The judges of the Western Morning News Business Awards 2021 were overwhelmed by the remarkable work and success throughout our region, with entries displaying how resilient and innovative our business community across the South West can be.
After much deliberation, they were able to create a shortlist of some of our region’s top businesses and entrepreneurs, and you can discover all about them and their brilliance below.
The grand finale for the Western Morning News Business Awards 2021 will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth on Thursday, December 2. The special live event will see our business elite reunited face-to-face after too much time being stuck on the 2D screen. A drinks reception, three-course dinner and plenty of networking will precede the highly-anticipated awards ceremony. For tickets or for more information visit the online hub.
The finalists for the Western Morning News Business Awards 2021 are:
Start-Up Business of the Year
Gwella Contracting Services Ltd recognised the need to provide an alternative and superior asbestos removal service for businesses in the South West. In its first 18 months of trading, it has grown from nine staff to 60 operating across five regional offices. It also offers a specialist cleaning service and undertakes insulation and ventilation installations.
Navas Drinks Ltd creates a range of natural and botanical tonics and mixers based on Bodmin Moor Spring Water that enhance and complement spirits, not overpower them. It currently has three tonics, a ginger ale and beer and a soda water which it supplies to the hospitality industry across Cornwall.
The Postal Pantry Co is a family-run online grocery store providing quality food, drink and eco-friendly household products that minimise the impact on the planet. All orders are packed in 100% recyclable, plastic free packaging and local orders are delivered using a zero-emissions electric van.
SME Business of the Year
Founded in 1978, Prima Bakeries Ltd has evolved into a craft wholesale bakery and pasty maker. With family recipes and various generations working at the company, the family business always provides the highest quality and flavour across its 250 product lines to the whole of Cornwall.
SunGift Solar is a family-owned, renewable energy business which designs and installs bespoke clean and renewable energy systems. Its team of innovators and experts help residential and commercial clients reduce or negate their reliance on fossil fuels, all while providing a streamlined service experience.
The iOutletis an award-winning, multi-channel retailer and wholesaler of refurbished and pre-owned consumer electronics. Exponential growth in its nine years has meant it has been able to expand its product range and include its own branded insurance to provide consumers right across the economic spectrum with a one-stop solution.
Total Energy Solutions Ltd helps businesses get the best deal at the right price for their energy use, guiding them through often complex contracts and pricing structures. With no vested interest in any particular energy suppliers, customers only ever get honest advice and recommendations.
Large Business of the Year
Devon Contract Waste Ltd offers a complete waste management solution to businesses across the region and was the first South West organisation to offer a zero-to-landfill solution. In 2021, it began manufacturing its own range of furniture out of recycled plastic collected on rounds. It also regularly invests in the newest technologies to provide excellent customer service.
Go South West incorporates Plymouth Citybus and Go Cornwall Bus to offer bus services across Plymouth, West Devon and Cornwall. It has a fleet of 300 buses and 700 members of staff helping people reach their destination, as well as the servicing, repair and refurbishment of cars, commercial vehicles, buses and coaches.
Seasalt Cornwall is a modern lifestyle brand with a purpose is to inspire women of all ages to dress with creativity and confidence. The authentic, sustainable alternative to mainstream fast-fashion is designed in Cornwall by a team inspired by the sea. Proudly based in Falmouth, the business operates through online sales and in stores and now employs close to 1,000 people.
Sponsored by Openreach
Devon Contract Waste Ltd was the first waste management organisation in the south west to offer a zero-to-landfill solution. In 2021, it began manufacturing its very own range of furniture out of recycled plastic that it collects in its waste collection rounds. It also provides technologies like an online portal and automatic email system to provide excellent customer service.
Just Enough Brave and Altitude Design worked swiftly during the pandemic to create a valuable resource for graduates, businesses and employers. Collaborating with University of Plymouth and Plymouth College of Art it designed and built an online talent platform which encompassed the spirit of the IGNITE Festival but with an innovative spin – IGNITE Futures.
Merlin Equipment Limited provides the electrical products and systems for those whose lives and livelihoods depend on mobile power. Merlin Equipment stepped up to help complete the task of building 500 Covid-19 mobile testing units; designing and building a plug-and-play electrical system that allowed a complex and powerful system to be installed in a matter of hours.
Best Place to Work
Nexus is an award-winning business IT provider which encourages workplace learning and opportunities for career progression. It has always prided itself on a highly-developed approach to staff wellbeing and places a great emphasis on maintaining an innovative and engaged culture. A real family, it supports staff with extra benefits and complete understanding.
Total Energy Solutions Ltd invests heavily in staff development and wellbeing to ensure it is equipped to deliver its vision on a daily basis. It engages staff in business planning, provides rewards and bonuses, and provides paid time off for volunteering. Promoting openness and honest means it retains staff, only having one trial member leave due to redundancy.
Halsall is a regional SME operation passionate about boosting the local economy by improving local job and skills opportunities. Its gold accreditation by Investors in People recognises the efforts to care for staff health and wellbeing. It fully understands the importance of having engaged, fulfilled and happy staff who want to join, remain and progress in the business.
Corporate Social Responsibility Award
Sponsored by Browne Jacobson
Plymouth Argyle FC’s charitable arm, the Argyle Community Trust, provides opportunities to improve health and wellbeing, education and aspirations through sport. During the pandemic, Home Park was utilised by the NHS and it supported thousands of people through loneliness engagement, cultural programmes, progression guidance and more.
The Road to Mayflower (R2M) Company comprises of five volunteer directors who aim to leave a lasting legacy for Mayflower400 by transforming the city’s main gateway. It has delivered three legacy projects: The Mayflower Forest, Polish Bridge Art and Welcome to Plymouth Art Panels.
Total Energy Solutions Ltd gives 10% of profit and time to the local community and charities, donating more than £41,000 in the last five years and providing support during the pandemic. It works at a highly reduced rate for several local charities and promotes sustainable and environmentally practices alongside supporting the local agricultural community.
Environmental & Sustainability Award
Cofton Holidays is committed to sustainability and has invested substantially on environmentally -ocused projects. During the pandemic it enhanced biodiversity on-site with a rewilding project and invested in new electric car charging points. It also has a biomass hub and district hot water system to cut CO2 by 750 tonnes a year, as well as building upon existing solar panel systems.
LiveWest places sustainability at its heart and is committed to reducing its environmental impact, investing £1m in increasing energy performance of existing and new homes, reducing its carbon footprint, establishing a renewable technologies team and is one of the first housing associations in the country to have launched an environmental blueprint with measurable targets.
SunGift Solar Limited designs and installs bespoke clean energy solutions which have saved hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon. Constantly looking to reduce its own carbon footprint and make homes as green as possible by combining cutting-edge hardware with intelligent software, it has many environmentally friendly initiatives.
Tourism & Hospitality Resilience Award
Cofton Holidays welcomes customers from all walks of life with a range of family-friendly accommodation. During the pandemic, it invested in its facilities, including new luxury lodges, pitches and accessible accommodation. It also makes sure to support the local community by using local suppliers and invested heavily in its sustainability.
Devon Association of Tourist Attractionsoffers a tailored membership package to Devon’s top visitor attractions. ChairmanDick Wood has given endless time, energy and expertise to helping the association come out of the pandemic even stronger. His strategies, innovations and clear leadership gave confidence to members and Devon tourism setup.
Apprentice of the Year
Matthew Gill at Co-op Funeralcare is now a qualified funeral director at Crownhill Funeral Home. He led and developed a new team through the pandemic whilst still completing his apprenticeship and raising funds for local causes. He is passionate about giving the best service.
Michelle Benton at Co-op will graduate in 2022 and plans to work in the community side of the business, wanting to start a support group and community project. Throughout her apprenticeship, she has constantly put herself forward to gain skills and knowledge. Michelle is currently an area lead, previously working in diligence to support the safety of staff and public.
Zoe Andrews at Educated Recruitment Limited assists with the compliance of teachers, marketing and administration, and was also a vital support during the pandemic. She has shown dedication to her new role and studies and is about to start her Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration.
Apprenticeship Development Award
Sponsored by CCB Training
LiveWest‘s apprenticeship programme started in 2015 and has grown to have 46 apprentices on 16 different frameworks. It values the contribution which apprentices make to recognise this pays even entry-level apprentices the real living wage. Experience and age varies across the programme, with LiveWest encouraging existing employees to upskill. It is currently running a recruitment campaign to encourage woman to a trade taster day.
NSN Electrical Ltd‘s team of 13 is made up of four apprentices who work alongside the main engineers as well as independently where they can. The company is passionate about creating a team which grows with the company and being able to train apprentices to have a great standard of work. Working on a whole range of electrical installations gives a rounded experience to all, and it has already trained up two apprentices from the start to become full time electricians
Business Person of the Year
Sponsored by Go South West
To be announced soon.
The Lifetime Achievement Award winner will be announced on the night after being chosen by our distinguished panel of judges.
- The Western Morning News Business Awards 2021 will take place on Thursday, December 2 at the Crowne Plaza, Plymouth. Visit the website for more information.