A HOST of prestigious awards were presented to outstanding local companies at ‘The Oldham Business Awards’ in May.
Around 500 locals and special guests gathered at The Queen Elizabeth Hall for the dinner and ceremony, when the winners of this year’s awards were revealed.
Now in its ninth year, the annual event celebrates the success of Oldham’s business community, and all that is good about business in the borough.
There was music from Oldham Music Centre Youth wind band, along with a music and drama performance by Mahdlo Youth Zone youngsters.
Special guest for the night was famous comedian Romesh Ranganathan, who entertained with his stories about being a dad and family duties, while MC for the night was Martyn Torr.
This year the event was rounded off with an after-party dance, hosted by DJs Clint Boon and Elliot Eastwick from radio station Revolution 96.2.
There were double celebrations for O’Donnell solicitors as they scooped both the ‘Start-Up Business of the Year’ and ‘Business of the Year Under £1 million’ awards.
The firm was only launched in January 2016 by husband and wife, James and Rebecca O’Donnell, but already boasts offices in Lees and Uppermill, as well as an expanding team.
They said: “Winning both categories is an incredible achievement. The directors and staff are extremely humbled and grateful for the incredible support from clients and the local community.
“We would like to thank all of our clients, friends and colleagues and all those who have supported our development and we look forward to continuing to provide you with straight talking legal advice.”
Dual Stream, who specialise in the installation and maintenance of electronic security systems, were crowned the ‘Business of the Year £1million<£5million’.
Managing Director Chris Cornelly launched the company, which is based in Holinwood, just three-and-a-half years and since then their growth, turnover and success has rocketed.
Now they employ 32 staff and have a national footprint with clients across the country, although Chris is based at their Oldham office.
He explained: “When we started, we had one a major supermarket chain who wanted to support us and we’ve just grown from there, and we now deal with multi-million pound national companies.
“Winning the award is a great achievement, especially as it’s our first time entering. We’ve got a great businesses and we were confident we’d do well.”
The company, which employs a lot of young people including apprentices through Oldham College, is hoping to add to their success with more awards later in the year.
‘Business of the Year £5million<£10million’ was awarded to Bunkabin, the leading supplier of on-site sleeper and facility units.
The family-run business, which operates from its purpose-built factory in Oldham, impressed judges with its work across a wide range of sectors, including construction, agriculture, education and defence, as well as with numerous events and festivals.
In recent years it has supplied units to the Ministry of Defence and for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, and has supplied to every Glastonbury Festival since 2000.
Luke Rothwell, Director at Bunkabin, said: “We are delighted to have won this award. It has been a fantastic year for us as we continue to grow as a business, taking on lots of exciting new customers and, importantly, continuing to work with older ones.
“We get to work with all types of people, across many different industries. However, we are committed to our ethos of ‘treating customers how we would want to be treated’, meaning customers both old and new enjoy working with us.”
Luke’s father Frank, who recently appeared on Channel 4’s ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’, won ‘Businessman of the Year’ in 2015.
Chadderton-based Ultimate Products was awarded the ‘Business of the Year over £10million’ accolade.
The firm specialises in the sourcing and development of branded homeware, kitchen, luggage, electrical and audio goods supplied to retailers.
Their headquarters are at Manor Mill but they also have sites in Belgium, Hong Kong and China, and have experienced strong sales growth in recent years.
Craig Holden, group HR director, said: “We are delighted to win the award. This is the first time we have entered.
“We want to increase the recognition and awareness of Ultimate Products in the Oldham area, so more people know who we are and what we do.
“We want to recruit more young graduates and work with more businesses in the area. Winning this award will really help.”
Eric Bishyika was named ‘Young Entrepreneur’ as he continues to carve out a successful career after launching his own business – SW Clothing – aged just 13 years old.
Eric, now 20, used money from his paper round to launch the company while he was still at school, and has gone on to win a number of awards and featured on BBC News and Channel 4.
He said: “To win the Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award’ means a whole lot to me and also for Oldham as there are many young people with untapped talent.
“This is an example that if you work hard and believe in yourself there’s no limit to what you can achieve.”
SW Clothing is a bespoke fashion brand that sells all types of unique designs for men and women, including t-shirts, hoodies, dresses, playsuits, socks, shorts, hats and more.
The award for ‘Supporting Young People’ went to Linda Lewis Kitchens Ltd, for its dedication to staff development and training.
The company was founded by Linda Lewis in 2006 when she noticed a gap in the catering industry for suppliers of Pizza Equipment in the UK market.
Over 10 years later LLK is now the sole importer of Cuppone Pizza equipment for the UK and Ireland, as well as supplying many different types of catering equipment.
In the past year, LLK moved into a new 13,000 sqft premises, launched a fully operational demonstration kitchen for customers to ‘try before they buy’, as well as increasing their staff by 50 per cent.
In 2013, Managing Director Linda Lewis was honoured to be awarded ‘Business Woman of the Year’ at the Oldham Business Awards.
Jenna Lewis, Business Development Manager, said: “We are very proud to win this award and be recognised by our local peers.
“Our loyal and hardworking team are what makes LLK a success and it is very humbling to receive recognition for that.”
Delph-based Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI) were honoured with the ‘Community Engagement’ award for their work in both the public and private sectors.
The company is one of the fastest-growing language service providers in the world, offering translation and interpreting services.
Over the last few years, they’ve worked hard to support a range of local groups, charities and communities, especially students and young people who have a difficult time getting onto the career ladder, or understanding the opportunities available.
Capita TI work with local schools and colleges on a number of initiatives, including an internship programme to allow students to gain an insight into the language industry.
Joanne Taylor, Head of Marketing, said: “We’re so thrilled to have won this award! The competition this year was stiffer than ever, but we’re delighted to see the hard work we’ve been putting in has paid off.
“The work we do with the community is on-going, and we’re seeing the benefits not only for those involved, but to the business as a whole.”
Award-winning Tour.Media added another gong to its collection as they picked up the ‘Young Business’ award.
Tour.Media specialises in producing promotional 360˚ virtual tours on behalf of Google for clients throughout the UK and Europe.
In less than two years Tour.Media has been involved in pioneering significant Google virtual tour firsts, notably the Christmas Markets in Manchester and Kendal Calling Music Festival in Cumbria.
Daryl Jackson, Managing Director who was also shortlisted in the ‘Young Entrepreneur category’, said: “It is an honour to have been selected and put forward to the final of two Oldham Business Awards.
“The competition was extremely strong so it did come as a shock when I heard Tour.Media had won. I have never been more proud of being an Oldham business.
“The members of the OBA steering group do an excellent job organising the event, and it’s clear that they care deeply about Oldham businesses.
“It has been an incredible experience that has opened up various opportunities and I highly recommend local businesses to enter next year.”
There were celebrations for Ryder and Dutton who were named ‘Employer of the Year’ as their head towards their centenary of trading in 2019.
The multi disciplinary property business, which has a busy office on Uppermill High Street, adds the accolade to a list of many national awards over the last three years, including ‘Best Large Estate Agent’ as judged by The Negotiator and ‘Business of the Year’ at last year’s Oldham Business Awards.
Saddleworth-based director James Ebden said: “Winning all our awards has been great for the business but now being recognised as the best employer in Oldham is something we are equally proud of.
“The judges have recognised we value our amazing staff. At the time of the entry 49 of our staff had Industry recognised qualifications and the judges were impressed by our ongoing commitment to make our staff the best in the industry.
“We think having the best staff helps give our customers a premium service which is the best not just in Saddleworth but in the entire country!”
‘Business Person of the Year’ was presented to Mike Braddock, CEO of PARFAS, who are based on Lees Road and operate a Category 2, BS5979 approved Alarm Receiving Centre, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
PARFAS rebranded four years ago under Mike’s new leadership and are a security systems integrator providing risk assessment, installation and monitoring services across the UK and abroad, primarily to commercial and industrial customers.
Mike said: “It was nice to be nominated for an award. But this is an award for the whole company – not me. Without our staff, we couldn’t achieve what we have done. So I accept this award very much on their behalf.”
PARFAS install CCTV cameras, intruder alarms, provide access control services, cover gates and barriers and offer perimeter detection too.
Using the latest thinking and technology PARFAS are able to design, create and install systems that are commensurate with current and emerging risks.
A ‘Special Recognition Award’ was given to Craig Dean, chief executive of the Web Applications Group, whose work includes designing IT software for the global travel and tourism industry.
Craig has been a pioneer in the technology industry, helping to create jobs and investment locally.