From education to employment

The best of Cheshire business has been celebrated in this year’s High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise.

The Awards celebrate the initiative, innovation and impact of the region’s organisations – and the people behind them. Now in their 15th year, the Cheshire High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise, held in partnership with the University of Chester, have established a reputation as the premier business awards for Cheshire, Halton and Warrington.

The winners were announced by Chancellor of the University, Dr Gyles Brandreth, at the University’s Queen’s Park site with the prestigious event introduced by the High Sheriff of Cheshire, Robert Mee DL, and the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eunice Simmons.

Professor Simmons said: “These Awards very much align with our aspirations for the University, its students and communities. One of the key themes of our Citizen Student Strategy is building social capital. For us, this means finding new and creative ways to ‘open doors’ for our students. We want to ensure that our students and graduates have the connections they need to create and seize opportunities for their personal, academic and career development.

“Enabling our students to define their development in this way means that ‘success’ emerges as a much more meaningful picture than academic achievement alone. All of the businesses involved contribute to this, and it’s so important to recognise and celebrate that.”

The High Sheriff of Cheshire, Robert Mee DL, said:

“It is really inspiring to see so many incredible businesses and business leaders here in Cheshire creating employment and opportunity in our region. Now in their 15th year, I am extremely proud of the Awards and would like to thank our generous sponsors, everyone involved in the organisation and everyone who entered and took part.”

The winners were:

  • The High Sheriff’s Award for Excellence in Enterprise, sponsored by the University of Chester was presented to Altimex Ltd, an electronics manufacturing and fibre optics solutions company, based in Ellesmere Port.    

Davinder Lotay, Managing Director of Altimex, said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to have won the High Sheriff’s Award for Enterprise this year. It is a humbling commendation of the hard work the team puts into the business and an acknowledgement of the strategies we have in place. Winning this award is an encouraging motivator to fuel our determination to continue to strive further with our business.”

The runner-up was HCD Economics, based in Daresbury, which was created out of an alliance between the public and third sectors in response to the ever-growing demand for economic analysis within healthcare and specifically the need for health economics and business intelligence within the public and third sectors.

  • High Sheriff’s Award for Exceptional Start-Up, sponsored by Warrington Borough Council, was presented to Bio&Me, based in Chester, which makes ‘gut-loving’ prebiotic granola.

Jon Walsh, CEO and Co-Founder of Bio&Me, said:

“Bio&Me winning the best start-up award was a huge honour for my co-founder Dr Megan Rossi (The Gut Health Doctor), the team here in Chester and myself.  We work so hard to make the best, tastiest gut health granolas, porridges, and yoghurts possible, then to have it validated by external experts is just wonderful.”   

The runner-up was Sean Bailey Wellness CIC, a health and wellbeing coaching and training company in Runcorn.

  • The High Sheriff’s Award for Digital Innovation, sponsored by Driveworks, was presented to Think Beyond, a management consultancy based in Knutsford.

Mercè Cozens, Co-Founder at Think Beyond, said:

“The team and I are delighted to have won the Digital Innovation award for our neuroscience research services on how we can predict or measure emotional response to brands, campaigns, experiences (customer experiences and employee experiences) as well as packaging. Thank you to the High Sheriff and the University of Chester for this fabulous award.” 

The runner up was Aptus Clinical, a specialist full-service Clinical Contract Research Organisation (CRO,) based in Alderley Edge.

  • The High Sheriff’s Award for Outstanding Family Business, sponsored by Roberts Bakery, was presented to Amelia Knight, a beauty brand based in Knutsford.

Mark Salmon, UK Manufacturing Director and Group Technical Director at Amelia Knight, said:

“I was honoured to collect the award for Outstanding Family Business.  We really are a family business with the other Directors being my Mum, Dad, three brothers and sister. However, we couldn’t achieve anything without our amazing colleagues right across the business.  Our Chairman, David Salmon, believes passionately in a family business ethos as well as engaging and helping local communities.”

The runner up was Hydraulics Online Ltd, a hydraulic equipment supplier in Alsager.

  • The Young Business Person of the Year, sponsored by Mornflake, was presented to Matt Pyke, from Fly High Media in Hooton.

Matt Pyke, Founder and Managing Director of Fly High Media said:

“I am absolutely delighted to receive such a prestigious award. The award is not only for me, but my fantastic team at Fly High Media who consistently provide an excellent digital marketing service to our clients.”

The runner-up was Christopher Bullock from QV Bioelectronics in Alderley Edge.

  • The High Sheriff’s Award for Outstanding Community Engagement, sponsored by Encirc was presented to We Mind the Gap, a social mobility charity that operates in the North West and North Wales.

Laura Columbine, Programme Lead at We Mind the Gap, said:

“We feel privileged to have won a High Sheriff’s Award for outstanding community engagement, recognising the genuine care and support our team have shown to those who need it most.”

The runner-up was Sean Bailey Wellness CIC, a health and wellbeing coaching and training company in Runcorn.

  • The Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by Barlows, was Aiden Melbourne, from Chester-based chartered accountants Shaw Austin. The runners-up were James Ellison from Essar and Ben Edwards from Encirc 360.

Michael Robinson, Client Portfolio Manager at Shaw Austin Chartered Accountants, said:

“I am really pleased for Aiden that his hard work has been recognised by winning this year’s High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise – Apprentice of the Year. This is a testament to his hard work to date whilst working at Shaw Austin and studying towards his AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualification.”

  • The High Sheriff’s Survive and Thrive Award for Charity was presented to My CWA, which offers domestic abuse support and advice and is based in Crewe.

Beverley Wrighton, Deputy Chief Executive of My CWA, said:

“For over 40 years, My CWA has helped people across Cheshire to live free from the fear of domestic abuse. Our dedicated team of staff and volunteers work tirelessly in often difficult circumstances and the pandemic presented us with exceptionally trying circumstances. However, our dedicated team remained creative and tenacious in ensuring our clients continued to have access to the support they needed and felt safe in a time where isolation has been an issue across our communities. We are honoured to have their efforts recognised by the prestigious High Sheriff of Cheshire’s Awards for Enterprise.”

The runner-up was Chapter (West Cheshire) Ltd, a mental health charity based in Ellesmere Port.

  • The Award for Outstanding Cheshire and Warrington Business Leader, sponsored by Cheshire Business Leaders, was Adrian Curry of Encirc 360 based in Elton, the only company to offer a full 360 approach to the beverage supply chain, creating flexibility, support and minimising carbon impact.

Adrian Curry, MD of Encirc, said:

“I am honoured to have received this wonderful accolade. My thanks go to the whole team at Encirc, without whom this would never have been possible. We have begun an incredible journey to represent our region in the best way we can, and lead the decarbonisation of our sector globally. I very much look forward to ensuring that we keep Cheshire and Warrington firmly on the map with some very exciting times ahead.”    

The winners were decided by a panel of judges made up of senior members of the business community. All the shortlisted finalists were invited to the Awards evening.

The evening concluded with thanks from Lady Alexis Redmond MBE, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire.

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