Entrepreneurs and their firms from across the district are celebrated at the seventh annual Fenland Enterprise Business Awards

Fenland Enterprise Business Awards 2015All winners and finalists

Fenland Enterprise Business Awards 2015All winners and finalists - Credit: Archant

Chatteris firm Metalcraft Ltd had three reasons to celebrate at the seventh annual Fenland Enterprise Business Awards when they had a triple haul of trophies.

The 120-year-old firm collected awards for the medium business of the year, employer of the year and the overall business of the year at the prestigious gala presentation evening and March Braza Club.

Directors Martin Lawrence and Martin Johnson made three trips to the stage to collect their awards presented by representatives of the sponsors in each of the categories with the help of the evening’s host radio presenter Charles Dennett from KLFM.

The 150 strong audience heard how Metalcraft is a leading designer and manufacturer of pressure, vacuum and high integrity vessels, tanks and containers for the medical, energy and other safety critical business sectors.

The judges said of the company’s win as employer of the year: “This 120-year-old company recruits the majority of staff locally. Many of them become long term members of the team. The Company’s induction process and continuous training programme are both exemplary.


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“There is a comprehensive programme for both keeping employees up to date with how the business is doing and seeking their ideas and feedback. A worthy winner and a model employer.”

Metalcraft were also shortlisted in the green award but were scooped to the prize by Nestle Purina Petcare UK Ltd.

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The judges were impressed with the innovation and challenges to improve a 46-year-old standard process of a canning hydrostat, which significantly reduced energy and water consumption.

The impact on the community has resulted in reduced carbon emissions and has contributed to the Wisbech plant’s future prospects as a major employer. Special mention goes to Gary Coe for his pride and passion in driving this project.

There was double delight for husband and wife team Adam and Emma Sutton after they collected two awards for their company A D Sutton Motor Group Engineers Ltd.

The firm picked up the small business of the year and customer service awards.

A D Sutton Motor Group Engineers is an independent garage specialising in Volkswagens serving the needs of Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda owners across Fenland after impressing in what the judges described as a particularly strong small business category this year.

The judges said: “Founded in the teeth of a depression, A D Sutton Motor Group Engineers started with a firm goal of providing a high and consistent level of customer service and have achieved an impressive retention level of almost 100%. Growing year on year, the business services clients from the local area and also nationwide.

“Proactive in addressing changes and opportunities within their industry and the wider economy, the business has a clear and considered plan for the next five years which includes pursuing a niche market opportunity and buying their current business premises. A bright, dynamic business and worthy winner of the small business award 2015,”

There were two finalists vying for the apprentice of the year award: Lauren Kirby of the Holiday with Us Group and Tristan Mee from Worzals Restaurant who icked up the prize.

This category was introduced in 2011, by the awards’ main sponsor Fenland District Council in memory of Craig Bird from March, an apprentice at Metalcraft Ltd in Chatteris, who was killed in a car crash in 2010.

The audience heard: “With apprenticeships a key focus for many businesses, the originally titled young apprentice award has evolved to include applicants of all ages.

“To be considered for this category the applicants had to show how they have exceeded expectations, how the apprenticeship has shaped their career, personal life, confidence and self-esteem and any obstacles the person has had to over come.”

A delighted Sarah Davies from Top to Toe in Wisbech won the business person of the year award.

The judges said: “Sarah’s self-motivation, resourcefulness and vision have resulted in a family business growing from strength to strength. Following a move to high profile premises in Wisbech - even though she had no experience in the industry - Sarah implemented a business model that’s made ‘Top To Toe’ the successful salon it is today. Staff are well motivated and customers keep returning.” An equally delighted team from Greenvale AP collected their company’s award as food producer of the year pipping fellow finalists Skylark Cafe to take the title.

The judges said: “This leading UK potato supplier has built it’s success by understanding the market and delivering continuous quality products by developing strong relationships with growers. Investment in people and technology with an enthusiastic desire to smash environmental targets is highly commendable and sets the benchmark for this category.”

Black Cat Residential Property Ltd won the new business of the year award beating three other finalists to the title.

The judges said: “Wendy Ferguson and her team from Black Cat Residential displayed a near perfect way of how to start a business; passion for their industry, knowledge of their customer base and a determination to succeed. Wendy showed that in just 12 months she has been able to create a brand, employ local people and build a portfolio of clients that receive excellent customer service and confident management of their property transactions.”

The leisure and tourism award was won by The Light Cinema at Wisbech with the judges saying: “The Light Cinema is a first class winner of the leisure and tourism award having attracted over 150,000 visitors during its first year of operation. Visitors come from Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Peterborough as well as from across Fenland to see up-to-date films in a modern, spacious cinema and to enjoy old fashioned customer service.”

The final award for businesses was the judges award, which is presented to recognise an individual or company that has not won a category but that the judges felt needed special recognition.

This year’s winner was Nick Dowell of Cambridge Sign Company. Nick was a finalist in three categories and it was recognised by all the judges that he certainly has the entrepreneur spirit that all business owners should aspire to.

“ Cambridge Sign Company is going from strength to strength and this is all down to Nick’s determination and superb knowledge of this industry; he is definitely a rising star and ‘one to watch’ in the next few years.”

There was one other award presented and that was the Pride of Fenland Award. This category was sponsored by the Cambs Times and editor John Elworthy explained: “The Pride of Fenland Award recognises, each year, one of our four towns that has done most to promote enterprise and stand out from the others, it also looks into the way a particular town has sought to develop and grow, and that can be through a number of ways. It may be, for instance, the determination of its civic leaders to enhance and enrich their community.”

Local MP Steve Barclay, declaring no bias for any of the four towns, announced the winner was Wisbech before presenting the trophy to Wisbech mayor David Hodgson and his wife Judy.

The evening, which included a sumptuous three course meal and music by local musician Bondy, ended with the winners and finalists enjoying a disco.

There was also a raffle which netted £731.79 for March mayor Rob Skoulding’s ‘Have a Heart’ campaign to raise money to provide the town with life-saving defibrillators.

First prize - a wheelbarrow filled with bottles of wine worth more than £100 - was won by a member of the Greenvale AP table.

There were numerous other prizes, which had all been donated.

All the categories and their finalists:

Employer of the Year sponsored by the College of West Anglia:

Metalcraft (winner)

Top to Toe

Force One Ltd

Apprentice of the Year sponsored by Fenland District Council:

Lauren Kirby, from The Holiday With Us Group

Tristan Mee, from Worzals Restaurant (winner)

Green Award sponsored by the Wisbech Standard

Metalcraft

Nestle Purina Petcare UK Ltd (winner)

Greenvale AP

Business Person of the Year sponsored by Leeds Day Solicitors

Patrick Burke, Force One Ltd

Nick Dowell, The Cambridge Sign Company

Sarah Davies, Top To Toe (winner)

Emma Sutton, A D Sutton Motor Group Engineers Ltd

Food Producer of the Year sponsored by Local Generation

Greenvale AP (winner)

Skylark Café

New Business of the Year Award sponsored by Nwes

Bizzee Bee Flowers

Black Cat Residential Property Ltd (winner)

Bluebird Care Newmarket & Fenland

The Cambridge Sign Company

Small Business of the Year sponsored by FSB

The Cambridge Sign Company

Wings on Wheels

Barefoot Birth Pools

A D Sutton Motor Group Engineers Ltd (winner)

Medium Business of the Year sponsored by Archant

Force One Ltd

Bi Services

Bluebird Care Newmarket & Fenland

Metalcraft (winner)

Customer Service Award sponsored by Larkfleet Group

The Light Cinema

Daddy Cabs

Barefoot Birth Pools

A D Sutton Motor Group Engineers Ltd (winner)

Leisure and Tourism of the Year sponsored by Discover Cambridgeshire

Burwell Museum and Windmill

The Holiday with Us Group

The Light Cinema (winner)

Tydd St Giles Golf and Country Club

Pride of Fenland sponsored by Cambs Times

Chatteris

March

Whittlesey

Wisbech (winner)

Business of the Year

Metalcraft (winner)

Judges Award sponsored by Fenland Chamber of Commerce

The Cambridge Sign Company (winner)

The judging panel: Head judge Peter Watts from Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce; Gill Prangnell from Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce; Andrew Masters from FSB; Suzanne Willett from Nwes; Vicki Whittingstall of Fenland District Council; Graham Buck from BlueTree Specific Skills; Lee Dobinson, from Local Generation; Claire Clark, from Leeds Day Solicitors and Jane Howling from the College of West Anglia.

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