Jane Youngman, business director of Sicon, gives a judge’s view of the first Bury Free Press Business Awards 2012.
When we saw the article in the Bury Free Press announcing the Business Awards, we immediately knew we wanted Sicon to be involved, not only for the exposure this would give our company locally but that for the first time there was going to be local awards.
Within 24 hours we were signed up, and after a few phone calls and a couple of meetings with the Bury Free Press we had chosen the category to sponsor: Business Person of the Year.
We were asked what our judging criteria was. This was simple: The person who has made a significant personal contribution to drive their business forward in the past 12 months.
From the start of the process through to making our final decision, it was an enjoyable experience. We met three very nice people, shortlisted from a number of nominations, who were all very professional and were all worthy candidates.
The applications arrived Vicky Stonell (Sicon’s finance manager) and myself settled down with a cup of tea and read through all of them in detail. We deliberated until we agreed on the final three to visit at their work place.
We called up the lucky three, made appointments for a few days later and within four working days we had visited them all, and now the hard work really began we had to make a decision. They were all from very different industries, none like the other, which made us think really hard about the criteria we had set and who we felt deserved to become ‘Business Person of the Year’.
When speaking with our candidates they all said: “We were not sure whether to submit a nomination as there would be lots of entries”.
Hopefully anyone reading this will remember this for next year and have the confidence to either nominate someone who they believe worthy or indeed put themselves forward. It has been a great experience, and we look forward to the awards ceremony on September 21, and in many ways it was a shame we had to choose between them but there would only be one winner.
We are already looking forward to next years!
As part of the inaugural Bury Free Press Business Awards, we are sponsoring the Independent Retailer of the Year Award, which looks to reward the shop which makes this part of West Suffolk special.
And to make the award relevant to the shoppers in West Suffolk, it’s down to you to vote for the winner. We have 16 nominations for the award – all you have to do is to follow the voting instructions below – you can text us your vote or download the coupon and send that to Bury Free Press Independent Retailer Award, Kings Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 3ET. Text voting closes on August 24th and forms must reach us by August 17.
The winning business and the runners up will be announced at the awards ceremony on Friday, September 21. All shortlisted candidates will be invited to the glitzy evening, which will be a black tie event at The Apex hosted by television celebrity Paul Ross.
The 16 retailers nominated for the award are:
1001 Auntie Pam’s Sweet Shop
1002 Beautiful Beers
1003 Bliss Cards
1005 Buy the Light
1008 Croasdales Chemist
1009 Curry’s Service Centre
1010 Denny Bros Supplies
1013 Raspberry Rascals
1015 The Coffee House
1016 The Stamp Hut
How to vote by text..
Vote for your Bury Free Press Retailer of the Year as many times as you wish, simply start your text with the word BUR BIZ followed by a space and the number of the business you are voting for. Send to 61500 Example: “BUR BIZ 1011”
Text messages cost £1.50 in addition to the standard network charge and should contain no more than 160 characters. Text entries must be received by midnight on Friday, August 24. Please note if you should enter after the stated closing date/time your vote will not be valid but you may still be charged.
Alternatively you can download a pdf of the voting coupon, print it off and post your vote following the instructions on the coupon.
There's been a fantastic response to the Bury Free Press Business Awards, with nominations flooding in before the closing date on Wednesday.
All 11 categories have been supported and now it is up to our judges to choose who will be winners on the night of the awards on Friday, September 21. The awards will recognise innovation, training, customer care and how business is meeting the challenges posed in today’s market.
All shortlisted candidates are invited to the evening, which will be a black tie event hosted by television celebrity Paul Ross. Judges will be visiting the three shortlisted candidates and a short video will be made about each which will be shown at the awards dinner.
Kim Harris, Anglia Newspaper’s events coordinator, said: “There has been a tremendous response. It’s been brilliant and the businesses which have been nominated are over the moon that they have been selected.”
Tickets for the glitzey awards night at The Apex will be available later this month and cost £55 to include a drinks reception and dinner.
Categories are Business of the Year, judged by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Business Person of the Year, judged by Sicon, People Development, judged by WS Training, Contribution to the Community, judged by New Media Business Group, Employee of the Year, judged by the Bury Free Press, Bid4Bury - Customer Care, judged by Bid4Bury, Business Innovation, judged by Denny Bros, Independent retailer to be chosen by readers’ text vote, Best new Start Up, judged by Menta, Green / Environmental award, judged by West Suffolk College and the Award for International Trade, judged by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
There has been a good response to the Bury Free Press Business Awards with nominations flocking in as companies look to be named the best of the best.
This is the first awards we have run and there is a range of categories which will recognise all that is great about business in West Suffolk. We are looking for the business person of the year, the business which contributes most to the community and the best new business among others.
Nominations close on Wednesday, so we are hoping for a final flurry of nominations before judging begins and winners are selected for the glitzy awards ceremony at The Apex in Bury on Friday September 21.
Mark Stanford, events manager at Anglia Newspapers, said: “We are really pleased bearing in mind this is our first ever business awards – things are starting to take shape.
We are very happy with the variety of the nominations we have received from small retailers to big players in the community, people seem to be getting behind it which is great.
“These are trying economic times and these awards are good for companies, helping them to raise their profile and giving them the opportunity for some well-deserved recognition in the community.”
We are hoping for more nominations for some of the 11 categories, particularly the award for Business Innovation, sponsored by the Denny Bros Group, International Trade sponsored by St Edmundsbury Borough Council and People Development sponsored byWS Training.
There is also still time to nominate the company which has done the most environmentally in The Green/Environmental award and one which has made the best contribution to the community. All categories are still open, so send in those forms.
The categories are:
Business of The Year
Business Person of the Year
Contribution to the Community
Best new Start Up
Employee of the Year,
Bid4Bury Customer Care
A firm can only ever be as good as the people it has working for it - but a good employee can make a huge difference to the success of a business.
The first Bury Free Press Business Awards takes place at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on September 21. And one of the key awards will be for employee of the year.
The award will go to an individual who has gone the extra mile in their work and exceeded the expectations of their employers.
Judges will be looking for that one person who has shown outstanding commitment and dedication which has, in turn, brought sustained benefits to their company.
The Bury Free Press is proud to be sponsoring the employee of the year category.
Barry Peters, editor of the Bury Free Press, said: “A good company is built on the shoulders of its employees who help create its reputation for delivering, who take pride in sharing in its success and who will do all they can to make sure the firm exceeds the expectations of its customers.
“It may be you feel the award should recognise the outstanding contribution of one of your own staff.
“Alternatively, you may be a customer who has had regular dealings with one exceptional employee at a firm.
“Either way make sure they don’t miss out on the chance of being recognised for their brilliance.”
The deadlines for nominations is fast approaching, so get your entries in now. We are also taking further nominations across our other categories. Meanwhile, those who have been nominated are asked to fill in their forms and get them back to us by August 1 otherwise you will not be
included in the final judging.
Every year, thousands of visitors flock to Bury St Edmunds to enjoy its heritage, the Abbey Gardens, and the town’s rich mix of shops. It has been a recipe for the town’s success, the cornerstone of which has been its large number of independent shops.
It is something that Bury has been famed for, something it has prided itself on, and something that Bury Free Press readers will be able to show their appreciation for next month. According to a survey, 67 percent of Bury’s town centre shops, are independents.
The first Bury Free Press Business Awards takes place at The Apex on September 21 and as part of our awards we are asking you to nominate your independent retailer of the year.
We will then launch a text vote early next month allowing BFP readers to have their say over who should be crowned as our winner.
“There are so many great independent shops, it will be difficult to pick a winner.
“Thankfully that job is down to our readers,” said BFP events manager Mark Stanford, who is organising the awards.
And there is still a chance to nominate in some of our other categories as well. There is the Green/Environmental Award for organisations that have looked to tackle their carbon footprint, and the People Development Award for companies that have shown a real commitment to training and retention of its staff.
There is also the Contribution to the Community Award, and Employee of the Year award for a member of staff who has gone the extra mile. The Business Innovation Award will celebrate new ideas or products that have determined a company’ s success, while the International Trade Award will go to a firm that has shown growth success through its exports.
Green credentials are fast becoming the hallmark of good business management. It is a skill which will be recognised in the first Bury Free Press Business Awards.
Eleven awards will be presented at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, on September 21, and the deadline for nominations is August 1.
West Suffolk College is sponsoring the Green/Environment Award and bosses are looking for a wide range of nominations from large employers to small businesses.
They have a range of criteria to judge the award including the concrete changes a company has made in areas such as energy use, transport and waste disposal.
“We want to see evidence that the company’ s leadership embraces green practices and how the business has introduced and nurtured a culture of sustainable practices,” said college vice- principal Martyn Wagner.
How the greener practices impact on the wider community will also be considered.
The college has demonstrated a strong commitment to green issues as part of its redevelopment of the Out Risbygate site but also within the newly launched Milburn Energy Centre, which focuses on courses that promote sustainable practices.
Other award categories include People Development, to be given to the company that demonstrates a real commitment to the training and development of its staff. Judges will look for training policies and initiatives as well as recruitment procedures.
The Business Innovation accolade celebrates the new ideas, processes, products, services, technologies and applications that have the greatest impact on business’s success. Evidence will be required of how innovation has been developed and applied to improve its commercial performance, operational effectiveness or increased customer engagement.
The Contribution to the Community award will be presented to the company or business that has made a significant contribution to the community in which it operates and demonstrates a real commitment to corporate social responsibility.
The award for International Trade is for companies that are successful in exporting and commited to continued growth in their international business. Entrants will show expertise in planning and managing an export strategy such as managing currency fluctuations, credit control and international marketing.
International trade and new business start ups are the driving force behind economic growth and prosperity. They are a measure of the financial health of the nation and their worth will be recognised at the first Bury Free Press Business Awards. The accolades will be presented at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, on September 21 – but nominations for the 11 categories are open now with the August 1 deadline fast approaching.
Menta, Suffolk's enterprise agency, is sponsoring the Best New Start-Up category. Chief executive Alex Till noted that small businesses are the country's ‘real economic powerhouse'.
He said: “Entrepreneurial businesses in particular are flourishing in the face of the changing business world and it is extremely important that these changes are recognised.
“We want to break down the barriers for new and start up businesses and we are committed to providing business expertise to help start, develop and grow businesses across the region.”
Judges for the award will be looking for evidence of how well the candidate understands its competitors, customers, and the markets they operate in, and the foundations it is putting in place for commercial success. In addition, judges will consider the business concept and plan, will look at how targets have been achieved, and take in to account the vision for growing the business in terms of turnover, employment and expansion.
Since its foundation in 1984, Mentahas servedas the impartial support and entrepreneurial anchor for new, emerging and existing businesses across Suffolk – averaging nearly 500 one to one business advice sessions per year and offering training and assistance to more than 10,000 start-up enterprises.
Meanwhile, St Edmundsbury Borough Council is backing the Award for International Trade. Cllr John Griffiths, leader of the authority, said: “The market place is global, and businesses based in Bury can be involved in supply chains that span the world. The borough has an illustrious history of trade and its proximity to the biggest container port in the UK and to Stansted airport continue to serve local enterprise.”
Entrants will show expertise in planning and managing an export strategy including managing currency fluctuations, credit control, international marketing and the successful development and expansion of their overseas operations. Companies will be prioritising international activities within their overall company strategy and will be managing their overseas business proactively and professionally.
Meanwhile, chartered accountants Lovewell Blake, which has branches in Bury St Edmunds and Thetford, is sponsoring the award ceremony's table decorations.
They are two of the key ingredients to any good business: innovation and customer care. And the first Bury Free Press business awards will recognise the best of both.
The awards will take place at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on September 21 – but nominations for the 11 categories are open now with a deadline of August 1.
Town centre business group Bid4Bury has sponsored the customer care award – which is open to Bid4Bury members only. Its chief executive Mark Cordell said the award would recognise one outstanding individual.
“With the advent of internet shopping, the importance of excellent customer service cannot be under-estimated if businesses within the high street are to survive and prosper,” he said.
“Personal interaction between the customer and the member of staff is still the main advantage that Bid4Bury businesses offer to their customers and this needs to be created into a major advantage.
“I know there are a large number of highly motivated people working in our businesses who provide high quality customer service and it's these people we want to be nominated for this prestigious award.”
It was business innovation that led to Denny Bros in Bury to create Fix-A-Form leaflets and labels 35-years ago. It has since gone on to enjoy worldwide success and awards including the British Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.
Now it is sponsoring our business innovation category. Andrew Denny, managing director of Fix A-Form International, said: “Business innovation is extremely important to the UK. The UK is an ideas economy and it is only through new products and new ways of working that we can compete with low cost imports.
“There is a lot more to business innovation than just having one big idea, it should be part of the company' s DNA.
“And a good idea does not make a successful business without the other parts of the business – like sales and marketing, production and customer service – also being strong. We will be looking for the company which we think is the most likely to turn intrinsic innovation into commercial success.
“Innovation has played an important part in the success of the Denny Bros Group, which is why we are delighted to sponsor this award.”
Business is at the very centre of the success of Bury St Edmunds. Now the Bury Free Press is putting business in the spotlight with the inaugural Bury Free Press Business Awards. Our awards will celebrate the very best in West Suffolk business and showcase the skills and entrepreneurs we have here.
Today, we continue our profile on each of the 11 categories and give you another chance to nominate businesses and individuals for those awards. Anyone can nominate using the form on this page – you can nominate someone or a business who has performed well, you can nominate someone you work alongside or you can nominate yourself or your own business.
Once we have all the nominations in – closing date is August 1 – judges will get to work to determine three finalists in each category who will be invited to the awards ceremony at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, on Friday, September 21.
This week's featured categories are People Development and Contribution to the Community.
The People Development award is being sponsored by WS Training, of Great Barton. Jane Vincent, chief executive of WS Training, said: “As the largest private training provider in the East of England, training and developing in excess of 6,000 people per year, we understand what makes a good employee and how an employer's commitment to training and development can have a positive impact on business growth.
“We will be looking for companies who have implemented innovative training or personnel development initiatives which have delivered significant and measurable business improvement.”
New Media Business Group is sponsoring the Contribution to the Community award and chairman Tim Meadows-Smith said: “In our own business, we never lose sight of the fact that we are in business to deliver profits and benefits to all stakeholders. It is all too easy to overlook the community as a stakeholder and, in difficult times, to cut programmes in the name of efficiency that benefit the community stakeholders. For that reason we are delighted that the Bury Free Press has given us the opportunity of celebrating the businesses that best support our town and our people. Our own business is dedicated towards making local businesses more profitable and we expect the local community to benefit from the economic activity and jobs we help to create.”
Two more categories – The Bid4Bury Customer Care (nominations will only be accepted for Bid4Bury members) and Business Innovation awards – will be featured in next week's Bury Free Press. Remaining categories are International Trade, Best New Start-up, Green Award, Employee of the Year and Independent Trader award.
Today, we begin to profile each of the 11 categories and give you the chance to nominate businesses and individuals for those awards. Anyone can nominate using the form below - you can nominate someone or a business who has performed well, you can nominate someone youwork alongside or you can nominate yourself or your own business.
Once we have all the nominations in - closing date is August 1 - we will approach everyone who has been nominated to find out more details about them or their business. This information will then be used by judges to determine the three finalists who will be invited to the glitzy awards ceremony at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, on Friday, September 21.
This week's featured categories are Business of the Year and Business Person of the Year.
The Business of the Year category, sponsored by Suffolk Chamber, will be a hard-fought category. Barry Peters, editor of the Bury Free Press, said: “Whoever wins this category will have demonstrated vision, ability and something unique which sets them apart.
“We are looking for excellence, pure and simple.”
Sicon is sponsoring the Business Person of the Year award and business director Jane Youngman said: “Sicon is proud to be part of the Bury Free Press Business Awards, and we see the winner of this category being someone who has made an outstanding contribution to their company or organisation, who has been able to demonstrate commitment, having had the opportunity to demonstrate leadership to a high degree, has vision and is instrumental in the company's future.”
Two more categories - People Development and Contribution to the Community - will be featured in next week's Bury Free Press.
Remaining categories are the BID4Bury Award (nominations will only be accepted for Bid4Bury members), Business Innovation, International Trade, Best New Start-up, Green Award, Employee of the Year and Independent Trader award.
The Bury Free Press Business Awards signal the culmination of the Bury St Edmunds Business Festival.
The 2012 awards will celebrate the very best in West Suffolk business and showcase the skills and entrepreneurs we have here. Business in West Suffolk is thriving – and our awards will give you the chance to tell everyone what is great about the businesses you own, you work for or just simply love.
There will be awards for businesses who are contributing to the wider community, individual workers who are producing something special and for fledgling businesses. All the categories are detailed below.
The awards will culminate in a glitzy ceremony at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, on Friday, September 21, and will signal the culmination of the Bury St Edmunds Business Festival.
Launching the awards this week, Bury Free Press editor Barry Peters said: “I am delighted to be able to recognise the real excellence there is in business.
“Every week, the Bury Free Press spotlights stories of achievement and success in its business pages but these awards will bring together all the expertise and excellence and reward the trailblazers.”
Mark Stanford, events manager at the Bury Free Press – and organiser of the awards – said: “The Bury Free Press Business Awards will be a fitting tribute to the men and women who thrive in today's hectic and pressured world of business.
“Winners on the night will know they have been given a real pat on the back by their peers and the award will be something to cherish for many years.”
Awards on the night will be presented by TV celebrity Paul Ross.
Details of how to enter the awards or nominate someone for one of the categories will appear in next week's Bury Free Press along with a profile on the first two awards – Business of the Year and Business Person of the Year.
The categories are:
Business of the Year – Sponsored by Suffolk Chamber
Business Person of the Year – Sponsored by Sicon
People Development – Sponsored by WS Training
Contribution to the Community – Sponsored by New Media Business Group
Independent Retailer – Sponsored by Bury Free Press
Best New Start-Up – Sponsored by Menta
Green / Environmental Award – Sponsored by West Suffolk College
Award for International Trade – Sponsored by St Edmundsbury Borough Council
Employee of the Year – Sponsor to be confirmed (please call Mark Stanford, events manager at the Bury Free Press, on 01284 757810 if you are interested in sponsoring this award)
The Bid4Bury Award - Customer Care – Sponsored by Bid4Bury/Our Bury St Edmunds (nominations will only be accepted for Bid4Bury members)
Business Innovation – Sponsored by Denny Bros Group