2016 National Enterprise Network Awards winners announced

Enterprise support excellence recognised in unique awards programme

The winners of the 2016 National Enterprise Network awards were announced at the NatWest sponsored National Enterprise Network Annual Conference on Friday 18th November. Winners in seven categories were announced by National Enterprise Network Chairman Graham Marley and facilitator and BBC broadcaster Tanya Beckett at the event held at the RBS Conference Centre in London.

National Enterprise Network received high quality entries from our network of members across each award category – testament to the excellence and achievements across the Network. Andy Lee, regional Enterprise Manager at NatWest joined NEN Chairman Graham Marley and NEN Chief Executive Dawn Whiteley MBE in judging each entry and choosing the eventual winners.

Before announcing the winners of categories that had received applications, National Enterprise Network first announced the winner of a category that had seen nominations in from NEN directly. Allowing NEN to recognise its members where they showed examples of exceptional communications for Enterprise Communicator of the Year. Finance for Enterprise in Doncaster were announced as the winners of this category in light of their vibrant communications, regular messaging and successes and impact in releasing news, such as their issuing of over £1 million worth of Start Up Loans), news shared with NEN consistently. Start Up Croydon were highly commended in recognition of their high impact and successful rebranding earlier this year.

The Client Engagement of the Year category sought to identify NEN member organisations that have used creative methods to connect to their clients.

Yorkshire in Business (previously known as Yorkshire Coast Enterprise) took this year’s award, in recognition of its involvement in the award-winning social enterprise and shop local movement, Totally Locally. Yorkshire in business clearly demonstrated the impact Totally Locally Women had to the 70 participants of the programme and their continuing work alongside the wider Totally locally programme is hugely impressive - including establishing a quarterly town market to give small businesses a high street presence, the running of a pop up shop at a local landmark, working with Coast & Vale Voluntary Action to create Totally Socially, as well as a recent three day awareness event at Scarborough castle where all local businesses were invited to exhibit their products.

The Community/Stakeholder Engagement of the Year award looked to recognise NEN member organisations on a planned or unplanned project or campaign with their local community or a key stakeholder.

The 2016 award was won by South Durham Enterprise. South Durham Enterprise was formed through the merger of two enterprise agencies in July 2010 and since that time has provided a range of enterprise support projects to the numerous communities across the area. With a head office in Bishop Auckland, the Agency’s work within the Town is of particular importance to the organisation and the longer term economic future of the region. South Durham Enterprise’s application outlined an impressive number of projects that are led by the agency, as one of two organisations set up to run and develop a number of local regeneration projects. The sheer size and number of projects underway sets a real challenge – one that is tackled with strong partnerships, exceptional communications and incredible cross organisational support.

With awareness that there are groups of individuals that often work hard together to achieve great things, we recognised an Enterprise Team of the Year, asking members to nominate a particular team whose support is invaluable to the success of their organisation in meeting the news of the business and it clients.

The team at Business Enterprise Fund in Yorkshire and the North East was recognised as our Enterprise team of the Year in recognition of their work to bring a new generation of enterprise support champions into the business. Simon Jackson, Head of Investment at Business and Enterprise Finance recognised that whilst the business had a large team of very experienced lenders, several could see retirement on the horizon and that the business needed to start to build a younger team for the future. This is being achieved by the experienced lenders passing on their knowledge within the business to a new generation who can take the business forward further.

RiDO was highly commended in this category.

The Unsung Hero of the Year award, sponsored by Cobweb Information, recognises member to nominate individual staff member who are not necessarily in the limelight, but whose contribution is crucial in meeting the needs of the business and its clients.

Lorna Oldham from WSX Enterprise was announced as this year’s winner, nominated by colleague Peter Grant. Lorna is Manager of the Aldershot Community Enterprise Centre; a start up centre that’s purpose is to integrate military and civilian communities in North West Hampshire, and create new entrepreneurs in the local economy. This partnership over the last two years has generated over 60 new jobs and 35 new enterprises.

From a standing start, Lorna organised contractors, suppliers, new prospective tenants and recruited a small team of Army wives and dependants who run the centre day to day on behalf of WSX Enterprise. Thanks to her diligence, infectious personality, ability to work with customers at all levels and exceptional organisational skills, Laura has built the centre into the success it is today. She is also currently shortlisted for an Inspire Award, in light of the business working with its local communities.

The Future of Enterprise Support Award was split into two sub categories to reflect differing turnover. This category was designed to showcase member organisation that have been exceptionally innovative in their approaches to make activities successful and sustainable despite any difficulties they face in the current climate. In the under £750k turnover sub category, the Future of Enterprise Support Award was awarded to Airedale Enterprise.

Airedale’s application demonstrated sheer resilience in the face of change. A major blow came with the end of its long term contract with Bradford Council – who had part funded Airedale’s business advice service for over 30 years – but Airedale have worked hard to introduce an incredible number of new initiatives to ensure they are still able to provide free advice to those starting up in the district. This year, Airedale Enterprise Services is also celebrating 33 years of unbroken support to pre starts, new starts & existing businesses in Yorkshire. South Durham Enterprise was highly commended in this category.

In the over £750k turnover sub category, the Future of Enterprise Support Award went to Menta in Suffolk. In their application, Menta clearly highlighted their innovative thinking in providing services and solutions to their business clients – offering online training partnerships with Google and launching an eLearning partnership to offer over 700 interactive eLearning resources to the clients they work with. Income streams are enhanced with new business support and personal development packages, as well as the publication of a new magazine that offers a unique way to showcase Menta stories, offer support and provide income to the agency too.

In our last award of the programme, sponsored by NatWest, we announced the Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year – with the judges selecting two winners based on their turnover bands. For turnover under £750k, the Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year was awarded to Start Up Croydon. As well as undertaking a major re-brand to Start Up Croydon, the team has enhanced and extended its work with its partners and stakeholders over the last year – including involvement in the popular Croydon Business Month and as founding partner of Love Croydon Jobs. The team also work with Croydon Chamber and member companies; and are proud to have developed an enhanced relationship with NatWest and RBS that has seen the creation of a bespoke a plan of support for Croydon based start-ups and small businesses. The organisation is also a key community champion with its sponsorship of Best New Business at the Croydon Business Excellence Awards and are driving forward a new initiative called Be The Change - a ground breaking, inspirational programme aimed at year 9 students who, for one reason or another, may have become disengaged with school or lack confidence in their own abilities.

For turnover over £750k, the Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year was announced as PNE Group from Newcastle. PNE Group has emerged from a pinnacle year of a bold strategic change, which included a restructure, rebrand and reassessment of its offer to the enterprise landscape. This 12-month journey that has carried PNE to a position of strength within the enterprise arena and they were recognised with this award for that very reason.

For 35 years PNE have delivered enterprise support to the North East region and beyond, continuing to adapt, reinvent and create opportunities to add value to the world. This year its strategic changes, introduced to evolve and redefine ourselves as a company in response to barriers defined by the industry, economy and social context in which we work, has reached its objective. It has restructured its organisation and its processes through digitisation, rebranded to create a stronger, clearer voice within the enterprise area, and reassessed the value of our impact – launching bold new initiatives in response; including the launch of a free, online chat facility for start-up or pre-start-ups that has been very well received. Business Enterprise Fund was also highly commended in this sub category.

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About National Enterprise Network

National Enterprise Network’s Mission is to represent, unite and support all organisations who are passionate about inspiring and encouraging enterprise. We support our membership by: Representing their interests to government and others in the public and private sector, showcasing a unique national network of credible, quality assured enterprise support organisations. Promoting the successes they achieve and demonstrating the value they add to local communities and the wider economy. Connecting them to people and projects inside and outside the Network, to share valuable knowledge, skills and opportunities for even greater success.

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