The Oldham Business Awards presentation ceremony – the borough’s celebration of all that is positive about the business community – made a glorious return after a pandemic-hampered three-year absence.
The plush Queen Elizabeth Hall venue was packed to the rafters on Friday night (7/10/22) as Oldham’s business leaders, employees and their families and friends came together to enjoy and congratulate the winners on another truly special night – the first of its kind since 2019 courtesy of the covid pandemic, and more recently, the sad passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
Hosted by popular former Chronicle Business Editor Martyn Torr and ITV’s Caroline Whitmore, the evening overall was a huge success, with the final revellers not leaving the venue until the early hours of Saturday.
There were 11 categories receiving awards on the night.
Winner; Upturn Enterprise Ltd
Shortlisted: Summit Up Climbing and Collective Travel Limited.
The five-strong Upturn team took delightedly to the stage to receive their award, with Craig Kennedy, from category sponsor Koder.ly, saying: “This is such an important award this evening, so congratulations to everyone on their success.”
Young Business of the Year
Winner; VTA Recruitment
Shortlisted: Theatre Dance Academy and Suki’s Wardrobe Ltd.
This category was kindly sponsored by the Asian Business Leaders, and after presenting the award, Muzahid Khan said: “It is so important that we inspire and motivate young businesses, so congratulations to the younger generation out there tonight.”
Business Person of the Year
Winner; Shereen Howarth – Cornerstone Estates and Lettings Ltd.
Shortlisted: Andrew Foden – M Group, Oldham and Rubbi Bhogal-Wood – Wild and Form Digital Ltd.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Winner; Reesa Nawas – Golden Petals Pre-school Ltd.
Shortlisted: Briony Morrey – Sidney and Sapphire and Rebecca Flemming – RF Dance.
A hugely significant category, this victory clearly meant so much to Reesa, who said: “I’m so excited and very proud to win this – I didn’t expect it!”
Start up Business of the Year
Winner; Some Like It Hot
Shortlisted: Raise Tuition.
Employer of the Year
Winner; Ripple Group
Shortlisted: Catalyst Services UK and K&M Global Ltd.
Another hugely popular category, and the Ripple Group staff could hardly contain themselves on the stage as they were presented with their award by category sponsor Frank Rothwell, on behalf of Latics.
“It’s been absolutely worth waiting for,” said one of the ecstatic Ripple team.
Mr Rothwell added: “On behalf of Oldham Athletic, we are very proud to sponsor this award.”
Business of the Year (turnover up to £1m)
Winner; Future Safety Ltd.
Shortlisted: AT Therapy and Summit Up Climbing.
Business of the Year (turnover between £1m and £5m)
Winner; Catalyst Services UK
Shortlisted: Precision Pallets and Cases Ltd and K&M Global Ltd.
Business of the Year (turnover over £5m)
Winner; Online4baby Ltd
Shortlisted: ePower Trucks / Lift Safe Ltd and Wiggett Construction Group Ltd.
Clearly one of the most popular wins of the evening, the Online4baby team certainly lapped up the applause while being presented with their award by Chris Burke from category sponsors, Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd.
Supporting Young People Award
Winner; Foresight Business Solutions
Shortlisted: Skills 4 All and Barlows UK LTD.
Micro Business of the Year
Winner; LDM UK
Shortlisted: The Arundel Bakery and M Group Oldham.
The LDM team were ‘very, very proud’ to secure their success at winning this award, with Craig Barrett, from category sponsor Foresight, saying: “It’s so very important that we all continue to support these small businesses – congratulations to everyone at LDM.”
Arguably the most popular presentation of the evening, however, came midway through the evening when new Latics co-owner and chairman Frank Rothwell was handed a prestigious ‘Special Recognition’ award by Sir Norman Stoller.
Sir Norman admitted during his presentation speech that colourful Frank ‘had more courage in his little finger’ than he had in his whole body – some testament indeed!
Frank said: “The support of all the people of Oldham has always been so humbling.
“This is a massive honour for me, but I’ve always enjoyed my work down the years, it’s never been a chore.”
Founded in 2009, the awards have become part of the Oldham business fabric, with attendance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall maxing out at more than 600 people.
Covid regulations and government-led lockdowns mean the awards have not been held for three years, but the steering group behind the event has always been meeting on a regular basis during the pandemic.
Headed by former BAE Systems executive Steve Kilroy, from Chadderton, the group continued to work hard behind the scenes, meeting by Zoom technology to comply with pandemic regulations.
The Oldham Business Awards also continues to raise funds for two nominated Oldham charities – Dr Kershaw’s Hospice and the Mahdlo Youth Zone – and they did so again after organising a popular envelope raffle on the night.
All in all, this was another huge celebration of local businesses in our great town – roll on 2023 for the 14th year of the Oldham Business Awards!
* A four-page news and picture special will appear in the next edition of the Oldham Chronicle newspaper, later this month.