MORE THAN 400 people packed out the Guildhall in Portsmouth last night to make The News Business Excellence Awards 2018 an event to remember.
Guests at the prestigious black tie awards filled the venue to find out who would win coveted accolades at the 17th annual ceremony.
A panel of expert judges had spent hours deliberating over hundreds of entries before the night, which was hosted by Sky presenter and businesswoman Nicki Shields.
One team in particular were celebrating after scooping two accolades at the glitzy bash.
Sweet Dreamers, based in Waterlooville, took home one of the biggest awards, Overall Business of the Year, and Small Business of the Year.
Founder Lynda Harding has seen enormous success with her products which have been endorsed by Amanda Holden, Konnie Huq and Lily Allen.
Lynda said: ‘I simply cannot believe that we have taken not one but two awards tonight.
‘I am so taken aback that we’ve been awarded an accolade that is recognised across the south of England.’
Lynda’s son Harry said: ‘It’s a family company. My mum really plays it down but we’re all so proud of her and what she has achieved.’
Dan Winiarczuk and Chloe Hutchins were winner and highly commended respectively in Apprentice of the Year.
Chloe, 17 said: ‘I was shocked to be offered a job with Havant & South Downs College before my apprenticeship ended, but I didn’t think I would win an award for it!’
Dan, 22 said: ‘I’m gobsmacked. I don’t know what to say but thank you so much.’
A brand new award was presented at the ceremony, the Green Business of the Year prize. which went to vegan supermarket Wild Thyme Wholefoods.
Stuart Mills, who works at the Southsea shop, said: ‘We wanted to bring something different to the area. It’s wonderful to be recognised, especially as a relatively new enterprise.’
Editor of The News Mark Waldron said: ‘It’s been a brilliant evening for businesses to enjoy their success in style. These are the companies that make Portsmouth and we couldn’t be prouder of the exceptional standard in our region.’
Host for the evening Nicki said: ‘What a night! When you’re constantly moving, it’s important to stop, take a breath and recognise how far you’ve come.
‘The News has provided an outstanding platform for that.’