THE best and brightest of the region’s business people came together last night for The News Business Excellence Awards 2012.
At a packed ceremony, the 12 individual firms that won each of our categories were unveiled.
And of those 12 winners, it was online cycle firm Wiggle which was crowned Business of the Year.
Dean Maskell, head of marketing of Wiggle, said: ‘It’s a fantastic achievement.
‘A lot of it’s down to the fact that we’ve had a meteoric rise from being a small bike shop in Portsmouth to becoming a worldwide retailer, selling to something like 90 countries around the world.
‘From two people in the back of a bike shop to having 250 staff, most of whom are from Portsmouth.
‘This award is fantastic recognition for the whole team.’
Wiggle’s head of buying Dan Hoare added: ‘We’re an ambitious team and we hope this award will be the first of many.’
The judges honoured David Luckett MBE, chairman of Lucketts Travel, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
He had been asked to present the Innovation of the Year award, which Lucketts Travel won last year.
He said: ‘I’m absolutely amazed.
‘I came here and just thought I was presenting an award – I’ve been conned!
‘What an epitaph for all the service I’ve done, because I’m very involved in voluntary work at HMP Kingston, and I was a magistrate.
‘I’m just amazed to have picked this up, I can’t believe it.’
The evening was compered by local personality and Meridian TV presenter Fred Dinenage, who paid tribute to the firms that made the hotly-contested shortlist and attended the ceremony at the Guildhall in Portsmouth.
He said: ‘I honestly think having an awards like this, after a recession, is such a boost to the business community. It’s a benefit to everyone.
‘All those who got awards and who were shortlisted have shown there’s a lot to be proud of in Portsmouth.’
Mark Waldron, editor of The News, said: ‘This is the 10th time we have come together for The News Business Excellence Awards, and it’s more important than ever to shout about our successes, our hard work and our triumphs.
‘To pick our winners this year was tough for the judges and I would like to thank each company which entered for making our job so hard.
‘It’s a credit to the quality of the entries.’