Business Leader Awards enters its ninth year


The South West’s premier awards – the Business Leader Awards – are celebrating its ninth year in 2021, and in celebration, we have profiled some of the biggest winners over previous events.

This year’s event is now open for entry – for more details, click here.

In its inaugural year, over 260 of the region’s top business leaders and companies were in attendance at the ‘North Somerset Business Leader Awards’, which was hosted by Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE at DoubleTree by Hilton Cadbury House.

Michelle Michael of The Grand Pier, who won Business of the Year that year comments: “We were delighted to be recognised by winning Business of the Year, especially since our business was just three years old. Winning an award such as this always creates a great buzz amongst our team and demonstrates why it is so important to keep standards and customer service high.”

Some of the other winners were; Sustainability in Business Award: Alliance Homes; Employer of the Year: Weston College; and Entrepreneur of the Year: Hayden Rushton – Britannia Windows.

The following year, the event was hosted by world-famous entrepreneur Michelle Mone OBE at the same venue.

The winners included; Green Business of the Year: Siniat; Innovation of the Year: Powervamp; Young Business Person of the Year: Jonathan Tout; and Business of the Year: Knightstone Housing.

The 2015 event was rebranded to become what it is known as today, the Business Leader Awards. The event had two hosts – iconic broadcaster Gyles Brandreth and supermodel Caprice Bourret. The event expanded to 14 categories and had some incredible winners.

They included; Green Business of the Year: Solarsense; Innovation of the Year Award: Viper Subsea; Customer Excellence Award: Hargreaves Lansdown; Export/International Business of the Year: Haseltine Lake; mployer of the Year: Abatec Recruitment; Fast-track Business Award: Opus Recruitment Solutions; and Small Business of the Year: Turtle Tots.

Following the enormous success the event had experienced, it was moved to a larger venue at the Bristol Hotel, on the city’s harbourside, where 340 VIPs, CEOs, directors and business professionals celebrated the fourteen winners.

Comedy writer and barrister Clive Coleman was the host for the evening for the 2016 Awards.

Some of the winners included; Export & International Business Award: Lye Cross Farm; Entrepreneur of the Year Award: James Liang (Hotcha); Rising Star Award: James Piper (ecosurety); Employer of the Year Award: Almeda Facilities Ltd; Business of the Year Award 11-50 employees: ForrestBrown; Business of the Year Award 51+ employees: RSG; and Commercial Property Award: Midas Construction.

The 2017 Business Leader Awards took place at Ashton Gate Stadium for the first time, and it was increased to have 15 categories for the first time.

Just under 600 attendees, including the most prominent business figures in the region, gathered to recognise and celebrate business success at the black-tie gala event.

BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine hosted the awards and kept the audience entertained with stories of his past and comments on the current political situations around the world.

For the first time, the event trended on Twitter, as  #BLA17 was one of the top trends in Bristol and in the UK on Twitter during the event.

Some of the winners on the night were; Corporate Deal of the Year: Bishop Fleming; Marketing Campaign of the Year: Ambitious PR; Innovation & Technology Award: Invatech Health; Customer Excellence Award: Midas Construction; Export & International Award: Stirling Dynamics; Start-up Business Award: Bristol Energy; and Business of the Year 51+: SDS Ltd.

Award-winning comedian Russell Kane hosted the 2018 awards, which were attended by over 600 guests that included celebrities, VIPs, business leaders and professionals.

Following a record number of entries for the sixth year in a row, the winners included; Business in the Community: Ashton Gate (Bristol Sport); Green Business of the Year: ETM Contractors Ltd; Marketing Campaign of the Year: Bristol Waste Company; Innovation & Technology Award: Stirling Dynamics; Customer Excellence Award: Chorus IT; Export & International Business Award: The British Corner Shop; Rising Star Award: Adam Sharpe – CEO of Cardstream; Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Ali Beaven – co-founder of Prezola; Manufacturing Business of the Year: Offsite Solutions; and Business of the Year 51+ employees: The Wasdell Group.

Another year of record entries followed for the 2019 event – where it was increased to have 18 categories and an increased independent judging panel of regional and sector experts.

The winners were revealed at Ashton Gate, with over 630 senior business leaders and VIPs attending on the night.

The host for the 2019 awards was TV presenter, Michael Portillo.

The winners included; Green Business of the Year: Mail Handling International (MHI); Innovation and Technology Award: Rocketmakers; Customer Excellence: BCR Associates; Export & International Trade: Scanning Pens; Family Business of the Year: ETM Group; Employer of the Year: A-Gas; Corporate Deal of the Year: TLT LLP; Rising Star Award: Alicia Teagle – Socially Responsible Recruitment (SR2); Entrepreneur of the Year: Adam Sharpe – Cardstream; and Business of the Year: 11-50 employees: Brightpearl; and Business of the Year 51+ employees: British Corner Shop.

Last years event was the first to be held virtually – due to the COVID-19 pandemic – however, the South West’s leading business awards still received a record number of entries and had some fantastic winners.

The winners included; Covid-19 Business Hero Award: Bristol Sport; Green Business of the Year Award: Sanctus; Innovation & Technology Award: Rovco; Export & International Business Award: British Corner Shop; Employer of the Year: Time Finance; Entrepreneur of the Year: Charmaine Vincent – Baltimore Consulting Ltd; Family Business Award: Beard Construction; and Business Leader of the Year: Mike Beesley – TIMESTWO Investments.