2019 National Enterprise Network Awards Winners Announced at Flagship Event for the Enterprise Sector

The winners of the 2019 National Enterprise Network Awards were announced on Friday 22nd November. Host Nick Pandolfi named overall Winners and Highly Commended organisations in five categories at the Awards ceremony, part of the exciting, fun-packed and informative day-long National Enterprise Network Annual Conference, held at one Churchill place Canary Wharf courtesy of headline sponsors Barclays.

Leading names from the enterprise sector were brought together at the event, which led well into the evening. The packed attendance of leading enterprise movers and shakers joined us from across the country to engage with National Enterprise Network. Attendees were able to glean a significant amount of knowledge and commercial opportunities from the outstanding speakers and breakout sessions.

The award ceremony saw nine organisations, including a range of new and existing members from across England, rewarded for their excellence in the delivery of enterprise services.

Award sponsors Gallagher UK and the University of Essex presented award winners with an engraved trophy, with highly commended organisations given framed certificates to recognise their contribution.

NEN Chairman Alex Till commented:

“We were delighted to receive such high quality applications from both within, and outside the network. It was heartening to see just how many organisations there are across England, sharing our passion for inspiring and encouraging enterprise. And it was our pleasure to celebrate their achievements at the 2019 National Enterprise Network Awards ceremony.”

Choosing overall winners from the shortlist was a difficult task for judges Liz Smith, Market Director – Harrow and Edgware, Barclays UK, Aileen Evans, NEN Director and NEN Chairman Alex Till. In total, winners were announced in five categories, while a further three organisations were awarded a Highly Commended certificate.

The first winner to be announced was in the category of Enterprise Engagement of the Year, awarded to an organisation able to demonstrate how they have engaged with their clients, stakeholders, or local community in a multitude of different and truly effective ways. Sunderland-based North East BIC was announced as the winner in recognition of their support of Community Interest Company Bishopwearmouth Cooperative. Formed when Sunderland Council externalised a service supporting vulnerable adults, it operates as a commercial garden centre and provides adults with learning and physical disabilities, and or mental health needs, with employment opportunities, day care placements and access to many work-based training opportunities. North East BIC Social Enterprise Manager, Kevin Marquis was praised for supporting the business from day one, and for presenting an outstanding example of how, with the right specialist support in place, a social enterprise and co-operative can be enabled to flourish.

Innovation in Education is a new award category, created to recognise organisations who have fully embedded entrepreneurial spirit and enterprise into their educational environment. Sponsored by Gallagher Insurance, Aston Enterprise, a team based at Aston University were announced as the winner of this category. The judges heard details of their 2018-19 Enterprise & Entrepreneurship programme of activity, which had been designed to help students develop 21st century skills, and an entrepreneurial mindset. They were impressed by their clear mission to help students discover, experiment and launch new business ideas. Through excellent partnership support, students were able to access funding opportunities, and it was clear that the benefits of the programme were reaching beyond the students, and out to the wider Birmingham community.

The University of Greenwich were awarded Highly Commended in this category, in recognition of the innovative range of activities taking place in their Powerhouse Hub

Enterprise Support Champion of the Year seeks an individual within either the NEN network, or the wider enterprise sector whose contribution has been crucial in meeting the needs of the business and its clients. This year’s award went to Tony Robinson OBE. The brains behind a huge number of enterprise initiatives and campaigns, and one of the UK’s top 100 influencers in entrepreneurship, Tony was nominated by Jenn Crowther, CEO of NEN member Yorkshire in Business. Jenn described Tony’s support in the last year as “instrumental” as he helped the organisation develop and achieve sustainability through economic changes that had seen many other enterprise agencies merge or close.

A High Commended certificate went to the team behind the launch of social enterprise Birmingham Enterprise Community. Daniel Evans, Omran Al Habbal and Alex Balderstone were praised for creating a strong and diverse and community, truly welcoming to entrepreneurs and changemakers in the Midlands.

The Enterprise Impact Award is given to an NEN member organisation who can showcase how an exceptional client partnership has transformed the life and business of their client. StartUp Croydon were announced as the winner. In their application they shared the inspirational case study of Dunia Shafik, a mother who enrolled on their SEEK project, a programme established to support unemployed or economically inactive people to set up a new social enterprise. Dunia’s social business A Life of Choices was created to support families affected by youth violence and the knife crime epidemic. It was clear that the supportive and empathetic approach offered by

StartUp Croydon, had led to a significant transformation in Dunia’s life.

The ceremony concluded with the award category – Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year Award. Sponsored by the University of Essex, this category is for NEN members and was split into two sub categories to reflect differing turnover. It seeks to recognise organisations those members who are working hard to establish or maintain recognition and impact within their local communities.

In the under £750k turnover sub category, Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year was awarded to Colchester based Colbea. Noted for their strategic and astute practices including match-funding, sponsorship, partnerships and engagement with local businesses, the judges praised Colbea’s strong commitment and determination to support impactful initiatives. The end result is an agency that provides outstanding enterprise support, which is driving forward economic prosperity within Colbea’s community.

In the over £750k turnover sub category, Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year went to East Sussex based Let’s Do Business Group (LDBG). LDBG have experienced significant growth over the last three years - increasing turnover, maintaining profitability and growing reserves to allow for future investment in services, and securing sustainability. With more clients being supported, an enhanced reputation and glowing employee and client feedback, the judges felt that LDBG are a shining example of an enterprise support organisation that delivers a high quality service, and supports a happy workforce.

Gateshead based Transmit Startups received a Highly Commended in this category, in specific recognition of the focus this rapidly growing organisation have made on empowering entrepreneurs and simplifying business.

Full list of National Enterprise Network Award Winners 2019

*Enterprise Engagement Award*

WINNER: North East BIC

*Innovation in Education Award*

WINNER: Aston University

HIGHLY COMMENDED: University of Greenwich

*Enterprise Support Champion of the Year*

WINNER: Tony Robinson OBE

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Daniel Evans, Omran Al Habbal and Alex Balderstone from Birmingham Enterprise Community CIC

*Enterprise Impact Award*

WINNER: StartUp Croydon

*Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year Turnover Under £750k*

WINNER: Colbea

*Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year Turnover Over £750k*

WINNER: Let’s Do Business Group

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Transmit Startups

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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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