Business Awards preview part VI

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Last year’s recipient of the Best International Business award – innovative recumbent tricycle maker, Inspired Cycle Engineering – went on to take the coveted Winner of Winners title.

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John Dudding (L) and Stuart Harwin of Hirst Instruments pose with two customers at a recent installation in China

Can it triumph again? Not if Hirst Instruments has its way. In 2005, the company spotted an opportunity to export its sophisticated magnetic equipment to growing manufacturers in China. As a result, it has seen 65% growth over three years, creating new jobs, and is accordingly a shortlisting for Best International Business.

MD, John Dudding, says: “We’ve worked hard to be market leaders in China and it’s starting to pay off. Being a finalist is an extra boost and a good reason to open some champagne!”

But don’t overlook the challenge of offshore personnel transfer pioneer Reflex Marine, which is also shortlisted for the title of Employer of the Year.

“We’ve gone from dining room table, to industrial unit, to innovation award shortlist in a year. Cornwall’s the place to be creative!” That’s the assessment of commercial director, Neil Chamberlain, whose business, CNC Design, is competing for the Business Innovation of the Year accolade.

It is up against Hayle-based Information Technology specialist, IT West, which has spent several years working closely with customers across Cornwall to develop Onewhitebox: a single unit combining website, customer relationship management software, online marketing and stock control sysetm.

“Onewhitebox is the brainchild of Phil, our MD,” explains sales and marketing manager, Tracey Bailey. “Our team and customers have spent years refining the idea, to make it really user-friendly, packed with useful functions and fully focused on real challenges businesses face every day.”

And finally in this category, Bude-based Schoolcomms has continued to thrive since winning the 2011 award for Dynamic Growth Business. This year, the company is shortlisted for Business Innovation of the Year, for its School Gateway smartphone app, enabling schools and parents to connect for free.

Roger Edwards and Paul Sweaton of Vision Financial Planning
Roger Edwards and Paul Sweaton of Vision Financial Planning

Finally in our preview of this Thursday’s Cornwall Business Awards, are the Entrepreneur and Business Leader of the Year categories.

Social entrepreneur Amanda Barlow, of Spiezia Organics and Made For Life, receives a second consecutive nomination for Entrepreneur of the Year, while it is a first shortlisting for Jess Collins, whose agency Type has been spearheading the growth of content marketing techniques in Cornwall.

They are up against Vision Independent Financial Planning joint managing directors, Paul Sweaton and Roger Edwards, who are also in the running for the Business Leader of the Year title, as is Brian Etherington Meat Company MD, Mark Etherington.

Finally, Matthew Lugg of Helston-based MJL Group received a third consecutive nomination for Business Leader of the Year, and will be hoping to reclaim the title he last won in 2012.

For a full list of finalists, click here

The Cornwall Business Awards form part of the Cornwall Business Week celebrations.