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Newark Business Awards 2020: The winners revealed

Businesses and organisations from across the district came together on Friday in a ceremony to honour the best at the Newark Business Awards.

After several false starts thanks to coronavirus restrictions, the ceremony finally went ahead online using the Collab virtual venue platform.

But there was still all the glitz and glamour of the occasion, as guests dressed to impress and sipped bubbly while watching the ceremony from their living rooms.

Advertiser editor Sharon Hodkin said: “While a virtual ceremony was not what we were expecting when we launched the awards way back it January, it was a huge success.

“We have had many comments from people saying how much they enjoyed it, so thanks to Gusto Group and Collab for the use of their virtual venue.

Advertiser managing director Ricky Allan opened the evening by paying tribute to the resilience of businesses in his speech.

Presenter of Newark Business Awards Melvyn Prior. (43526230)
Presenter of Newark Business Awards Melvyn Prior. (43526230)

“We all know the impact that coronavirus has had on local companies but, despite that, achievements should be recognised and celebrated," he said.

“We will recover because we know the local business community will pull together for the greater good.”

The keynote speaker was Gusto Group chief executive Steff Wright, who used his speech to encourage companies to challenge the system and reverse climate change.

Steff Wright, chief executive of Gusto Group, was keynote speaker at Newark Business Awards. (43526234)
Steff Wright, chief executive of Gusto Group, was keynote speaker at Newark Business Awards. (43526234)

He took guests through his career that started as a mobile disco DJ, through a stint as chairman Lincoln City FC, and as chief executive of Gusto Group where his passion for protecting the environment is demonstrated in his eco-homes developments.

He said: “If you think covid has changed the world, the impact of climate change will dwarf anything we have experienced so far.

“Once we pass the threshold there’s no going back, no starting over.”

He urged a change in the system from one where profits were put over societal well-being to one where environmental improvements and sustainability were rewarded.

He said: “We can change and pivot more than the large corporations. If you can get your head around what the world needs then you can see the opportunities within your sector.”

The evening was once again compered by BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Melvyn Prior, who had pre-recorded his contribution.

The big winner of the night was Magnet Expert Ltd and its managing director Matthew Ellis-Mather, who picked up three awards ­— Employer of the Year, Large Business of the Year and Businessperson of the Year.

In recognition of the tough conditions businesses have endured during the coronavirus pandemic, an extra category was created this year, so the final ­award of the evening was the Covid-19 Bounce Back Award.

This was presented by Advertiser editor Sharon Hodkin to AJ’s School of Dance, which, at short notice, created online resources to allow classes to continue.

The winners were:

Businessperson of the Year (sponsored by Newark Business Club):

Matthew Ellis Mather, of Magnet Expert

Best Start-up (sponsored by Newark and Sherwood District Council):

Winner: Side House Coffee Shop, Claypole

Highly-commended: The Blossom Tree Aveda Salon, of Long Bennington

Large Business of the Year (sponsored by Duncan & Toplis)

Winner: Magnet Expert Ltd, of Tuxford

Highly-commended: Envelopes Ltd, of Newark

Small Business of the Year (sponsored by Gusto Group)

Winner: Future Prospects Group Ltd

Highly-commended: AJ's School of Dance and Performing Arts

Best Independent Retailer

Winner: SimpleyNatural Ltd, Newark

Highly-commended: Opticare, Newark

Employer of the Year (sponsored by Newark Showground)

Magnet Expert Ltd, of Tuxford

Employee/Team of the Year

Winner: Newark Emmaus Trust

Highly-commended: Acer Landscapes Design and Construction Ltd, of Dunham-on-Trent

Business Innovation (sponsored by DB Wood)

Winner: Envelopes Ltd, Newark

Highly-commended: Future Cloud Accounting, Fernwood

Best Social Enterprise (sponsored by Urban & Civic)

Winner: Rumbles Catering Project, of Clipstone

Highly-commended: Flintham Museum

Customer Care (sponsored by Chattertons)

Winner: Opticare, Newark

Highly-commended: Newark Cue Club

Covid-19 Bounce Back Award

Winner: AJ's School of Dance and Performing Arts
Highly-commended: Janice Rose Lingerie

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