NEWS COMMENT: Let’s hear it for all those honoured at our Business Excellence Awards

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Every year it’s a sell-out, and every year it’s a joyful occasion. And, unsurprisingly, this year’s News Business Excellence Awards night was no different.

We host our various awards programmes and ceremonies for several reasons. Firstly, they are a simple way to highlight what’s going on in this area; a keen focus on the many high-achieving – and fascinating – businesses that are working every day.

Secondly, in bringing their stories to the fore, it’s a way to celebrate what happens every day across the region – and to celebrate the people behind it. From the person who cuts your hair, to the person who sells you your clothes, to the people deciding where to locate their multimillion-pound turnover firms, business is at the heart of everything. It’s not the be-all and end-all, but it’s vital to understand if you want to know how and why our society works.

And the third reason we hold the awards is that they are a great networking opportunity for all who come, and also one hell of a party, as those who made it to the Guildhall – and possibly on to the after-party at Tiger Tiger – will be able to attest this morning. There’s no shame in enjoying yourself on the occasional Friday night.

So let’s hear it for Transalis, our overall Business of the Year. It’s a classic case of a company not being flashy, and not being particularly prominent, but playing a vital role in oiling the cogs of commerce – in short making sure all firms which need to can connect to each other digitally, and exchange documents and information safely, securely and quickly.

It’s an expert in its field, and it’s achieved astonishing growth while based in the Technopole in Portsmouth city centre.

And also, let’s have a round of applause for our Lifetime Achievement Award winner Martin Putman. He’s just retired from Portsmouth Port, and spent 28 years helping to transform it into the commercial powerhouse it is today. It’s not over the top to say he has helped to shape modern Portsmouth, and his steady hand on the tiller has meant that the port has proved an asset – in every sense – to the city. Martin, we salute you. Congratulations.