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Unveiling this year’s winners

This year’s event – the 15th anniversary of the awards – was hosted by renowned impressionist, actor and comedian Jon Culshaw, his second stint as our MC following his appearance in 2015, along with Granada Reports’ entertainment correspondent Caroline Whitmore, a regular on the OBA stage. 

Our chair Steve Kilroy, a former BAE Systems executive who leads the steering group which organises our awards and chooses the finalists and winners, says: “Congratulations to each and every one of tonight’s winners. Over the years, Oldham Business Awards have been recognised as a platform for growth and development not just for our winners, but for all of our finalists too. 

“They all make a huge contribution to Oldham’s vibrant business community that features an astounding array of talent, business acumen, and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s an incredibly tough task to choose the finalists, never mind the winners, and our thanks go to everyone who has nominated an individual or a business this year.” 

Winners of 11 categories were unveiled, including a brand-new category for 2023, Workforce Health and Well-being, which was won by Oldham College for developing a holistic strategy towards employee health and wellbeing shaped by feedback from employees.  

Here is a full rundown of the winners and finalists in each category: 

Business of the Year (£5m-plus) – sponsored by Pearson Legal  

WINNER: Rowan Ashworth Limited 

Rowan Ashworth Ltd is a civil engineering contractor established in 2001 and based on a 250-acre farm site in Shaw. 

Its work includes highways infrastructure, drainage, retaining structures including retaining walls and bridges.  

In recent years it has been working on town centre redevelopments and for local councils such as Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside, concentrating on a 10-mile radius of its operation to ensure loyalty to clients and to deliver an unrivalled service at extremely competitive rates. 

The company has grown from £880,000 turnover in 2017 to £5.9m in 2022 and has increased the workforce from 15 employees to 50 during this period. 

Future business objectives include steadily increasing turnover with a target of £15m by 2026, increasing its social value commitment, building on the success so far, continuing to train apprentices and hit its net zero target by 2035. 

Finalists: Ultimate Products Ltd, Chadderton; OMC Motor Group, Oldham. 

Business of the Year (£1-5m) – sponsored by Seftons 

WINNER: Technology Powered Services Ltd 

TPS is a trusted infrastructure specialist. It is a rapidly growing business and fast becoming one of the leading providers of infrastructure, technology, break fix services, connectivity and sustainability solutions. 

Since its inception in 2019, TPS has outgrown its business premises twice and has increased its operational headcount to 19 contracted staff, with a nationwide footprint of 80 technical engineers in the space of 3 years. 

TPS was founded by MD Andy Hanlon from his home in Saddleworth after working in the IT infrastructure sector for 18 years, with a vision to connect people and businesses together, optimising performance through expert consultancy, design, installation and support services

Revenue has grown steadily year-on-year and has been buoyed with TPS’ largest contract to date – a £12m deal over two years, beating off the likes of BT, SKY, Digital Space and Three mobile in the process.  

Finalists: Pegasus Warehousing, Oldham; Fix Auto Manchester East, Oldham.  

Business of the Year (up to £1m) – sponsored by Ultimate Products 

WINNER: Dream Big Sports 

Dream Big Sports works in the crowded education and community sports sector and has created a niche in the industry based on trust, reliability and an evidence-based approach. 

Launched with the aid of a grant from Oldham Enterprise Trust in 2016, Dream Big Sports has grown rapidly. It now has a staff of 23 full time employees and diversification has resulted in the employment of a swimming teacher and lifeguard.  

It currently works with 33 partner schools and offers holiday camps at seven venues and has an estimated turnover of £720,000. Two brand new programmes are being delivered from September 2023. 

The aim now is to become the market leader for physical education, physical activity and school sport provision in Oldham and Rochdale, working with 50 partner schools each week whilst offering holiday camp activities at 10 different venues, engaging 50,000+ children each year. 

Finalists: WhiteleyEaves, Oldham; The Old School BBQ Bus Ltd, Hollinwood. 

Workforce Health and Well-being – sponsored by Oldham Active 

WINNER: Oldham College 

Oldham College has developed a holistic strategy towards employee health and wellbeing shaped by feedback from employees. 

Wellbeing has been a key element of the college’s overall people strategy and continues to be so. The work it does supports its ambitions to be the best place to work and learn, and it uses the Great Place to Work accreditation process to assess itself against ‘the best in class’, making the best workplace list for the last three years. 

The holistic approach covers all aspects of life that impact on people’s health and wellbeing:
• Physical and mental wellbeing
• Financial pressures and the increased cost of living
• Impact of caring responsibilities
• Relationship issues
• Workload issues
• Life events, including bereavemen

The college has held staff health and wellbeing events, introduced a mental health questionnaire and worked with unions to agree workload principles for teaching staff to help address work pressures. 

Finalists: Diodes Incorporated, Oldham; Mahdlo Youth Zone, Oldham. 

Micro Business of The Year – The Dawn Torrington Award – sponsored by Oldham Enterprise Trust 

WINNER: M Group Manchester Limited  

M Group Manchester, which is based in Failsworth, is predominantly an electrical firm within the construction industry serving the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors and offering all forms of services, including installation, inspection and testing, fire alarms, emergency lighting, fire extinguishers and more. 

It has expanded into some specialist areas including electric vehicle chargers and flameproof testing and has added a building services department, which includes roofing, plastering, plumbing, decorating and joinery, to create a unique set-up. 

Its team is always looking for innovative ways to improve service and client savings and is currently working on financial packages whereby clients can lease to buy energy-saving lighting systems to enable customers to go green. 

Business objectives for the next three years are to achieve a high level of sustainability, enabling greater planning and future investment. It is looking to increase the current client base and in turn increase its workforce. 

Finalists: M&C Risk Solutions Ltd, Uppermill; UR-EKA Lighting and Controls Ltd, Lees. 

Young Business – sponsored by Diodes Incorporated 

WINNER: Conexus Tuition 

Conexus Tuition specialises in expert tuition solutions in the core subjects of English, maths and science and only uses qualified teachers to ensure quality. 

Operating in Chadderton, Royton, Shaw and Rochdale since April 2022, Conexus Tuition is part of a national tuition company, and an approved partner of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), meaning it can provide tuition in secondary and primary schools for a wide range of learners – many of whom would not ordinarily have the means to access tuition services. 

Private class numbers have risen to the extent that classes are now held in two Oldham venues, and Conexus has worked in three of the borough’s secondary schools. 

The business is now in advanced talks with several schools in and around the area not only to provide tuition, but also oversee and manage their entire tuition solution. 

Finalists: Technology Powered Services Ltd, Oldham; DNA Recruitment Solutions, Oldham. 

Start-up – sponsored by Business Growth Hub 

WINNER: Chances Mentoring 

Chances Mentoring Alternate Provision is a sports-led business that prides itself on achieving high levels of success in re-engaging students back into education. It is currently based in a leading sports and fitness gym in Oldham, with access to state of the art equipment, high staff professionalism and a calming environment. 

Its aim is to mentor students to achieve their best potential by identifying what their barriers to learning are, ensuring long term strategies are implemented to allow the reintegration into school being sustainable and achievable for all. 

Each student follows a development plan which tracks their progress which is then shared with all the relevant professionals and parents/guardians. 

Over the next three years, Chances Mentoring is looking to expand by increasing its staff numbers to support as many young people as possible

Finalists: Move and Heal CIC, Oldham; Hale Training Club, Chadderton; Buds & Blossoms Ltd, Failsworth. 

Business Person of the Year – sponsored by Rowan Ashworth Ltd 

WINNER: Andy Hirst, Sudlows 

Andy began his career at technical services specialists Sudlows as an electrical manager tasked with revitalising and developing its electrical division.  

In 2018, Andy was promoted to his current role of Managing Director of Critical Infrastructures, overseeing the entire division.  

Having over 35 years’ worth of experience in the electrical industry, Andy has been instrumental in transforming Sudlows from a £2m data cabling company to a multi award-winning £65m data centre infrastructure design and build company. He continues to work closely with his fellow directors to define the growth strategy and commercial direction of the business

Andy has played a critical role in the championing of energy efficiency and sustainability in the data centre industry, earning an international reputation that has led to Sudlows successfully delivering data centre projects in Dubai, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India and most recently South Africa

Finalists: Rick Leach, Precision Pallets, Oldham; Krzysztof Zemlik, Billington’s, Oldham. 

Young Entrepreneur – sponsored by Koder.ly

WINNER: Bobbie-Leigh Tindall, B&L Aesthetics  

B&L Aesthetics is a beauty and aesthetics training academy, teaching students new to the beauty industry through to more experienced therapists wanting to refresh on their existing skills

Launched in 2022, B&L Aesthetics is a joint venture between Bobbie-Leigh and her business partner, the pair having previously run their own businesses but knew each other well after growing up together on the same street. 

Well known in the beauty and aesthetics industry, single mother-of-two Bobbie-Leigh has trained and treated hundreds of students and clients in recent years. 

Last year B&L teamed up with the Prince’s Trust Charity and is offering young people the opportunity to become part of the beauty world. The business is now looking forward to another busy 12 months of exhibitions, shows, more training, new courses and new products. 

Finalists: Dale Harris, North Star Business Solutions, Oldham; Rubena Begum, Jacksons MW Ltd, Oldham. 

Community Engagement – sponsored by WhiteleyEaves Ltd 

WINNER: Ultimate Products  

Ultimate Products, based in Chadderton, designs, develops and distributes branded houseware, all driven by innovation and sustainability, and sold into a worldwide marketplace. 

Community work is integral to UP’s core values. It is focused into three main pillars aligned to localised needs:  

  • Supporting vulnerable people through local charities, initiatives, and a recognised company charity. 
  • Supporting local youth to gain access to education, further training, and employment. 
  • Support local job opportunities – UP has set itself a target of 65% of people who work for the UK operation to be based locally. 

The firm’s Charity Committee was rebranded into Community Committee to encompass the wider work in the community. This year its chosen charity is Oldham Foodbank, which it has supported through fundraising, food donations and volunteering. Since last August, food equivalent to around £3,500 has been donated and more than 50 members of staff have volunteered. 

Finalists: Khau Galli, Royton; Start-up Huddle Oldham. 

Supporting Young People – sponsored by Oldham College 

Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers 

Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers offer a complete range of legal and financial services from three offices in North Manchester with a heritage dating back to the 1870s. 

The firm recruits apprentices through Oldham Sixth Form College, where it provides support to their Aspiring Lawyers Programme by speaking at events organised by the college allowing students to have a real insight into the role of a lawyer. 

At present, Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers have five apprentices, all of whom are at various stages of the scheme, and who work closely with experienced lawyers who mentor and support them throughout their apprenticeship. 

Pearsons believe that regardless of the sector, businesses can benefit from apprenticeships by having access to a cost-effective workforce and benefiting from the contributions of motivated and enthusiastic apprentices. 

Finalists: Sports Physio UK, Shaw; Barlows, Chadderton. 

A memorable and entertaining evening 

Earlier, the memorable and entertaining night began with a champagne reception in the main hall where guests were invited to have a flutter with fake cash at a fun casino. 

There was also an opportunity to win raffle prizes that included four tickets to see Rick Astley in Leeds, two tickets for hospitality at a Foo Fighters’ gig, meal vouchers, match tickets for Lancashire cricket, an iPad and much more. 

All the raffle proceeds are going to this year’s two chosen charities:  

  • Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, which provides free specialist end-of-life and palliative care for adults with life-limiting illnesses in and around Oldham. 
  • Mahdlo Youth Zone, which is dedicated to providing fun and affordable opportunities to those aged eight to 19 and disabled young people and adults up to 25. 

We would like to say a huge thank you to our raffle prize providers: 

  • Foresight IT, Hollinwood – iPad 
  • Reward Finance Group, Leeds – Rick Astley tickets 
  • Corinthian Sports, London – Foo Fighters tickets 
  • Gusto Italian, Manchester – £75 voucher 
  • Tattu, Manchester – £100 voucher 
  • Old School BBQ Bus – meal voucher for 4 with wine 
  • Zouk, Manchester – cooking school voucher 
  • Church Street Aparthotel, Manchester – voucher for two-night stay 
  • Lancashire Cricket Foundation – tickets for a 2024 fixture 
  • Oldham Community Leisure – full day of on-site free workforce health checks for up to 30 staff 
  • Oldham Community Leisure – free OCL premium one-year membership worth over £350 
  • M&C Risk Solutions, Uppermill – 4 tickets in the Knights Lounge at Old Trafford, including 3-course meal 
  • Sports Physio UK – £50 treatment voucher

Over the years, we’ve not just recognised and rewarded excellence and entrepreneurialism among the business community, we have also celebrated the contribution Oldham businesses make to the social fabric of the town, including raising more than £50,000 for local charities. This year was no exception, with money raised for our two good causes on the night. 

Thank you! 

In addition to our category sponsors, we would like to express our gratitude to this year’s headline sponsors and partners. Without you all, the Oldham Business Awards would not be the resounding success it is! 

Headline sponsors: 

Oldham Council 

Rowan Ashworth Ltd 

Get Oldham Working 

2023 Partners and associate sponsors: 

Cornerstone Design and Marketing – media and marketing partner, and website sponsor 

Oldham Chronicle 

Addmail Solutions

Mom’s Spaghetti Radio Manchester 

New Image PR, Oldham 

Oldham Athletic FC – raffle

JW Lees – table wine 

Patterson and Rothwell – casino 

Tilbury Douglas –  starters 

Remedian – bar 

M&C Risk Solutions – venue 

JMW Solicitors – programmes 

Technology Powered Services – entertainment 

Chadderton Motor Company – main course  

Cornerstone Estates – dessert 

Muse – place settings 


Get involved, get in touch 

If you’d like to get involved in the Oldham Business Awards, we are now looking sponsors for 2024, and you can find out more by emailing info@oldhambusinessawards.co.uk.

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