The best of Portsmouth business celebrated at Fratton Park event to honour award winners

THE best of business was celebrated at a special event to honour winners from The News’ Business Excellence Awards.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 4:44 pm
Updated Friday, 1st October 2021, 8:36 am

Winners and sponsors from the awards, which took place in July, gathered at the Legends Lounge at Fratton Park to network, swap stories and have lunch.

They were joined by representatives from headline sponsor the University of Portsmouth, before going on a tour of the stadium and the grounds.

Editor of The News Mark Waldron told of his delight that the newspaper was able to hold these awards after lockdowns saw its original date pushed back from February to July.

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Picture: Habibur Rahman

It was the first live event held at the Portsmouth Guildhall in 2021 – and was not only an excellent way to promote businesses in and around the city, but also marked the start of recovery of live events after the pandemic.

Mark said: ‘Little did we know at the last winner’s lunch what difficulties we were facing.

‘It has been one of the hardest events to organise, but despite the set backs, we held the event in the summer and we couldn’t have done that without the support from our sponsors and our entrants.

‘What shone through with all our winners was the absolute excellence we have in our business community.

Business award winners and their sponsors Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘There were so many excellent stories. The amount of entrants, their quality and the breadth of companies was incredible and it made the judging process very hard.’

Peter Hooley, director of business development at the university, said: ‘It was a fantastic experience to be out and in a room with other people and there were some great businesses which won awards.

‘Winning an award is a fantastic experience but it is only the start of the journey.’

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Picture: Habibur Rahman

He said they the university was keen to support all winners, and to create a network, in order to boost business in the city.

One of the award winners was Josh Robinson, from music promotion firm LMSUKmedia, who was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

He said that since winning his business has attracted attention and gained major funding and backing, allowing it to expand.

He said: ‘It was unbelievable. It has opened so many doors for me. Just from sharing the news on LinkedIn, the amount of messages that I got was amazing. it went like wildfire and has helped us to grow from a small business operating in Portsmouth to being a major promoter across the south coast.’

Josh Robinson and Chloe Brown Picture: Habibur Rahman

Another award winner was Portsmouth-based child service company Fair Ways, it won two awards and was named Company CSI Initiative of the Year and Employer of the Year.

Chairman Ian Davies said that entering awards like this helped to boost staff morale and show how much they are appreciated.

He said: ‘We have got a lower staff turnover than other businesses in our field. Our strapline is ‘making a difference, not a profit’ and entering awards helps us achieve that.’

The News’ Business Excellence Awards have been running for 19 years and plans are underway to launch the next event, which will be the best yet to mark its 20th anniversary.

The awards will launch in January and it is anticipated that they will be held at the Guildhall in April.

Picture: Habibur Rahman

The News is currently calling for entries into its upcoming Innovation Awards. It will be the first time the event has been held in the city and will see 10 honours handed out at an event at the Village Hotel Portsmouth on November 4.

The awards are free to enter, submissions close on October 8. Go to


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

Picture: Habibur Rahman