important than ever. The team continues to work on innovative solutions for today’s business challenges. Competitions like this really help us reach a wider market place, so thank you for the Award.”

SmartDS will receive £2,000 in prize money.

High Commended in this category was Initial Packaging Solutions based in Widnes.

The Micro Enterprise Awardsponsored by Boodles, was once again a popular category and was won by Warrington-based Real5 Networking, who will receive £2,000 in prize money. Judges praised their innovative way of networking with a unique CRM which manages commissions and charitable donations.

Andrew Hibbert, Director, said: “We were really pleased to have simply been selected as a finalist but to have won the Award for Micro Enterprise if the year is absolutely amazing. We’ve worked hard to get real5 Networking to where we are today so to be recognised by such a prestigious award for Cheshire businesses means so much to us all.

“We’re all experiencing difficult times at the moment so this good news was welcomed throughout the network. Our members have helped us to make the business a success and we look forward to supporting them through the next few months and eventually celebrating this win in style! A huge thank you to the judges, the sponsor Boodles and all involved with the HSA.”

The winner of the Best Apprentice Award, sponsored by Barlows Electrical, is Alexandra Nuttall.  Alexandra is a Level 4 Business Administration Apprentice at Hillyer McKeown in Chester and is an enthusiastic and inspiring ambassador, both for her organisation and for apprenticeships, advocating them as a truly viable route to career progression and success.

Alexandra said: “I am thrilled to have been chosen as the winner of this year’s High Sheriff’s Award for Enterprise in the Best Apprentice category. I am really supportive of the Awards and would like to thank the judges and everyone else who is involved in helping to run them. I would also like to thank Hillyer McKeown for their continued support and encouragement. Well done to all of the other winners and nominees!”

There was a strong message from the judges that all the finalists in this category were of a high standard and should all be commended on their entries and interviews.  The Judges therefore decided to split the prize money, with the winner receiving £500 and the six runners up also receiving £100 each.  The runners up are: Ellen Colgan (The Land Trust, Warrington), Izzy Hosking (Boutique Hotel Group, Cheshire), Lisa Karigambe (Cheshire West and Chester Council), Lucy Knight (Boutique Hotel Group, Cheshire), Jack Sherwood (The Today Team, Warrington), Toni Webster (Technoprint, Winsford).

The High Sheriff Design Award, sponsored by Donald Insall Associates, was won by Wild Rumpus, an arts and event company in Cheshire. Judges praised their creativity and design, particularly with the new roundhouse artist and event space designed by Tom Fenwick, their practical skills and commitment to using as many recycled materials as possible.

Sarah Bird and Rowan Cannon, Directors of Wild Rumpus, said “We’re so thrilled to have won the Design Award for our beautiful woodland roundhouse. The roundhouse was designed and constructed by one of our incredibly talented makers, Tom Fenwick. It’s where we host events, storytelling sessions, artist residencies, board meetings – you name it, it happens in the roundhouse. 

“Tom has put a lot of work into designing and rebuilding the structure after the original roof collapsed a few years ago. He’s used sustainably sourced and re-purposed materials to rebuild it in a way that will last for years to come. It’s wonderful that his talent and hard work has been recognised by the judges.”

Wild Rumpus wins a fantastic bespoke training course in 3D computer-aided design at Donald Insall Associates’ Chester studio.

The Cheshire Business Exporter of the Year, sponsored by Click Consult and West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, went to the TALL Group of Companies Ltd in Runcorn. Judges were impressed by their international trade success stories.

Lynton Buxton, Group Marketing Manager, said: ““TALL Security Print is delighted to have won this Award, particularly against the background of the current COVID-19 crisis. With millions of documents shipped worldwide, the name TALL is synonymous with quality and security. Even now, our customers rely on the output from Runcorn and this award recognises the continuing dedication of all the staff in satisfying those needs. Well done all concerned.”

They will receive a two-day strategic review of their organisation.

The Cheshire Business Leaders Award for the Outstanding Cheshire and Warrington Business Leader went to Professor Teresa Anderson, the Director of the University of Manchester‘s Discovery Centre at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Macclesfield. She receives a year’s membership of Cheshire Business Leaders. Philip Martin, a Director of Cheshire Business Leaders, said: “Teresa was instrumental in achieving UNESCO World Heritage status for Jodrell Bank Observatory. This prestigious accolade was the culmination of 10 years hard work and dedication. Today Jodrell Bank receives 160,000 annual visitors, including 26,000 children on educational science trips.

Teresa is an alumnus of the School of Physics and Astromony at the University of Manchester and has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Edinburgh. Shewill be a worthy Member of Cheshire Business Leaders and will be able to contribute significantly to the ethos of the organisation.”

Professor Teresa Anderson, Director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre said: “It was lovely to hear this news. Thank you for the honour. Jodrell Bank is an icon of UK science, and I’m really proud to have been able to make a contribution to the heritage and engagement with science that happens there.

“The grit, determination and creativity of Sir Bernard Lovell inspired me every day, and I think that at a time like this we can all do with a bit of that spirit. I will be toasting him and all our colleagues, past, present and future, in celebration. Thank you again.”

Mark Mitchell DL, High Sheriff of Cheshire, said: “It was an unusual end to the Awards this year announcing winners on social media!  Nevertheless, congratulations to all our finalists.

“Thank you to all involved in the Awards, especially the sponsors who make this possible with their generous contributions.”

Professor Phil Harris, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Awards, said: “The High Sheriff of Cheshire Enterprise Awards are now in their 14th year and have once again been a wonderful celebration of business. We have some exceptionally innovative businesses and people in our region that can get the best out of situations and make things work.”