Awards night celebrates the best in business in Portsmouth and beyond

Some of the guests at The News Business Excellence Awards 2016, held tonight at The Guildhall in Portsmouth. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (160145-520)

Some of the guests at The News Business Excellence Awards 2016, held tonight at The Guildhall in Portsmouth. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (160145-520)

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IT HAS been a night of celebration as hundreds of people packed into the Guildhall to recognise the best in business.

The News’ Business Excellence Awards returned to the prestigious Portsmouth venue for their 15th year tonight.

And it was one of the biggest years yet as 16 honours were handed out to everyone - from apprentices to large companies - doing the business in this part of the world.

Editor Mark Waldron opened the night and he spoke of his pride.

He said: ‘Each year these awards make me realise what great companies we have operating across the area.

‘These companies – from the smallest start-up to the largest organisation – show the strength of the business community in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.’

This year saw hundreds of entries submitted.

The categories were judged by top names and experts – Maureen Frost from Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Sue Ball from Verisona Law, Maggie Hill from BAE Systems, Mr Waldron and a representative from each sponsor.

Taking the biggest award of the night was Portsmouth business telecoms and IT provider Aerial Business Communications. The company, which has operated from its Rodney Road base for 30 years, impressed the judges with its expansion plans, its growth in the face of challenging times for its market, its impressive list of contracts and its drive for innovative products.

The Portsmouth company won best Medium Business of the Year, and was named Overall Business of the Year.

It was also recognised for its staff development, low staff turnover and its customer service.

The most prestigious and emotional award of the night was given to David Oliver, from Verisona Law.

He was given the lifetime achievement award after being nominated secretly by his colleagues.

Mr Oliver, from Portsmouth, has a rich and diverse background and has spent his life striving to be the best in business.

He is a lifelong Portsmouth FC supporter and has a long list of accolades and prestigious titles, including being the former President of Portsmouth Round Table, the former Deputy Coroner of Portsmouth and a Deputy District Judge, sitting locally until late 2014.

Despite this, he still had time to show his support for many good causes, as well as making a name for himself in business by forming Oliver & Co solicitors in Southsea, which merged to become Sherwin Oliver and then later merged with Blake Lapthorn.

He was head of insolvency at Blake Lapthorn for a number of years and a consultant at Verisona Law, based at Lakeside Northarbour, where he provided insolvency advice to the team that rescued Portsmouth Football Club.

The evening saw scores of other awards handed out, with a party to celebrate afterwards.

Event organiser Liz Parker thanked everybody for making the night so special.

‘It has been a great night,’ she said.

‘But it was only made possible by the wonderful businesses we have in and around Portsmouth.

‘Everybody who was shortlisted, and indeed honoured, should be truly proud of themselves.’

ROLL OF HONOUR

Headline Sponsor BAE Systems

Large Business

sponsored by Coffin Mew

Winner: Just Develop It

Medium Business

Sponsored by Santander

Winner:Aerial Business Communications

Highly-commended: NA Curtain Walling

Small Business

Sponsored by University of Portsmouth Business School

Winner: Precision Creative and Media

Highly-commended: Carrington West

Start-Up Business

Sponsored by Basepoint Business Centres

Winner: ThinkMarble

Highly-commended: Turbulent Design

Business Personality/Achiever

Sponsored by Menzies LLP

Winner:Dominic Hones, from Solent Forts

Highly-commended: Ian Dickson, from Unlocksuccess

Best Retailer

Sponsored by Snows BMW

Winner: Creatiques Bridal Boutique

Best Team

Winner: Marriott Hotel Portsmouth

Highly-commended: Solent Mobility Centre

Best Employer

Sponsored by Hampshire Chamber of Commerce

Winner: Dynamite Recruitment

Highly-commended: Precision Creative and Media

Community Contribution

Winner: Silver Lining Convergence

Highly-commended: Brewers The Lettings Agency

International Development

Sponsored by Smith & Williamson

Winner: Aqua Cooling

Customer Service Award

Sponsored by JSPC Computer Services

Winner: English Rose Collection

Apprentice

Sponsored by Giant Leap Video & Photography

Winner: Luke Topps, from Menzies LLP

Highly-commended: Toby East, from English Rose Collection

Hospitality Leisure & Tourism

Sponsored by Portsmouth Cultural Trust

Winner: Marriott Hotel Portsmouth

Innovation

Sponsored by University of Portsmouth Innovation Space

Winner: Aqua Cooling

Overall Business

Sponsored by Verisona Law

Winner: Aerial Business Communications

Lifetime Achievement

Sponsored by BAE Systems

Winner: David Oliver, from Verisona Law

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