Celebrating the cream of Dorset’s business achievements, the community’s brightest talents came together at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) to party in style for the Dorset Business Awards 2018 Gala Dinner, in association with the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo.


Organised by Dorset Chamber and also supported by Wave 105, the Dorset Business Awards has become the largest of its type in the county, with the awards ceremony being a major feature in the annual business calendar. During a glittering ceremony in front of an audience of more than 700 guests, the success stories of 39 companies from across the region were honoured in 13 award categories.


Dorset’s biggest annual celebration kicked off in style with a drinks reception sponsored by Caterpillar Marine Ltd, with a very special drink for all guests from Conker Gin. Guests were then treated to an exquisite three-course dinner from BH Live Hospitality before event hosts, the breakfast team from Wave 105, the south’s leading radio station began the awards presentation.


The ceremony was opened by a special surprise performance by UK Flash Mob Dancers who performed a dynamic routine in keeping with the nights key message ‘together we succeed’ while for the fourth year running, Brighter Productions took control as production sponsors, with creative direction from Global Brand Communications. Marsham Court Hotel, REIDsteel, Rotary Wessex and Wessex Internet also joined the list of prestigious sponsors and Westover was the official auto partner of this year’s Dorset Business Awards.


Stuart Dixon, head of marketing and communications at Dorset Chamber, said: “The Awards evening is always a fantastic opportunity to celebrate business in Dorset and recognise all of the achievements, from companies of all sizes, that are doing outstanding work, helping others and giving something back to the community. The depth and quality of business talent in this county is both impressive and inspiring.


“I’d like to congratulate all the winners and shortlisted finalists of this year’s awards process and we look forward to acknowledging more businesses at the landmark 25th ceremony in 2019.”


Business Leader of the Year Award, sponsored by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership

Winner: Tony Lockwood, managing director at BOFA International Ltd, Poole

Tony’s vision and inspirational leadership has transformed the company from family business to an international multi-site global technology leader serving customers in 120 countries.

Lead judge Alison Moore, Dorset LEP board member, said: “What impressed us most was the success of BOFA globally, and the recognition that Tony has given to his colleagues and staff, as demonstrated by the creation of a specialised training and goal-setting programme. This embodies an inspirational business leader – creating a globally successful business whilst maintaining investment in the team. And to be a Dorset business that is a global leader in its field – fabulous!”


Dorset Environmental Business Award, sponsored by Dorset Wildlife Trust and Poole Harbour Commissioners

Winner: Tops Day Nurseries, Bournemouth

Tops Day Nurseries recently gained international attention for its decision to ban the use of glitter at all their nurseries across the south having become aware that it contributes to the build-up of micro-plastics in the oceans, harming marine life and the future of the environment.

Lead judges Dr Simon Cripps, chief executive at Dorset Wildlife Trust, and Jim Stewart, chief executive at Poole Harbour Commissioners, both agreed that: “The focus of Tops Day Nurseries on protecting the environment runs through the organisation from the CEO, through the staff, to many of the parents themselves.  Tops have gone the extra mile in reducing single use plastics at its sites, from nappies and nappy wipes, to bamboo toothbrushes and most famously glitter.  Its care for the environment extends, where location permits, to exciting natural play areas and wildlife gardens.  Its educational work is inspirational.”


Exporting Excellence Award, sponsored by HSBC and PSP Worldwide Logistics

Winner: Haystack Dryers, Ringwood

Haystack Dryers exports internationally to 37 countries. Adept at adhering to local regulations and standards, the company exports 91 per cent of sales and has an enviable customer list including Universal and Legoland.


Judge Frank Dixie, managing director at PSP Worldwide Logistics, said: “The judges were impressed by the geographic reach of Haystack Dryers into challenging emerging markets driven by the tenacious and proactive strategy of the managing director, Paul Thomas.”


Outstanding Customer Service Award, sponsored by Beales Gourmet and Teachers Building Society

Winner: Sontronics, Poole

Sontronics designs, develops and manufactures microphones for studio and live use. Founded in 2004, this business has grown from strength to strength with an international distribution network, award-winning products and famous users including Adele, Ed Sheeran, the BBC and Abbey Road Studios.


Lead judge, Justin Cohen, commercial manager at Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa, commented: “We were in awe of the lengths that the small, but dedicated, Sontronics team will go for its customers. The business offers a lifetime warranty and is committed to the development and training of its resellers, whilst never shying from dealing with customers directly. What a cool brand to have based here in Dorset!”


TeamJobs Team of the Year

Winner: Inspire Professional Services, Poole

With a team of business and tax advisers, Inspire’s services have been meticulously tailored to the needs of the entrepreneur, providing inspirational business leaders with proactive, passionate and personalised support.


Jason Gault, managing director of TeamJobs and award judge, commented: “Inspire embodies the team ethos through their whole culture. It is refreshing and inspiring to see such an engaged, collaborative and innovative team in what is traditionally quite a sober space. This is an extraordinarily balanced and exciting business with strong leadership filtering into united and empowered teams all working together to deliver the whole.”


The Developing Talent Award, sponsored by Sunseeker

Winner: Greendale Construction Limited, Poole

Greendale Construction is a building contractor established in Poole in 1990 by two of the present directors who are actively involved in the day to day running of the business.


The judges reviewed evidence of staff continually developing across the business. This included apprenticeships, right through to professional accreditation, higher education, and leadership development, thus providing Greendale with a solid succession plan and a pipeline of talent to deliver solutions to clients. The Greendale HR team and founding partners showed genuine passion and interest in developing their people at a pastoral level.


Young Apprentice Ambassador of the Year, sponsored by Superior Seals Ltd

Winner: Tilly Cuttler from JP Morgan, Bournemouth

Tilly started her apprenticeship with JP Morgan in 2017 and promotes apprenticeships in local schools as well as being heavily involved in apprenticeship activities hosted at JP Morgan.


Katie Bodman, head of Training Academy at Superior and judge, commented: “After a very difficult decision, we selected Tilly as our worthy winner. Having received little information about apprenticeships during her school years, Tilly is passionate about spreading the message as far and wide as she can in local schools. She wants to share her story and inspire as many students as possible – and that is truly impressive to see.”


Creative Impact Award, sponsored by Liz Lean PR and Digipigz

Winner: Salad, Poole – Project Name: Commonwealth Games England Website

The design for the Commonwealth brief was pushed from the previous website and this creativity extended to heavily influence the client’s offline projects.


Award judge Liz Willingham, managing director at Liz Lean PR, said: “We were most impressed by how far the design was pushed from the previous website and how this creativity extended to heavily influence the client’s offline projects. Great design coupled with robust technology and hosting, resulted in a highly successful project delivering strong results against the original objectives, all on a relatively tight budget.”


Employee Health and Wellbeing Award, sponsored by BWT Physio and Ouch Training Team

Winner: Organix, Wake up to Wellbeing, Bournemouth

Organix was founded in 1992 and has a workforce of 50 people. Over the last four years, it has developed a ‘Wake up to Wellbeing’ programme which has a yearly budget.


During its period of fast-paced growth, employee’s health and wellbeing has been a top priority. All aspects of support to staff including, financial, mental, physical and familial has been identified and is plentiful.


Judge Debbie Martin, director of BWT Physio, says: “Organix have a truly holistic ethos that permeates the company from the CEO to individual employees. Examples of good practice abound.”


Judge Simon Cassin, director of Ouch Training Team, added: “Organix health and wellbeing programme has evolved to become an integral part of everything they do.”


Lester Aldridge Company of the Year

Winner: BV Dairy, Shaftesbury

BV Dairy was incorporated in 1958 by Jack Highnam and his son Christopher. The company initially specialised in the production of cream, clotted cream and other dairy products.


The company moved to Shaftesbury in 1985 and began to expand and diversify the product range as concerns emerged about saturated fats. The readiness to introduce new products is a key feature of the company. It is still owned by the Highnam family and currently employs 122 people.


Lead judge, Grant Esterhuizen, partner and head of the corporate and commercial team at Lester Aldridge, says: “We were particularly impressed with BV Dairy. It has a great ethos and is actively and positively involved in the Dorset community and is concerned for the environment. The judges were unanimous: BV Dairy is focused on investing to procure growth. It is a successful business in a sector that experiences pressure on margins and has in fact delivered impressive growth. This makes BV Dairy this year’s clear winner for the award and for Dorset.”


PKF Francis Clark Family Business Award

Winner: Hall & Woodhouse, Blandford Forum

Hall & Woodhouse is a long-standing family business that has withstood two World Wars and 13 recessions. The company, which now has a collection of 200 pubs in the south of England, continues to be run by the family, with the seventh and eighth generations now represented on the board.


James Robinson, partner at PKF Francis Clark and award judge, said: “Customer service remains at the heart of the company, as does the way in which it treats its team, past and present. Each new recruit receives ‘The Ways of Woodhouse’ handbook which refers back to the founders’ principles, which have lasted the previous generations and will serve the next well.


“The business is dedicated to supporting Dorset having invested more than £30million into the county over the last five years, on top of its regular and extensive charity donations.”


The ScaleUp for Business Growth Award, sponsored Enhanced

Winner: Beyond Retail Ltd, Bournemouth

Established in 2011, Beyond Retail sells a range of bathroom, kitchen and heating products to homeowners, developers, trade and landlords.


Operating across three websites, Tap Warehouse, Drench, and Only Radiators, and attracting over three million annual visitors, it offers an exemplary customer experience.  From a start-up company with an initial director loan of £10,000, Beyond Retail has developed to meet changing consumer needs.


Judge Simon White, CEO of Enhanced, said: “It is very encouraging to see such a young, energetic and innovative company based in Dorset. Its growth from a standing start has been most impressive and plans for the future clearly demonstrated. It has recognised the change in buying patterns and clearly filled a space in a fast-growing market.”


UK Health Insurance Investing in Dorset Award

Winner: BV Dairy, Shaftesbury

BV Dairy is a passionate supporter of food and agriculture within the local area. It demonstrates an ongoing commitment to sourcing materials from local suppliers wherever possible and is dedicated to forging and supporting strong relationships with its local suppliers.


Lead judge, Alistair Sclare, managing director of UK Health Insurance, said: “We were particularly impressed with BV Dairy’s outstanding commitment to purchasing milk from farmers within a 25-mile radius of its facility in Shaftesbury. The Farm Liaison Team works hard to develop mutually-beneficial relationships with farmers to ensure that the local economy benefits from these relationships. Indeed, the judges recognised how strongly BV Dairy’s dedication to purchasing locally is embedded across the whole organisation, extending to asking its suppliers that they too, wherever possible, also use local suppliers.”


Those interested in finding out more about the 2019 awards should visit www.dorsetbusinessawards.co.uk or contact the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 01202 714800.