The 14th Annual North East Entrepreneurial Awards

Issue 27

Each year the North East Entrepreneurial Awards celebrate the successes and achievements of the people behind the region's most innovative high-growth businesses. These businesses are the driving force behind the North East's economic growth and rising rates of employment.

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum, which organises the awards in partnership with the North East LEP, has unveiled the shortlist for 2017. Five winners will be honoured with awards for Emerging Talent, Scale-up, Entrepreneur of the Year, Mentor of the Year and Lifetime Achievement. EMERGING TALENT Sponsored by O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions, the nominees include Andy Stephenson (Weekend Box), Steven Rawlingson (Samuel Knight), Michaela Reaney (Gradvert) and Stephen Black and Ian McElroy (Tier One Capital).

In past years the Emerging Talent award has been handed to high achieving entrepreneurs John Savage of Flame Heating Spares, Alice Hall of Pink Boutique and David Lynch of Lynch Healthcare. SCALE-UP AWARD Sponsored by NBS and new for 2017, the inclusion of this award highlights the importance of scale-up businesses to the region’s economy. Recognising business owners who have led their company to achieve 20 per cent plus annualised growth in either turnover, profit or employee numbers for the past three years, the shortlist includes Ben Ridgway and Jamie Cooke (Intelligent Services Group), Nigel Begg (Aspire Technology Solutions) and Sara Davies (Crafter’s Companion). ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR In 2016, the Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Ward Hadaway, was awarded to John Waterworth of Parkdean Resorts, and in 2015 it was presented to Geoff Thompson of Utilitywise.

This year the honour will go to one of a shortlist made up of John Hays (Hays Travel), Roger Peart (Oil NRG), David Harrison (True Potential) and Julie Drummond (Drummond Central). MENTOR OF THE YEAR Sponsored by Malhotra Group, this award is announced on the night and recognises the important role altruistic peer-to-peer mentoring plays in business growth. In 2016 and 2015 the Mentor of the Year award was presented to James Robson MBE and Alastair Waite respectively. Mentoring is one of the primary ways the Entrepreneurs’ Forum supports its members, matching the owners of growing businesses with experience entrepreneurs. This takes the form of regular mentoring events and introductions between potential mentors and mentees, as well as drop-in ‘surgeries’. LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT Sponsored by Corporate Traveller, the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award is kept a closely guarded secret until the evening of the dinner, when this year’s winner will join such respected names as Sir Peter Vardy, Sir John Hall and John Fenwick, who have previously been presented with the accolade. This spectacular black-tie event, will take place at The Boiler Shop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Friday 29th September, and will be hosted by champion rally driver Penny Mallory OBE, the first woman in the World to compete in a World Rally Car.

400 of the region’s leading business figures will be present, at the prestigious events venue which was once part of Robert Stephenson’s locomotive works. This year the awards have been inundated with entries, proving that the North East’s entrepreneurial community is thriving. Entrepreneurs build the businesses that people rely on for jobs and economic growth and this region contains some stand-out individuals who are driving the North East forward.

The North East Entrepreneurial Awards are open to all business owners, not just Entrepreneurs’ Forum members, and are presented not only to recognise success, but to thank the entrepreneurs who take risks and help others to build their businesses. By working together and sharing the benefits of our collective experience, we can continue to make business a force for social good in the North East.

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