Business Excellence Awards 2021: Event returns to honour the best in business in Portsmouth

AFTER arguably the toughest year in business in recent history, there was cause for great celebration as The News’ Business Excellence Awards returned to the Guildhall.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 11:07 pm
Pictured is: Professor Jeremy Howells, executive dean of faculty of business and law at the University of Portsmouth, and editor of The News Mark Waldron at The News' Business Excellence Awards 2021 Picture: Keith Woodland (080721-3)

The annual awards, now in their 19th year, recognise and honour businesses and individuals across a range of categories, from apprentices up to large businesses, and everything in between.

The prestigious event is usually held in February but due to coronavirus restrictions it was postponed to allow for a live event to take place - albeit still with restricted numbers and strict Covid rules in place.

Despite the rules putting a stop on dancing, cheering and mingling, a great night was had by all 100 guests - and by the hundreds more who tuned in via a live-stream, which transmitted the awards as they were handed out via the News Facebook page, the first time such a stream had been set up.

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University of Portsmouth. Lead sponsor of The News Business Excellence Awards.

Event organiser Linda Pritchard said: ‘It was a momentous night that marked 16 months of hard graft. The evening was a great success and it was brilliant to be able to bring people together to promote business in Portsmouth.

‘These awards are long standing in the community and we were determined to hold them as we know just how much they mean to people.’

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Editor of The News Mark Waldron said: ‘This year’s awards were extra special after all that we’ve been through.

Pictured is: Anjana Gadgil, presenter of The News' Business Excellence Awards 2021 Picture: Keith Woodland (080721-23)

‘Portsmouth and the surrounding areas have some of the best examples of businesses in the country and I am proud that through The News we were able to showcase them.’

The night coincided with the inaugural Portsmouth and District Business Week, which started on Monday.

The week was organised by Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and the Portsmouth Business Strategy Leadership Group and has seen scores of events take place across the city and online to share expertise, advice and know-how in a grand celebration of enterprise.

The News Business Excellence Awards, hosted by BBC news presenter Anjana Gadgil, saw 15 awards handed out, with the biggest award - Overall Business of the Year - going to defence firm BAE Systems.

News Business Excellence Awards 2021

BAE Systems was also crowned Large Business of the Year.

Other accolades went to Southsea patisserie The Pastry Corner, Portsmouth manufacturer Diamond Cut Refinishing, Old Portsmouth pub and antiques shop The Sally Port Inn, Portsmouth-based child services company Fair Ways, Portsmouth International Port, interactive puzzle books business Mystery Guides, apprentice Matthew Haskett from Apollo Fire Detectors and Fareham-based cloud services distributor Vuzion UK.

Tony Barnett, from Barnbrook Systems in Fareham, was given the Lifetime Achievement award for his decades of work through his electro-mechanical switching devices manufacturing firm.

The night was made possible by sponsorship from 12 businesses and education establishments, including the University of Portsmouth which was this year's lead sponsor.

Pat Smith, from the university, said: ‘It was a brilliant night celebrating the very best of Portsmouth's business people. I can't think of a better way to end Portsmouth and District Business Week, which has been a terrific success, where we have seen collaboration in action and a genuine business community spirit.

‘I look forward to welcoming all the winners to a special lunch the university is hosting at Fratton Park in September. My thanks to my university colleagues, category sponsors and the team at The News for making this all possible.’

Full list of winners:

Leisure, Retail & Tourism Business of the Year

Sponsored by The Guildhall Trust

Winner: The Sally Port Inn

Special mention: Portsmouth Business Crime Reduction Partnership (PBCRP)

Sustainable Business of the Year

Sponsored by Portsmouth Water

Winner: Portsmouth International Port

International Business of the Year

Sponsored by Giant Leap

Winner: Portsmouth International Port

Highly commended: Innovative Physics

Entrepreneur of the Year

Winner: Jeri Williams, Smooth Accounting

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Sponsored by University of Portsmouth

Winner: Josh Robinson, lmsukmedia

Training Programme of the Year

Winner: Vuzion UK

Company CSR Initiative of the Year

Sponsored by BAE Systems

Winner: Fair Ways

Employer of the Year

Sponsored by HSDC

Winner: Fair Ways

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

Sponsored by Portsmouth College

Winner: Matthew Haskett, Apollo Fire Detectors

Start Up Business of the Year

Winner: Mystery Guides

Small Business of the Year

Sponsored by Solent LEP

Winner: Pastry Corner

Highly commended: Ruby Funerals

Medium Business of the Year

Sponsored by Citrus IT Support

Winner: Diamond Cut Refinishing

Highly commended: Excell Metal Spinning

Large Business of the Year

Sponsored by Portsmouth City Council

Winner: BAE Systems

Lifetime Achievement Award

Sponsored by University of Portsmouth

Winner: Tony Barnett of Barnbrook Systems

Overall Business of the Year

Sponsored by Verisona Law

Winner: BAE Systems

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