E3 business award winners

The finals of the 2014 E3 Business Awards took place, attended by nearly 500 delegates from businesses, universities, local authorities and support organisations across the North West.

There were four finalists for each of the twelve award categories and their nominations were judged by an independent panel of entrepreneurs, academics and business experts. The winners were:

New Business Start-Up of the Year: Degree 53, Manchester Activity: web & mobile applications Sponsor: Maza

Corporate Social Responsibility Award: UK Container Maintenance, Northwich Activity; repair and refurbishment of waste & recycling containers Sponsor: Tile Mart

Social Enterprise of the Year: National Forum for Health & Wellbeing, Preston Activity: promotion of community health awareness Sponsor: Global Radio North West

Skills, Education and Training Award: Magma Digital, Preston Activity: bespoke software development Sponsor: Leisure Guard Security

Employer of the Year: NoChintz, Manchester Activity: interior design Sponsor: Preston’s College

Digital, Creative and Media Award: Footsqueek, Chester Activity: mobile apps and software solutions Sponsor: Business Vision

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Hannah Warren, Oxygen Personnel, Preston Activity: healthcare recruitment Sponsor: First Class Learning

Outstanding Woman in Business Award: Liz Clarke, BikeRight! Manchester Activity: cyclist training, consultancy and related programmes Sponsor: Women in Business North West

Manufacturing Business of the Year: Powder Systems (PSL), Liverpool Activity: industrial filtration and containment systems Sponsor: Business Growth Hub Manchester

High Growth Business of the Year: R-Com Consulting, Ashton Under Lyne Activity: ICT virtualisation technologies Sponsor: Manchester Metropolitan University

International Business of the Year: Ronhill & Hilly, Hyde, Greater Manchester Activity: outdoor pursuits clothing Supported by: UK Trade & Investment

E3 Business of the Year: Auction Finance, Cheadle Activity: loans/funding for property deals Sponsor: 1 Business Enterprise

The E3 Business Awards were first conceived as a multicultural event that would recognise the positive impact entrepreneurs and growing businesses have on local communities throughout the region. In this, their second year, they received substantially more nominations than in 2013 and competition was intense. Some of the hardest fought categories included those relating to start-ups, business growth and investment in training, although the Business of the Year and the Outstanding Woman in Business Award categories were especially well subscribed.

The Awards are hosted and organised by 1 Events Media. Speaking at the event, managing director Mubarak Chati said: "The improved numbers and the exceptionally high calibre of this year's nominees point, I think, to the North West's rising economic fortunes. There is such energy and entrepreneurial spirit being invested in the region's businesses and, as the nominations prove, local entrepreneurs are achieving hugely impressive things.

"Given the extent of the competition this year, all our winners and all those who achieved a place in the finals can feel very proud. Our judges remarked many times on the high standard of entries and they were clearly impressed by the commitment, the professionalism and the innovative ideas that lay behind the finalists' achievements. On behalf of 1 Events Media, I offer all the finalists my warmest congratulations and I hope that their many successes continue in the coming year."

Importantly, the E3 Awards are about more than commercial achievement. In bringing together hundreds of delegates from so many different geographic and cultural backgrounds, they provide an important platform for building improved links between businesses and communities.

They also exist to recognise individual endeavour and so, in addition to the winners listed above, they also feature a Special Achievement Award. This is presented someone who, in the judges' opinions, has made a significant impact on both a personal and business level. This year, that award went Tracy Mort of Grace Cole Limited - a Cheadle-based business specialising in bath and body products, cosmetics and beauty gifts. The evening concluded with a vote of thanks from Mubarak Chati. He took the opportunity to announce that the next E3 Awards would take place in June 2015 and that the 2016 event would be held alongside a new regional business exhibition - the E3 Business Expo. Further details will be published shortly.