Rare breeds preservation and equestrian specialist Stallion AI has been crowned Shropshire’s Company of the Year at a glittering night of celebration.

It was one of two triumphs for the Whitchurch-based business, which also won the Trailblazer award in recognition of its innovation.

Stallion AI is using ground-breaking technology to harvest and preserve the DNA of rare breeds from all over the world to ensure their survival.

It has also grown into the UK’s largest equine semen collection and distribution centre, and is the holder of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

The company fought off competition from finalists Aico of Oswestry, and two Shrewsbury-based companies – Arrow County Supplies and Riverside Cabins – to win the top prize for the first time.

More than 600 people were at Telford’s International Centre to see all the winners revealed for this year’s Shropshire Chamber Business Awards, the largest event on the county’s business calendar.

It was a particularly good night for companies from Telford and Shrewsbury, which dominated the prize categories this year.

Telford-based winners included best small business Chrisbeon Office Supplies, manufacturing and engineering winner Bridge Cheese, community champion the Learning Community Trust, and Hadley Park House Hotel which took the retail, leisure and hospitality award.

Elizabeth Wilkinson, known as the ‘Dyslexic Dyslexia Consultant’ for her pioneering work raising the profile of the learning difficulty, also received the John Clayton Award for her outstanding contribution to the county.

Winners from Shrewsbury included best new business Lilakshop, outstanding business growth champion R1 Construction, eco award winner Arrow County Supplies, and Salop Leisure for outstanding customer service.

Elsewhere, Maddie Hughes from Agritel of Oswestry won the young business person award.

Finalists came from all corners of the county including Telford, Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Market Drayton, Bridgnorth, Craven Arms, Shifnal, and Whitchurch.

This year’s awards were backed by a long list of big-name sponsors, including Aico, Azets, Aaron & Partners, HomeLink, WR Partners, Pave Aways, McPhillips, Shropshire Business magazine, the Community Foundation of Staffordshire & Shropshire, Jesmonite, and Sytner BMW.

The company of the year award was sponsored once again this year by the two local authorities, Shropshire Council, and Telford & Wrekin Council.

Shropshire Chamber chief executive Ruth Ross said: “The awards night is always a fantastic occasion – an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary adaptability, creativity and innovation of our business community.

“We have once again been amazed and delighted by the volume and quality of entries. It has been refreshing to see so many first-time entrants, and finalists, this year.

“Shortlisting each category down to a final four was a really tough task for our independent panel – the standard of entries was incredibly high.”

Speaking to the event’s attendees, she added: “Whoever wins the General Election, our most important role is to make sure Shropshire’s voice is heard. Because as this event shows, we’ve got lots of great things to say.

“Our members recognise how much more Shropshire, and Telford & Wrekin, can achieve if barriers to growth are removed.

“That’s why, a few weeks ago, we travelled to Westminster to launch our Going For Growth manifesto, spelling out Shropshire Chamber of Commerce’s priorities to the country’s decision-makers. We’ve got quite a long list of them.

“Skills and labour shortages mean that many employers are still struggling to recruit. We need a skills and immigration system that works for business, as well as for our education providers.

“We also need a predictable, reliable and affordable transport infrastructure which allows people, products and services to move around with ease.

“Gaps in broadband and mobile connectivity, which stifle business productivity and competitiveness, need to be urgently addressed.

“And it’s vital that we press ahead with long overdue reforms to planning rules and business rates, to boost local growth. In short, there’s lots we want the next Government to do.

“Shropshire is a great place to do business, and this county is always at its best when business and decision-makers work in partnership. That’s precisely what events like this are all about . . . bringing people together.”

The Shropshire Chamber Business Awards have raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity over the years. This year’s recipient was Severn Hospice.

Piran Littleton, Shropshire Chamber of Commerce president, said: “From the outset of this year’s event, the buzz of anticipation has been palpable.

“This event stands as a magnificent tribute to the exceptional qualities of Shropshire businesses – a celebration of business excellence.”


  • Company of the Year: Stallion AI Services, Whitchurch
  • Best Small Business: Chrisbeon Office Supplies, Telford
  • Best New Business: Lilakshop, Shrewsbury
  • Excellence In Manufacturing and Engineering: Bridge Cheese, Telford
  • The Trailblazer – Innovation Award: Stallion AI Services, Whitchurch
  • Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Achievement: Hadley Park House Hotel, Telford
  • Young Business Person: Maddie Hughes, Agritel
  • Outstanding Business Growth: R1 Construction, Shrewsbury
  • Community Champion: Learning Community Trust, Telford
  • Eco Award: Arrow County Supplies, Shrewsbury
  • Outstanding Customer Service: Salop Leisure, Shrewsbury
  • The John Clayton Award: Elizabeth Wilkinson MBE

» Take a look at the images from the evening on our Gallery page here...