IT was a glittering celebration of the very best businesses the region has to offer.
Last night the shortlisted entrants and their guests came together for The News’ Business Excellence Awards 2011.
Held at the Guildhall in Portsmouth, the ceremony was opened by editor of The News Mark Waldron, who praised the calibre and diversity of all those that entered.
He paid tribute to all the businesses which have seen the recession as challenge rather than a death-knell, rising to the challenges they have faced by focusing on what sets them apart from their competitors, and their customer care.
He said: ‘Again we have seen our businesses are rising to the challenge of unfavourable economic conditions.
‘Again we are seeing how creative those firms are when it comes to offering their clients something that’s a little bit special.
‘And again we’re here, at the Guildhall, to celebrate the best of those businesses.’
Mr Waldron was followed by BBC South Today presenter Sally Taylor, who reviewed the past business year and presented the awards themselves.
She said: ‘I’ve been presenting these awards for the past five years, and they are always fantastic occasions.
‘It has been a tough year all round, but this shows there are still success stories out there.’
The awards took two hours to hand out to deserving firms, and the celebrations – and disappointment of those who missed out – were plain to see.
One of the biggest awards on the night, the Business of the Year Award, was won by Bishops Printers, which has recently moved its operations to Farlington.
The judges praised the firm’s expansion plans and its investment of £3m in new equipment, staring the recession in the face.
They also praised the firm’s commitment to local clients, as well as its pledge to take on any print job, whether small or large.
Roger Sherliker, chairman of Portsmouth Property Association, which sponsored the award, handed the trophy to Bishops Printers sales director Gary Potter.
Mr Potter said: ‘We’re honoured and delighted to have won this award.
‘It has been a terrific year for us and this has topped it off.
‘It’s the ultimate recognition.
‘We’ve moved facilities, which has been its own challenge, and we’ve bucked the trend of the recession.
‘Humbled, is the word we would use for this award.’