Business Awards preview part I

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Excitement is building among Cornwall’s business community, as this year’s Cornwall Business Awards ceremony approaches.

Caron Archer of Padstow Brewing Company
Caron Archer of Padstow Brewing Company

No fewer than 34 companies have been shortlisted for the coveted annual awards, which is one of the highlights of Cornwall Business Week (May 12-16).

Presented by the Cornwall Development Company (CDC), in association with Business Cornwall magazine and Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, finalists from St Ives to Bude will make their way to St Mellion on Thursday, May 15, where over 300 business leaders are expected to witness the gala presentation, presided over by guest speaker Gerald Ratner.

In the days running up to the awards, we will be taking a look at the various categories up for grabs and some of the Cornish companies aspiring to win them.

To kick this mini-series off, we feature the Young Businessperson of the Year and Best New Business categories.

Cornwall has a dearth of burgeoning young business talent coming through, which is perfectly illustrated by the shortlisted candidates for the Young Businessperson category, representing Cornwall’s flourishing IT and food industries.

26-year old Josh Hocking, whose Redruth-based company ICT4 helps schools to make the most of superfast internet connections, declared himself “chuffed” to make the final three.

“Two years ago, I’d barely heard of the Cornwall Business Awards,” he says. “It was something older, established people won. Now I’m nominated, ‘chuffed’ is an understatement. I’m glad I still count as young!”

Meanwhile, Michael Postons has taken some of Cornwall’s natural heritage as the inspiration for his business – 3Deep Media.

Based out on the Lizard, 3Deep Media creates 3D digital models of shipwrecks and dive site mapping. On being shortlisted, Postons said: “I’ve worked hard building 3Deep Media. But win or lose, I guarantee no work will be done the morning after the awards!”

Posh Pasty's James Strawbridge
Posh Pasty’s James Strawbridge

The last finalist is chef and TV presenter James Strawbridge (29), who founded the Posh Pasty Company in 2013, which is also nominated in the Best New Business category.

He said: “I’m incredibly happy the company is shortlisted because it’s a proper celebration of all the local food producers we work with. It shows business reputation can be by built working within a community.”

Staying with Cornwall’s vibrant food & drink sector, another company shortlisted for Best New Business is the Padstow Brewing Company, which is the venture of Cornwall’s only female head brewer – Caron Archer.

She says the company’s first year of business has being something of a rollercoaster ride. “It’s been one heck of a year – mad plate spinning, massive highs and lows – but we’ve loved it all.”

Completing the shortlist of three is Pool Innovation Centre-based Happy Energy. Barely a year old, the company, which makes properties more energy efficient, already employs six people, and is projected to turn over £10 million this year.

Tomorrow, we look at the businesses up for awards in the Best Third Sector and Customer Focus categories

For the full shortlist, click here.