Open for business
Date published: 07 March 2012
THE Queen Elizabeth Hall decked out for the big occasion – the One Oldham Business Awards ceremony
A GLAMOROUS ceremony honoured Oldham’s business heroes in tough economic times.
The fourth One Oldham Business Awards 2012 surpassed last year’s amazing event, reeling in more nominations than ever before.
The Queen Elizabeth Hall was packed with 461 guests who enjoyed a three-course feast at the glitzy black-tie event on Friday night.
And competing for the accolades were a diverse range of businesses from beauty salons to car companies, each thoroughly deserved of the gongs up for grabs.
This year there was an added award for a long-standing contribution to the business community, thanks to the Stoller Foundation Trust. It was won by Chronicle business reporter Martyn Torr – the witty compere for the evening.
After a champagne reception, diners were entertained by BareBones – a three-piece from Oldham College – before a fun game of true or false, delivered by Oldham’s True Spirit, had the audience out of their seats.
Tenor Martin Toal sang the anthems from the Six Nations and had the whole room tapping their spoons in time with some up-tempo Irish jigs.
Guests enjoyed visiting the casino, which made £280 for Dr Kershaw’s Hospice and a raffle was held, with proceeds going to Mahdlo.
Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon, said that a lot of people would say they shouldn’t be spending money on an event like this in these tough economic times – but he felt it was exactly the right time to recognise and celebrate the achievements of Oldham people in a rare and fantastic event.
“Oldham means business but we all have our roles to play individually” he said. “Jobs have been created today as a result of the people in this room.
“There is a sense that Oldham could be turning around – Oldham can be a better place tomorrow than it is today.”
A pyrotechnic display ended the evening and a vote of thanks was given by David Benstead, chair of the Business Leadership Group.
Debbie Abrahams MP said: “The One Oldham Business Awards are a wonderful idea. This was my first visit to the awards and I’ve really enjoyed seeing who won what.”
Steve Kilroy, chairman of the One Oldham Business Awards steering group, said: “The aim of the awards is to celebrate business success while also recognising the contribution that businesses make in helping to shape the fabric of our society.
“The awards reward business excellence among companies located within the Oldham Metropolitan Borough, whether it be for wealth creation, innovation, inspirational leadership or good practice in people management, skills development or environmental improvements.”
NatWest's relationship director, Steve Lowe said: “We've been involved with the business awards since day one because we wanted to give something back to the community.
“Everyone saw Oldham as bad news but the town is doing well in many ways. And what better way to show it than to have a celebration and awards evening.
Business of the Year
(over £5m turnover
WINNER: OMC Ford
FINALISTS: Applied Language Solutions Ltd
and First Choice Homes, Oldham
Business of the Year
WINNER: Optima Cars Ltd
FINALISTS: Regional Science Centre
Business of the Year
(turnover under £1m)
WINNER: Fresca Restaurants
FINALISTS: AMP Fab Ltd
and Face and Body Shop
Start-up business of the Year
WINNER: Caremark, Oldham and Tameside
FINALISTS: Hazlenut Bakery and Desi Sweets
Young Entrepreneur of the Year
WINNER: Aaron Welby
FINALISTS: Arfan Kurshid
and Rebecca Jarvis
Retailer of the Year Award
WINNERS: Alexander Jewellers
FINALISTS: Cafe Lahore
and Muso’s Music Centre
Innovation and Design Award
WINNERS: Stonerig Raceway
FINALISTS: Boxing is NEET
and Regional Science
Environmental Best Practice Award
WINNERS: Diodes Zetex Semiconductors
FINALISTS: Park Cakes
and Axiom Displays
Businessman of the Year
WINNER: Gavin Wheeldon
FINALISTS: Kevin Shaw and David Wadsworth
Businesswoman of the Year
WINNER: Valerie Simpson
FINALISTS: Laura Derbyshire
and Pam Pelham
A special four-page feature in tonight’s Chronicle and eChron covers all the awards and the event