Business growth and potential were under the spotlight as the Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Boost competition unveiled its 2019 winners.
A diverse range of finalists took to the stage for the awards event held at Newcastle-under-Lyme College’s Performing Arts Centre. This year’s competition featured four major awards, for Entrepreneurial Spirit, Growth, and solo-entrepreneurs, awarded by the Business Boost committee, and the Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District Future Boost
Award. Now in its 11 th year, Business Boost attracted a record number of entries.
The major winners were: Entrepreneurial Spirit; Sempar Accountancy
Going for Growth; Alt-D web and software development
Flying Solo; il Capo Barbiere
BID Future Boost; Newcastle Pet Supplies
Each company received a cash prize of £1,500 to spend on developing their business. The judges also awarded their “special prize”, the Philip Astley Award, which went to Fresh2U, a Newcastle based catering company. There were also a range of further awards on offer. These included the award of a year’s free membership of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, which went to web design company CyberKiln; two part-funded apprentice prizes sponsored by the Realise Foundation, awarded to Sempar Accountancy and SyTech IT; a stand at the Chambers of Commerce Let’s Do Business showcase awarded to EBB Ltd and an advertising package for Newcastle-under-Lyme’s radio station the HitMix 107.5FM, won by Newcastle Pet Supplies.
Business Boost is run by the Newcastle-under-Lyme business community. A steering committee plan the annual competition and raise sponsorship to fund the prize pool. Its unique selling point is its concentration on business potential, with entries being judged on what they can achieve rather than on past glories.
Entrants are given support to develop business plans and encouraged in their efforts to create jobs and growth in the borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Committee Chair Sarah Da Silva, said: “This year’s competitors were of a high standard and it is an honour to be able to showcase and celebrate a wide range of successful and growing companies from the Borough of Newcastle- under-Lyme.”
The awards ceremony featured an interview with guest of honour Carol Shanahan, founder and managing director of Synectics Solutions and joint Chairman of Port Vale FC, alongside her husband, Kevin.
Carol and Kevin founded Synectics Solutions in 1992, in Newcastle-under- Lyme, and have grown the company to employ around 370 people. Working alongside Kevin, Carol bought Port Vale in May 2019. She talked about company culture and the importance of putting people at the centre of your business – whether this be staff or customers. Carol revealed that working in football had been a major culture shock, describing it as “an industry riddled by fear” due to short term contracts and the transient nature of players and coaching staff. But she revealed that she regularly talked to everyone including the Manager and players, adding: “It has been wonderful to see the transformation as we
have encouraged everyone to open up and be less fearful.”