Business Excellence Awards 2021: There is cause for optimism for small businesses at awards

AN ORGANISATION that leads the economic development in the Solent region has thrown its weight behind The News Business Excellence Awards.

The Solent LEP, which has its head office based in Portsmouth, works to secure a more prosperous and sustainable future for the Solent area.

It is led by the business community and supported by three university partners, the further education sector, three unitary authorities, eight district councils, one county council and the voluntary and community sector.

Alison Taylor, communications and stakeholder engagement manager, said they were delighted to sponsor the Small Business of the Year category at the awards, which are set to take place at Portsmouth Guildhall on July 8.

The News Portsmouth Business Excellence Awards 2020 at Portsmouth Guildhall on 21st February 2020. Pictured: SJ Hunt of Parity Trust won best Small Business of the Year. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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She said: ‘Small businesses have faced unprecedented challenges brought on by the pandemic and have shown incredible resilience.

‘As businesses begin to open up again and begin the first steps to recovery, we believe there is much cause for optimism and we want to do all we can to help.

‘Sponsoring this award is an opportunity for us to acknowledge the challenges businesses have had to overcome, and recognise their innovation, flexibility and determination.’

The News, Portsmouth Business Excellence Awards 2020, took place at the Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday, February 21. Pictured is: (middle) Martina Battisti, professor of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship from our sponsor University of Portsmouth, with Runr who were highly commended for the Small Business of the Year Award. Picture: Sarah Standing (210220-8394)

The Solent LEP supports hundreds of local businesses every year through its Growth Hub, and this has grown to hundreds more during the pandemic.

It has helped deploy funds from government, establish partnerships to exploit faster routes to market, gather local business intelligence, and launch new forums to share knowledge.

Alison said: ‘We believe this is a critical time for us all to take action.

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News Business Excellence Awards

‘Stronger together, we can shape the Solent economy as future-ready, highly skilled, and globally-facing.

‘We’re really looking forward to judging this award, and shining a light on local small businesses.’

Pat Smith, from lead sponsor the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘Small businesses are the lifeblood of our region and many have demonstrated resilience throughout the pandemic. This category has discovered some hidden gems in past years, I look forward to the announcement of this year's winner.’

Awards recognise best businesses in region

Solent LEP logo

The News is proud to launch the 2021 Business Excellence Awards.

These awards recognise a cross section of businesses and the vital role they play in the success of the region.

The awards ceremony will take place on July 8 at the Portsmouth Guildhall and will be attended by more than 300 guests, as well as being live streamed.

For more information go to or e-mail Linda Pritchard, event organiser, on [email protected] or call 07837308942.

This year's categories:

Small Business of the Year (Sponsored by Solent LEP)

University of Portsmouth

Medium Business of the Year (Sponsored by Citrus IT Support)

Large Business of the Year (Sponsored by Portsmouth City Council)

Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Sponsored by the University of Portsmouth)

Start up Business of the Year

International Business of the Year (Sponsored by Giant Leap)

Employer of the Year (S ponsored by HSDC)

Leisure, Retail & Tourism Business of the Year (Sponsored by The Guildhall Trust)

Training Programme of the Year

Company CSR Initiative of the Year (Sponsored by BAE Systems)

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year (Sponsored by Portsmouth College)

Entrepreneur of the Year

Sustainable Business Award (Sponsored by Portsmouth Water)

Lifetime Achievement Award

Overall Business of the Year (Sponsored by Verisona Law)