Judging of this year’s record entry of 100 nominations for the Solent Business Awards was tougher than ever. After visiting nearly all finalists and hours of deliberation the judges have unveiled the list of finalists in eight award categories.
The team of judges was drawn from sponsors of the Solent Business Awards categories – BDB Pitmans, Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, James Cowper Kreston, KPMG, Lee Peck Media, NatWest, Oberon, RoyaleLife and Taylor Made Computer Solutions.
Peter Laurie, head of client relations at awards organiser The Business Magazine and chair of the judging panel, said: “We received a 47% increase in entries this year, which underlines the importance of the awards for the region. The quality of all the companies impressed the judges. The finalists represent the cream of Solent businesses from start-ups to multi-billion-pound companies.”
The Solent Business Awards will be held on October 17 at Hilton at the Ageas Bowl.
Judges’ comments on the SBA finalists
Innovation of the Year sponsored by Taylor Made Computer Solutions
Taking secure email technology to the next level.
At the forefront of electric vehicle charging technology.
Clever app for charging purchases to your account that’s helping ‘save the high street’.
Serious Sport Group
Producing high quality personalised sports kit and teamwear in the UK.
Developing drones for maritime use with life-saving and environmental protection capabilities.
Developing software products for the legal sector that cut the time to produce documents.
Corporate Social Responsibility sponsored by RoyaleLife
Dometic UK Blind Systems
Focused on energy saving in buildings and recycling waste, as well as charity initiatives.
Invests in employee support and training as well as focusing on changing lives in the local community.
Carries out a huge amount of charity work and has a strong focus on diversity and employee wellbeing.
Silver Lining Convergence
Supports local community initiatives, including hospitals, as well as offering plenty of employee initiatives.
Sustainability and community initiatives set them apart, especially reducing levels of CO2 and refrigerator gases, also supports local good causes.
Tops Day Nurseries
Focused on sustainability and cutting down on plastic use; encourages children and parents to learn about sustainability.
Workplace Mental Health & Wellbeing sponsored by Hilton at the Ageas Bowl
Their mental health first aider is the champion behind programmes that are embedded in the company culture.
They really go above and beyond what you’d expect and also take their practices outside the company into the community.
Offers a strong employee support network and wide ranging programmes that take everyone into consideration, including employees’ families.
They have a variety of workplace benefits for all employees and put impressive resources behind them.
Policies developed by junior management team members are taken on board by directors and have a positive impact on the workforce.
SME of the Year sponsored by James Cowper Kreston
Impressive in lots of judging categories, keeps its workforce engaged; strong growth potential with new products coming to market.
Highfield Professional Solutions
A solid SME with high scores for people and CSR and offers employee share ownership; strong innovation, profitable, and expanding into different geographies.
An innovative company with lots of ideas, high growth potential in the areas they are looking at, plus a high CSR score.
Paul Basham Associates
They have grown significantly in the last year, opened a new office, and continue to focus on people and CSR.
PVC Building Supplies
This family-owned business empowers staff to generate ideas like just-in-time overnight order delivery that wins contracts against larger competitors.
At the forefront in security software, committed to staff training and heavily involved in community initiatives.
Rising Star sponsored by Oberon
Supports local recruitment businesses by looking at recruitment in new ways through funding, infrastructure and marketing; huge growth in the last two years.
Impressive 40% year-on-year growth and great staff attitude; have moved to larger premises and is expanding globally.
A hugely ambitious and fun video production team that’s creating exciting content for a range of brands.
J Williams & Co
Disrupting the accountancy market with technology and has a good sales understanding; high people score and organic growth.
Paul Basham Associates
Expanded to a new office, offers a great graduate scheme, knowledgeable staff and strong organic growth.
An enthusiastic team expanding the business at a high rate, with new investment this year and an impressive approach to its bungalow developments.
Best Company to Work For sponsored by BDB Pitmans
Bluebird Care Gosport
Shows a genuine commitment to employees, especially remote workers, in a challenging industry; offers plenty of training and competitive pay levels.
Open, friendly, genuine approach with weekly staff polls to generate business ideas and new products; plus an impressive internship programme.
Passionate about employee engagement; has improved communication and relationships between back office and front-of-house staff following major refurbishment.
Management Team of the Year sponsored by NatWest
Biscoes Legal Services
Expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and moving into new areas, like supporting military personnel; good staff and client satisfaction levels.
The team has doubled turnover in the last two years with good strategic planning and developing new software services and tools.
Relatively new but very experienced management team is highly focused on growing the business, especially with large automotive manufacturer customers, in a tough economic climate.
The team focuses on transformation and problem solving as Hendy continues to expand through acquisition; staff training and support delivers great customer service.
The team has grown the business significantly with a flexible business model and a workforce that meet client requirements.
Peach & Taylor Made Computer Solutions
Two great owners have harmonised the merger of these businesses and produced a clear onward strategy for growth.
Company of the Year sponsored by KPMG
A fabulous business that spotted a gap in the market; a worthy finalist.
A Microsoft Gold Partner offering cloud services and tools that help SMEs improve productivity.
Impressive cutting-edge technology and new management team members at SBA 2017’s Company of the Year.
Third generation family business that just keeps growing by acquiring businesses without getting indigestion.
A local business doing well with a range of Blue Chip customers by really understanding its market.
A strong Solent brand that has handled staff motivation well during major refurbishment.