Novia takes top title at Bath Business Awards
More than 300 people have celebrated the best of Bath’s businesses at an awards ceremony organised by the Chronicle.
The 2012 Bath Business Awards saw wealth management firm Novia take the top accolade of Business of the Year at a presentation night at the city’s racecourse.
Chief executive of the Bath Rugby sponsor Bill Vasilieff said the whole team was delighted with the award.
He said: “We’ve been going less than four years. We had a big growth year last year and this year is going the same way.
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“We’re a new company, we’re trying to give a lot to Bath supporting charities, and the rugby. We’re employing more and more people so to get this recognition is brilliant from Bath.”
Small Business of the Year was printing firm Minuteman Press, which had also supported the awards printing all of the tickets, programmes and certificates.
David Ghent, its managing director, said: “This is absolutely fantastic. It’s fantastic for all of the team because they’ve contributed to this. It’s also down to our customers who have supported us over the 14 years we’ve been trading.”
Former mayor Eric Snook, who set up his Golden Cot toy and pram business more than half a century ago, was presented with a lifetime achievement award on the night.
The veteran businessman, who has supported the city’s chamber of commerce and the Bath in Bloom movement, said: “When I started the business in 1960, within a few years I felt that if you are running a business in Bath and taking a living and employing people, you must put something back into the city.”
The event compered by broadcaster and writer Valerie Singleton saw the CircleBath hospital at Peasedown St John taking the customer service award for the second year running.
Deputy chairman, shoulder surgeon Gavin Jennings, said: “It’s a tribute to our staff, and our underlying ethos that pervades everything that we do at the hospital. To be awarded this in health care really underlines our outstanding efforts to make sure that every patient has the optimum experience possible.”
Architects Stubbs Rich won the environmental title for the unusual entry of a cartoon that explains the relationship between carbon and money.
Partner Nick Stubbs said: “It’s been a difficult message to get out there. We’ve often felt we’ve been trying to tell people something they don’t want to hear.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have our work rewarded and recognised after ten years’ worth of research.
“We were up against some tough competition but hopefully the judges realised the potential of ours.”
Last year’s Business of the Year, engineering firm Rotork, walked away with the night’s training award for its apprenticeships, training programmes and employee development.
Mark Williams, HR director at the Brassmill Lane firm, said: “On behalf of everyone at Rotork I am delighted to accept this award.
“We’ve spent a lot of time investing in our people especially our apprentices and it’s something we’re really proud of and we’re delighted to receive this award.”
Businessperson of the Year went to Wessex Water chief executive Colin Skellett, who has held the top job at Wessex Water for more than 20 years and was instrumental in establishing Bath Tourism Plus.
Mr Skellett said: “I was delighted to receive the Businessperson of the Year award against tough competition, because there are so many business people in Bath who make a major contribution to the life of the city.”
Young Entrepreneur of the Year went to Jack Nix and Ashley Swain from the South West Bin Cleaning Company, while specialist radon firm PropertECO was Most Innovative Start-up.
Rebecca Kench, commercial director for PropertECO, which only launched last July, said: “We’re delighted to win a really difficult category the innovative start-up. There’s been some brilliant innovations in Bath, for us to be recognised as the winner is brilliant – we’re really happy.
“This is the first awards we’ve entered so to come away a winner is amazing.”
Rebecca had also been up for Young Entrepreneur.
She said: “The two young lads that have won are fantastic, what they’ve done and achieved is so impressive and I wish them every success.”
Jack Nix celebrated his 20th birthday the night of the awards, as well as scooping Young Entrepreneur with business partner and friend, 19-year-old Ashley Swain.
Jack said: “We were just happy to be shortlisted and we weren’t expecting to win.
“It’s almost a reward for all the work we’ve done.”
Furniture firm TR Hayes – whose boss Derek Hayes received a lifetime achievement award last year – was voted Retailer of the Year.
Mr Hayes said: “It’s a great honour and it’s very much down to my fellow directors – my wife and my son, our 53 staff and the good people of Bath, who have provided us with such loyalty over the years.”
The event was sponsored by City of Bath and Norton-Radstock colleges on behalf of the West of England Higher Appenticeships Consortium, B&NES Council, SouthGate, Baker Tilly, First Great Western, Crest Nicholson, Bishop Fleming, the Bath BID, Thrings, and Withy King.
* For a picture special on the awards, see next week's Bath Chronicle