The search for the region’s top businesses gets under way this month (June) with the launch of the prestigious Thames Valley Business Awards 2010.
Now in their 16th year, the awards celebrate the brightest and the best companies, with categories stretching across the export arena, management team successes and employee satisfaction.
Headlining this year’s awards ceremony as guest of honour and speaker will be the Rt Hon Lord Paddy Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats who now sits as a Liberal peer in the House of Lords.
A former Royal Marine Commando and intelligence officer, Lord Ashdown was Liberal MP for Yeovil for 19 years, leading the Liberal Democrat party for 11 years. After retiring from the Commons, he then spent four years as UN High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Awards chairman David Murray, said: “We are delighted to have secured Paddy Ashdown as our guest speaker. Not only is he one of our most respected and experienced politicians, but with the new coalition government in number 10, we can expect a fascinating insight into the workings of the new powerbase.
“As the political landscape changes, so too is the local economy. Entering these awards provides huge credibility and authority within the business community and many past winners have used their achievements here as a platform for future success, with customers, investors and employees alike. We hope 2010 will continue that trend and encourage as many organisations as possible to enter.”
This year’s awards programme sees a new sponsor for The SME of the Year in the shape of leading accountants and business advisers James Cowper. Managing partner Steve Clarke called the Thames Valley “home for some of the UK’s most innovative and exciting SME businesses” and added: “We encourage the Thames Valley business community to really get involved with these awards so we may acknowledge that despite the tough economic climate, there are still some great businesses doing great things.” Last year’s SME award was won by Eynsham-based Maylarch Environmental.
Searching for The Business of the Year is top law firm Pitmans, whose team is keen to see plenty of entries challenging Maidenhead company SDL for the title it has already won twice.
Now in its fifth year, The Dynamic Business Award, sponsored by Deloitte, is always one of the most highly-sought after and has attracted winners from entries including last year’s joint winners BaxterStorey and Azzurri Communications.
Looking to reward the top team behind a successful company is The Royal Bank of Scotland, sponsor of The Business Management Team category. Last year Peros from High Wycombe, the UK’s leading foodservice provider of fair-trade and ethical products scooped top honours.
Commercial property specialist Vail Williams steps up as a sponsor for the second year running, with a slightly different take on this year’s employee-focused category. This year the team is looking for The Best Company to Work For and wants to hear from those who say their organisations have creative working styles and innovative working practices.
And, with international markets playing an ever increasingly important role, The Thames Valley Export Award, sponsored by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) South East, seeks to recognise and celebrate the successes and achievements of local businesses engaged in overseas trade. The 2009 title was won by Chesham company Axell Wireless.
The full list of awards is:
The awards presentation will be held on November 18 at the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre, Madejski Stadium, Reading, with around 300 of the region’s business leaders and top companies expected to attend.
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