Posted: 08.04.21 at 09:47 by Tim Lethaby
The winners of the 2021 Somerset Business Awards have been announced in the first virtual awards ceremony, hosted by BBC journalist and 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.
There was success for Shepton Mallet business Cognique, which won the Small Business of the Year category.
The 2021 finalists came from all corners of the county, including Cheddar, Langport, Shepton Mallet, West Pennard, Taunton, North Petherton, Roadwater, Frome, Highbridge, Wellington, Somerton, Baltonsborough, Westonzoyland, Midsomer Norton, Rooksbridge, Bridgwater, Yeovil, Compton Martin, Clevedon, Weston-super-Mare and Chard.
These were the 16th awards and it was the 11th time South West-based chartered accountants, tax consultants and financial planners Albert Goodman had been 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.”
Richard Bugler, managing partner at Albert Goodman, said: “It’s been a year like no other and many businesses have suffered considerable challenges over the last 12 months.
“It’s been remarkable to see how people have stepped up and coped with all the challenges that have been put in front of them.
“But there have also been opportunities for Somerset businesses and we have seen many taken advantage of new markets, pivot their business and also seek out new products and services.
"I would like to thank everyone who entered the competition, the judges and sponsors and Somerset Chamber for continuing to provide support for businesses in the county.”
The 2021 Somerset Business Awards winners are:
Winner – Musgrove Willows, Westonzoyland
The runners-up were: Bridges Electrical Engineers, Midsomer Norton, and Clarity Cleans, Rooksbridge
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.”
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.”
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.”
Winner – Filbert’s Fine Foods, West Pennard
The runners-up were: Impact Design and Marketing, Taunton, and Race At Your Pace Ltd, Taunton
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 our exports are going through the roof at the moment. Congratulations to the other businesses who were nominated, as well.”
Winner – Marston Foods, Frome
The runners-up were: Somerset Larder, North Petherton, and Singer Instruments, Roadwater
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Winner – Marston Foods, Frome
The runners-up were: Filbert’s Fine Foods, West Pennard, 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.”
Winner – Cake Box Bakery, Yeovil
The runners-up were: Petruth Paddocks Ltd, Cheddar, and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Wellington
This (hopefully) 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.”