Home safety specialist Aico lifted the Shropshire Company of the Year title for an unprecedented third occasion on a night of huge celebration for the local business community.
The Oswestry-based company, known for its market-leading range of alarms, was the biggest winner at the 2023 Shropshire Chamber Business Awards, held in front of nearly 600 people at Telford International Centre.
The company not only retained the Company of the Year title it previously won in 2020 and 2022, but made it a double success on the night by also picking up the Trailblazer award for innovation.
Winners of the other categories came from all corners of the county. Best Small Business went to The Shropshire Distillery of Ellesmere, the Global Trade category was won by Jesmonite of Bishop’s Castle, and Alveley-based Staysafe PPE picked up the Eco Award.
Pave Aways, from Knockin – a former Shropshire Company of the Year – added to its trophy collection by winning the Business In The Community title.
It was a particularly good night for Shrewsbury-based businesses, with SDE Technology taking the Manufacturing and Engineering category, accountancy firm Dyke Yaxley lifting the Wellbeing In The Workplace title, and Charlie The Vet being crowned Best New Business.
Shrewsbury Colleges Group also won the Commitment To People prize, and Faye Hudson, from marketing agency Reech, was crowned Young Business Person of the Year.
The John Clayton Award, which goes each year to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the county, was presented this year to Kelda Wood.
She wrote her name into the record books as the first para-athlete to single handedly row across the Atlantic, and runs a Shropshire charity called Climbing Out, using outdoor activities to help rebuild people’s confidence and self esteem.
Kelda was described as ‘an inspiration, and a role model in the art of positivity, determination and resilience’.
Guests were entertained by celebrity singer and comedy impressionist Debra Stephenson, who has worked on Spitting Image, and TV shows with the likes of Rory Bremner and John Culshaw.
Ruth Ross, Shropshire Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive, said: “Our awards night is now in its 23rd year. It is always a fantastic opportunity to showcase our brilliant business community – and this year was no exception.
“Once again, we were amazed and delighted by the volume and quality of entries, including very strong interest in our new categories.
“It was fantastic to see a lot of new names among our finalists this year, and a good mixture of Chamber members, and non-members too.”
The competition was open to any business with an operational base in the county of Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin.
Although it is organised by the Chamber, the Chamber team does not get involved in the shortlisting or judging of the awards - that is carried out by teams of independent business people, and category sponsors.
Shropshire Chamber president Piran Littleton described the event as ‘an extraordinary celebration of business success, where we acknowledge and honour outstanding Shropshire-based businesses and the remarkable individuals within them’.
“It owes its existence to the unwavering commitment and meticulous organisation of our dedicated Chamber team, the relentless efforts of the production team, and, undoubtedly, the invaluable support of our sponsors,” he added.
“We wholeheartedly express our gratitude to each and every one of you for contributing to the resounding success of this event.”
Launched in 2001, the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards are established as one of the largest and longest running business awards events in the UK.
THE 2023 WINNERS
Company of the Year – Aico, Oswestry
Best Small Business – The Shropshire Distillery, Ellesmere
Best New Business – Charlie The Vet, Shrewsbury
Commitment to People – Shrewsbury Colleges Group
Excellence in Manufacturing and Engineering – SDE Technology, Shrewsbury
The Trailblazer: Innovation Award - Aico, Oswestry
Global Business of the Year – Jesmonite Limited, Bishop’s Castle
The Eco Award – Staysafe PPE Limited, Alveley
Wellbeing in the Workplace – Dyke Yaxley Limited, Shrewsbury
Young Business Person – Faye Hudson of Reech, Shrewsbury
Business in the Community – Pave Aways Limited, Knockin
The John Clayton Award - Kelda Wood