Our Account Director Verity Clarke has blogged about her time as a volunteer on the Ilkley Business Awards committee.

“In February, Ilkley’s large and small businesses gathered for a glittering ceremony to celebrate the best in local enterprise.

The Ilkley Business Awards attracted over 70 entries and the winners were revealed in a ceremony compered by Nick Babb and Alex Cann at the Kings Hall and Winter Gardens on 12th February.

It was an amazing night. The winners took away a slice of pride as well as a beautiful trophy but for those that didn’t win, it was still an entertaining evening of glamour, dancing and photobooth fun.

The evening went by in a flash and it was easy to forget how long the planning process actually was.  The committee, a dedicated group of local professionals and members of the Ilkley Business Forum, clocked up nearly 16 months planning the event.

From choosing a logo, to drilling down the award categories, every detail had to be considered from scratch. Being part of the committee was invaluable to me as a professional, to step away from my bubble of press releases and social media to consider wider business issues and challenges was really helpful to gain some perspective.

It was also inspirational to see how hard everyone worked. Everyone had a business to run and chaotic home life but put in the extra effort to come to early morning meetings and fulfil on the actions set at the previous meeting (for anyone who is part of a committee you’ll know this can be a challenge in itself!).

I’m extremely proud to be part of the committee and look forward to another great event in 2017. It was great to be involved and for those who asked on the night, the winners were kept extremely secret and I had no way of knowing who had won. I was just as excited as everyone else to hear the announcements,

In case you missed the PR on the night here is some more information on the winners!

Newcomer, The Black Hat, scooped the top award for the “Winner of Winners” following an impressive entry for the New Business of the Year.

Managing Director, Stewart Taylor was over the moon to have taken the overall award, he said: “We weren’t sure what to expect given this was the first ever Ilkley Business Awards. It was a brilliant night and we’re stunned to be taking away two awards. So many of our customers had heard the news and I was overwhelmed by the warm response we received on the night; it was really touching and most humbling.”

Other winners included Wintersgill Associates picking up two awards for Apprentice of the year and Professional services of the year with the Large Business of the year going to Spooner Industries.

Other personal awards went to Business Personality of the year going to Helen Rhodes of Poppy Red and Employee of the year going to Lynn Bochonek of RDC Solicitors. Nick Babb received a special recognition award for his work with the Ilkley community.

The awards committee were pleased with the feedback on the night and felt the decision to bring in independent judges made the awards a credible and independent accolade.

The three independent judges were Nigel Lockett, Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School, Susanne Marchant, Director of Corporate Programmes as Leeds University Business School and Phil Harrison, Business Growth Adviser & Enterprise Coach.

The awards have attracted the attention of many local businesses who have supported the awards by sponsoring categories and contributing to the judging process. These include the Ilkley Business Forum, Wheatley Arms, Hunters, Spooners, Pinnacle, Box Tree restaurant, Denton Hall, BNI, Ison Harrison, LCF, Soda I.T and Angus Roberts.

The Ilkley Business Awards was such a success that the date for 2017 is soon to be secured, more more information visit www.ilkleybusinessawards.co.uk.

Full winners below

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year 

Jody Verity – Wintersgill Associates

Employee of the Year 

Lynn Bochonek – RDC Solicitors

Small Business of the Year

Bistro Saigon

Professional Services Business of the Year 

Wintersgill Associates

Health and Beauty Business of the Year

U Dentistry Limited

Business Personality of the Year 

Helen Rhodes

Hospitality Business of the Year 

Outside The Box

Independent Retailer of the Year 

Nora’s Interiors & Gifts

Large Business of the Year 

Spooner Industries Ltd

New Business of the Year 

The Black Hat