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ENTREPRENEURS’ FORUM Together we can take on the world.


2017 North East Entrepreneurial Awards 29th September 2017 The Boiler Shop, Crowne Plaza Newcastle

In partnership with:

START UP, SCALEUP, SHAKE UP The North East Growth Hub is there to help your business at all stages. So if you need support – whether it be financial, advice, or tips on operations, we’re here for you. Visit the website to find over 200 support providers today.

Delivered by:

Welcome to the 2017 North East Entrepreneurial Awards A very warm welcome to our 14th annual celebration of North East entrepreneurial achievement. We’re delighted so many people have been able to join us this evening, in what is a record number of guests for our awards. Tonight we will be toasting some of the region’s biggest business successes and sharing inspirational stories of entrepreneurial achievement, with a whole lot of fun thrown in late into the night. We think you’ll be astounded by the impact each of our finalists has had on their businesses and teams, so please sit back, enjoy the evening and the celebrations!

DRINKS RECEPTION Sponsored by Brewin Dolphin.

WELCOME Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum. A word from our Awards partner, the North East Growth Hub. Our host, Penny Mallory OBE.

STARTER: • Crane Row Farm ham knuckle pressing, caramelised onion chutney and toasted brioche. • Zatar spiced halloumi, confit cherry tomatoes, chick peas and tzatziki dressing (V)



MAIN COURSE: • Leg of lamb with seasonal veg, roast potatoes, herb mash, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. • Moroccan vegetable tagine, cous cous and grilled pitta bread (V).

SCALE-UP AWARD Sponsored by NBS.


DESSERT: • White chocolate cheesecake with whipped Baileys cream. • Follwed by tea and coffee.

Sponsored by O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions.



Sponsored by Corporate Traveller.

Sponsored by The Malhotra Group PLC.




Thank you! We’d like to say a huge thank you to each of our partners and this evening’s sponsors. Without their commitment and support for North East entrepreneurship, we wouldn’t be able to do many of the things we do; and this evening certainly wouldn’t be possible!


O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions is a fast-growing business operating in a dynamic industry. Through their customer-first approach and investment in innovative technology solutions, they are continually ahead of the curve in the waste management sector. As the North East’s largest waste recycler, O’Brien’s goal since their inception in 2006 has been to provide a range of environmentally friendly, multi-stream waste collection and recycling solutions for businesses of all sizes.




Since 1991 Malhotra Group PLC, part of Malhotra Family Holdings, has grown and diversified from a small family business into a large organisation employing over 1,100 people. With an ambition for continued and sustainable growth, they are firmly based in the North East and successfully own and operate a specialised group of care home facilities, a national property portfolio and a leisure arm, incorporating hotels, restaurants and bars.


The North East Growth Hub, operated by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, is home to a directory of business support, finance and events. If you are looking to scale-up your business, grow your team or finance a new venture, make sure you visit to find out what opportunities are available.



NBS is committed to offering distinctive, innovative specification and information solutions to construction industry professionals and is proud to be leading the construction industry in its digital evolution. Its origins lie in the National Building Specification and for over 40 years has developed and produced NBS products which support the built environment. Combining world-leading technology with expert knowledge, NBS is trusted to help construction industry professionals make the best project decisions.



Ward Hadaway provide specialist, commercially-focused legal advice to entrepreneurs, companies and organisations across a wide range of sectors to help them meet their goals and fulfil their ambitions. As one of the UK’s Top 100 law firms, they can offer the strength in depth you need to help your business grow. To find out what they can do for you head to



Corporate Traveller is a leading boutique business travel management company dedicated to partnering with UK companies, providing a very high touch service and delivering cost efficiencies. Our team of travel experts in Newcastle work with local companies, guaranteeing to save them time and money on their business travel.



Brewin Dolphin believe in ‘Investing in the relationship’. You may know your business back to front, but you still need to build a network of experts around you. This will include accountants, and solicitors, but it should also include a wealth manager and financial planner who can help you check you have the right protections in place and are doing what is needed to fulfil your longer term objectives. There is a lot more to being a successful entrepreneur than just having a good idea. Your business needs to be built on solid financial foundations so it can grow to be a success and this is where Brewin Dolphin can help.



Make good things happen On your table this evening you will find an envelope and it would be fantastic if you could make a donation to a wonderful cause this evening. Children North East has just celebrated their 125th anniversary making them the region’s oldest independent children’s charity. Started on the bank’s of the Tyne in 1891, their founder’s aim was to offer relief to the poor children of Newcastle and Gateshead. Today, Children North East’s role in the region is to ensure that all children have the right to good health, education, safety, play, family life, protection from harm and support when things go wrong.

Their approach is flexible, they always listen without judging; find solutions and never give up. With help and support from the community they really can and do make a difference. Children North East’s work covers the whole of our region focusing on health and wellbeing and a child’s journey through life from pre-birth to young adult and whole families. During 2015/2016 Children North East made a difference to 6,679 children and young people and directly helped 546 families and 702 parents; and every

£1 that you donate is spent here in the North East to help children, young people and their families who are in need. This great charity needs our support to continue their work, helping more of the region’s young people live long and happy lives and supporting families when they need it the most.

You can get involved by making a donation tonight, or in the future, by fundraising or attending one of their events. Find out more by visiting

IN RETURN FOR YOUR GENEROSITY, YOU’LL ALSO GET THE CHANCE TO WIN SOME FANTASTIC PRIZES, KINDLY DONATED BY THE FOLLOWING LOCAL BUSINESSES: Crafter’s Companion, SIX Restaurant, Garden Kitchen, Gusto, Jesmond Dene House, Lanchester Wines, Grey Street Hotel (Malhotra Group), Newcastle Eagles, Newcastle United FC, Parkdean Resorts, Psyche, Rockliffe Hall, Seaham Hall, The Lakes Distillery, Bealim House, Wylam Brewery, Livello, Sage, Bonbar,


Andrew James, Elite Fitness, Last Night of Freedom, Weekend Box, Enfields, Fratellos, Beamish Museum, AIM Leisure, Handbag Clinic, Hotel Indigo, Fenwick, Newcastle Castle, Alnwick Castle, Alnwick Gardens, NBS, The Stables Brewery, Matfen Hall, Extra Mile Media and Hays Travel.

Tonight’s host PENNY MALLORY OBE Champion Rally Driver With a love of cars from an early age, Penny always wanted to be involved in motorsport but a difficult period in her life saw her dropping out of school, homeless and in a self-destructive cycle of alcohol and bad choices. Conscious that things could end badly, Penny forced herself to turn things around. She returned to her love of cars, raised sponsorship and began to work her way up the rallying ranks. After winning regional races she set her sights on the world stage. With sponsorship from Wash & Go and after only four years of racing, Penny became National Ladies Champion and went on to become the first woman to drive in the World Rally Car classification. Her driving success and irrepressible personality led to TV offers and alongside her time on Top Gear Motorsport she has presented Channel 4’s Driven, Behind the Ball, The Road Show and The Car Show. Taking her personal determination to other areas she’s also gone on to climb mountains, run marathons and even box against Olympic gold medallists.



Emerging Talent Our Emerging Talent finalists are all individuals who have built a business of outstanding potential, which has been trading for less than six years. Sponsored by:


Past winners: 2006 - Tarek Nseir, TH_NK 2007 - Matthew James, UK Biometrics 2008 - Lisa Hart Shepherd, Acritas 2009 - Greg Phillips, North East Bakery 2010 - Chris Peacock, Peacocks Medical Group 2011 - Sara Davies, Crafter’s Companion 2012 - Brett Jacobson, Mediaworks 2013 - Rob Mathieson, AYO Digital 2014 - David Lynch, Lynch Healthcare 2015 - Alice Hall, Pink Boutique 2016 - John Savage, Flame Heating Spares


Stephen and Ian launched Tier One Capital as a locally based independent wealth management company and investment boutique in 2012, achieving FCA approval in Feb 2013. Since then they have built out a highly differentiated proposition for private clients, corporates and charities, offering elements of cash management, investment management, direct lending and tax efficient estate planning. The core business has grown quickly to finance, seed and support a plethora of new companies notably including Cascade Cash Management and Dinosauria, alongside a number of standalone entities notably including Inveniam Corporate Finance. The team is currently opening offices in Mayfair, London and Lausanne, Switzerland, has successfully managed to achieve a premium listing on the main market of the London Stock Exchange for the TOC Property Backed Lending Trust in Jan 2017 and is currently embarking on a landmark project to bring through a new North East bank.





Samuel Knight International

Weekend Box

Pioneering, inspiring and collaborative are three words often used to describe Gradvert managing director Michaela Reaney, so it’s no surprise that the company she founded reflects her approach to life. Gradvert’s mission is to improve business performance by improving people. They simplify graduate recruitment, deliver tailored leadership and management training and enable businesses to build life-long learning capability so they succeed. What makes them different is the unique 360° approach they take when evaluating a client’s ‘people strategy’. Everything they design and deliver is bespoke, supporting commercial goals with training aligned accordingly, and optimising team performance to drive commercial success.

Thank you to our judges:

A market leading rail and energy recruitment and project manpower specialist providing engineering, technical and construction professionals on a permanent, temporary and project basis globally. Samuel Knight International breaks from the traditional recruiting methodologies, continually evolving and adapting to market change to ensure they deliver the right candidate into the right job or project every time. Since launching in 2014 they have grown from a four man business to now employing 40 specialist consultants across three UK offices: Newcastle, London and Bristol, with further aggressive growth plans for the next two years. Samuel Knight pride themselves on client and candidate care, working in complete partnership with both.

Weekend Box was created to solve the problem of how time-poor parents could spend more quality time with their children over the weekend. Parents who love spending time with their children often struggle with new ideas or having everything they need available. Weekend Box create and deliver activity boxes for children aged 3-8 with everything needed inside, right through parents’ letterboxes in time for the weekend on a loose subscription service (think Blue Peter in a box!). Today, Weekend Box delivers millions of hours of quality time to families all over the UK every year. This year they begin shipping white-label subscription boxes for other brands too, including Moshi Monsters, Macmillan Cancer Support and more.

Gillian Marshall (Entrepreneurs’ Forum), Jonathan Gold (Rivers Capital Partners), Matt Mavir (Last Night of Freedom), Katherine Hay-Heddle (Ward Hadaway) and John Savage (Flame Heating Spares).


Scale-up Award New for 2017, our Scale-up Award finalists are individuals who have led their company to achieve 20% annualised growth in either turnover, profit or employee numbers for the past three years. Sponsored by:

BEN RIDGWAY & JAMIE COOKE Intelligent Services Group The Intelligent Services Group was formed by Ben Ridgway and Jamie Cooke to provide technology led services and platforms to help property professionals enhance their offering, and broaden their range of services by developing products that remove friction, while improving the transparency of the sale process. With 150 staff across the three main businesses, iam-sold, The Conveyancing Partnership and Medway Law, they have ambitious plans to double group revenue and profits within the next three years. The current range of services span white label auction and conveyancing services and compliance with several other products and services at the development stage.


SARA DAVIES Crafter’s Companion Sara Davies MBE is the founder of global craft company, Crafter’s Companion, which designs, manufactures and retails craft products across the world. Since starting the business in 2005, Sara has become a regular guest on TV shopping channels across the globe including Hochanda in the UK and the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in the US. She is also a member of several business mentoring bodies, has won numerous awards and was given an MBE for services to the economy in 2016.

NIGEL BEGG Aspire Technology Solutions Aspire Technology Solutions is a managed services specialist and the ‘partner of choice’ for clients looking for the perfect IT solution. Aspire do this by providing highly bespoke, flexible and customer-focused technology products and services that can fit with clients’ existing systems and help customers improve their own productivity and performance. With customer satisfaction a priority, Aspire have become award winners in the field of hosted services, data centre solutions, communications and IT support, and can outsource complete IT infrastructures.

Thank you to our judges:

Gillian Marshall (Entrepreneurs’ Forum), Colin Bell (North East Local Enterprise Partnership), Graham Sleep (Improvement Architecture), Colin Hewitt (Ward Hadaway) and David Lewis (Collectables).


Entrepreneur of the Year Our Entrepreneur of the Year finalists are all individuals who have led their business to strong growth in revenue and profits through innovation, teamwork and leadership skills. Sponsored by:

JULIE DRUMMOND Drummond Central

Past winners: 2004 - John Hays, Hays Travel 2005 - Steven Bell, Bells Stores 2006 - Mike Browne, ScS 2007 - Ian Baggett, Adderstone Group 2008 - Dr. Tony Trapp, IHC Engineering Business 2009 - Graeme Lowdon, Nomad Digital 2010 - Anne Ganley, Thompson Building Centres 2011 - Phil Cronin, Tombola 2012 - Bill Scott, Wilton Group 2013 - Jeff Winn, Winn’s Solicitors 2014 - Ian Watson, Hadrian Healthcare 2015 - Geoff Thompson, Utilitywise 2016 - John Waterworth, Parkdean Resorts


Julie founded Drummond Central in 2004 and has built an award-winning agency. The agency is active in the majority of territories around the world and is recognised globally for its work. Drummond Central is a strategic marketing, creative and digital agency that advises many clients. Current clients of Drummond Central include bet365, Stoke City Football Club, Atom Bank, Omega Plc and DPD. Julie has been responsible for leading some of the most effective advertising and brand communication campaigns in the UK, Europe and globally.




Hays Travel


True Potential LLP

John Hays is founder and managing director of Hays Travel - the UK’s largest independent travel agency. After studying maths at the University of Oxford and completing a Masters in business administration at Manchester Business School, John set up the first branch of Hays Travel in his home town of Seaham, Co Durham, in 1980. Thirty seven years on, the company has expanded to include 156 retail branches, hundreds of homeworkers and the Hays Travel Independence Group consortium. The company employs more than a thousand people, with sales of over £850 million. It is recognised as one of the Sunday Times’ 100 Best Companies to Work For in the UK.

Run from its base in Stockton and with depots in County Durham, Tyneside, Teesside and the Vale of York, and more recently in East Anglia, Oil NRG is the only independently run fuel supply and fuel distribution business with a presence in the whole of the east and north of England. Established as recently as 2006, the business began a period of rapid expansion in 2013, growing from five trucks to the thirty-six it now owns and operates. Now with a turnover of £108 million, Oil NRG were recognised as one of UK’s most inspiring firms in a high-profile list from the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) of the ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Great Britain 2017’.

True Potential LLP is a financial services and technology organisation, currently working with close to 20% of UK financial advisers. As one of the UK’s most innovative financial groups, the company has a focus on technology, providing simple, effective and unique financial solutions with a company mission of closing the savings gap. With a vision to foster a nation of committed, interested savers, David is also a leader in technological advances for financial services with over 40 years of unparalleled business experience, helping True Potential reach two million clients and £52 billion of assets under administration.

Thank you to our judges:

Gillian Marshall (Entrepreneurs’ Forum), Gill Courtney (Wessington Cryogenics), Jamie Brown (Francis Brown) and John Waterworth (Parkdean Resorts).


M E N TO R O F T H E Y E A R Our Mentor of the Year award winner has been selected for their outstanding contribution over the last twelve months to altruistically supporting the growth of fellow entrepreneurs’ businesses.

And the winner be announced later this evening!


Sponsored by:

2015 - Alastair Waite, Altec Engineering • 2016 - James Robson, Alexander Jewitt & Co

Judged by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum Board.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT The recipient of our Lifetime Achievement award has been chosen for their huge commitment to business over a significant period of time and their major impact to the regional economy and community.

And the winner be announced later this evening!

H A L L O F FA M E : 2008 - Michael Hogan, Esh Group • 2009 - Alan Reece, SMD • 2010 - Bob Thompson, Pyeroy 2011 - Anne Preston, Prestons of Potto • 2012 - John Squires, Benfield Motor Group 2013 - Sir Peter Vardy, The Vardy Group • 2014 - Sir John Hall, Cameron Hall Developments Sponsored by: 2015 - Geoff Turnbull, GT Group • 2016 - John Fenwick, Fenwick Limited

Judged by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum Board.


Dates for your Diary

Stay up-to-date with our free event app for iOS or Android, simply search for Entrepreneurs’ Forum

There really is no network quite like the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, so why not take some valuable time out of your business to work on it with us. Listen to insights from your peers. Meet the people you didn’t know you needed to meet. Who knows where it might lead…

LUCINDA BRUCE-GARDYNE, GENIUS FOODS (Member event) Thursday 5th October 4.30pm - 7pm Deloitte Office, Newcastle

UNRULY WITH SARAH WOOD (On-site visit) Wednesday 8th November 12 noon - 3pm Unruly HQ, Whitechapel, London

VALDA GOODFELLOW, G&G GOODFELLOWS (Focus dinner) Thursday 12th October 6.30pm - 10pm Middleton Lodge, Middleton Tyas

BRAND & MARKETING MASTERCLASS WITH LINZI BOYD & GRANT LEBOFF (Exchange event) Thursday 9th November 8am - 11am St. James’ Park, Newcastle

IAN BAGGETT, ADDERSTONE GROUP (Member event) Tuesday 17th October 6pm - 8.30pm The Mining Institute, Newcastle

FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BRAVE (Global Entrepreneurship Week conference) Thursday 16th November 8am - 5pm Redworth Hall Hotel, County Durham FRED STORY, STORY HOMES (Focus dinner) Thursday 23rd November 6.30pm - 10pm Jesmond Dene House Hotel, Newcastle

MADE IN BRITAIN (Member event) Thursday 30th November 6pm - 8.30pm CPED, Teesside University’s Darlington Campus ENTREPRENEURS’ FORUM CHRISTMAS DRINKS Thursday 7th December 4.30pm - 7.30pm Baltimore House, Gateshead

Together we’re stronger. Come along, be inspired, make connections and learn something new. For the latest information and to book your place, visit


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North East Entrepreneurial Awards - 2017  

29th September at The Boiler Shop, Crowne Plaza Hotel - Newcastle

North East Entrepreneurial Awards - 2017  

29th September at The Boiler Shop, Crowne Plaza Hotel - Newcastle