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Oldham Business Awards 2024 open for entries and seeking sponsors

We are delighted to announce that this year’s prestigious Oldham Business Awards (OBAs) are open for entries.

Now in their 16th year, the awards recognise and reward excellence, acumen, and entrepreneurial spirit among the borough’s business community, and also celebrate the community contribution made by local good causes, raising more than £56,000 for local charities in that time.

Every year, the OBA’s steering group – a volunteer team of dedicated business professionals hailing from a diverse range of locally based enterprises – have the unenviable task of judging and selecting winners of 11 awards and the recipient of the Special Recognition Award.

It will all climax in a glittering gala dinner on Friday 13th September 2024 – lucky for some – at Oldham’s iconic Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Awards welcome new man at the helm

This year the Awards will have a new man at the helm following the retirement of our previous Chair, Steve Kilroy.

The former BAE Systems executive has handed over the reins to David Wadsworth, the Oldham born and bred MD and founder of Cornerstone Design and Marketing.










OBAs Chair David Wadsworth speaking at the launch event.


David launched Cornerstone – OBA finalists in 2012, 2018 and 2019 – from the attic of his parents’ home 16 years ago and now employs 30 people at its base in Lees.

He says: “Over the years, the Oldham Business Awards have seen thousands of outstanding businesses and businesspeople nominated and shortlisted, with many going on to win much sought-after awards and accolades, demonstrating some of the best and most inspiring organisations and business individuals in the borough. 

Together with our steering committee, I encourage all Oldham businesses, and everyone involved in them, to take an active part in the Awards.

“We’re also proud to support two organisations which do great work and provide vital support services in our communities, so once again we’ll be donating funds to Mahdlo Youth Zone and Dr Kershaw’s Hospice this year, with donations being handed over once the event is concluded in September.”

Let’s hear from David…

Launch event gets the awards started

Last year 500 people saw actor, comedian, and impressionist, Jon Culshaw, announce the winners with the help of Caroline Whitmore, Granada Reports’ entertainment correspondent.

The night culminated in the Special Recognition Award, which went to Krzysztof Zemlik for his sympathetic and sustainable restoration of Billington’s Dance Studio, also known as the ‘Ascroft Street Academy’, once visited by thousands of dancers who were nurtured for over eight decades by dance teacher Mrs Billington from whom the building takes its name.

And Mr Zemlik welcomed more than 100 invited guests to Billington’s for this year’s OBA’s launch event, which featured previous winners and sponsors speaking about their experiences and why the Oldham Business Awards are important to them.

David adds: “Thank you to Kryz for hosting us in such an iconic, and fabulously restored part of Oldham’s history. As a recipient of an unexpected special recognition award from the OBAs, he is now seeing the benefit of being a nominee and winner.”

‘It’s such an accolade for everything we’ve achieved’

Another 2023 winner, Barry Sherry from Conexus Tuition, which won last year’s Young Business Award, told the audience how the business had prospered since winning the award on what he described as an ‘incredible night’.












Barry Sherry from Conexus Tuition is introduced to the launch event audience by MC Caroline Whitmore, Granada Reports Entertainment Correspondent.


“It’s such an accolade for everything we’ve achieved and all the hard work everyone has put in over the last two years.

“We’ve now opened our learning centre in Royton. It started off as a venue for our tuition classes, but it has quickly developed into something else – more than just somewhere the students do an hour of maths or English and then go home.

“We wanted it to be a safe space for everybody. We’ve developed a library so we can help our students and their families as much as we can. The students are welcome to use the centre for somewhere to study in a comfortable, supportive environment.

“We’re now talking to other education providers, such as home education providers and adult education providers, to build something that increases life chances for everyone.

“The Awards are a tough process, but they are a good business tool for helping you to look at what you’ve achieved to give you some perspective. If any business is interested in entering I’d say just go for it.”


Steve Hill MBE shares his experiences with the OBAs launch event audience













Steve Hill MBE shares his experiences with the OBAs launch event audience.


Earlier, schoolteacher of 28 years, Steve Hill MBE, gave a motivating whistle-stop tour through his 16 increasingly challenging adventures all over the world, such as his first ever marathon at the base camp of Mount Everest, that he uses to inspire his pupils.

And he revealed his 2024 challenge will be running five marathons in Mongolia and then flying to Guatemala to climb five mountains, one of them being the highest peak in central America.

Steve’s message to all businesses in the borough echo his own motivation for doing what he does.

“Our dreams should be so big they excite us so much that they frighten us. It’s something I’m really passionate about.

“So, follow your dreams, come out of your comfort zone and push your boundaries. That applies to all of us and in business as well.”

2024 sponsors revealed

This year’s headline sponsors are:

Category sponsors unveiled so far are:

Category and association sponsorships are still available. 

Richard Eastwood of Albion House Wealth Management says: “Oldham is a big town from an entrepreneurial perspective; there are some astonishing businesses.

“The Oldham Business Awards is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your business; don’t underestimate the value they create.

“We work really hard making our businesses a success and the peers that you will meet through the awards, and the advice you can take on, is all really valuable.


Richard Eastwood from Albion House Wealth Management












Richard Eastwood from Albion House Wealth Management.


“I’ve seen businesses apply for start-up or entrepreneurial awards and within a couple of years they are in a different category with a million turnover, so you can see businesses actually progressing. Who know what the Awards could do for your business.”

Entries now open

Local businesses can find out more about being part of this spectacular celebration as a sponsor, as well as how to enter the Awards, through this website. 

You can also keep up-to-date with the latest Oldham Business Awards news on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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