Celebrating the cream of Dorset’s business achievements, the community’s brightest talents came together at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) to party in style for the 2017 Dorset Business Awards Gala dinner, in association with the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo.

Organised by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and also supported by Wave 105, the Dorset Business Awards has become the largest of its type in the county, with the awards ceremony being a major feature in the annual business calendar. During a glittering ceremony in front of an audience of more than 700 guests, the success stories of 36 companies from across the region were honoured in 12 award categories.

Dorset’s biggest annual celebration kicked off in style with a drinks reception sponsored by Innovative Hire. Guests were then treated to an exquisite three-course dinner before event hosts, the breakfast team from Wave 105, the south’s leading radio station began the awards presentation.

Entertainment sponsor for the star-studded event were Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, while for the third year running, Brighter Productions took control as production sponsors. Pothecary Gin provided the perfect tipple for each finalist as the sponsor of the finalist gift bottle. ID card printing specialists, Magicard, also joined the list of prestigious sponsors and Sandown Mercedes-Benz in Poole was the official auto partner of this year’s Dorset Business Awards.

Stuart Dixon, head of marketing and communications and organiser of the awards from Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “All our award finalists have provided valuable insights on accomplishing and maintaining success in today’s business environment and also confirm Dorset’s place on the map as a centre of business excellence. This year’s Dorset Business Awards winners have demonstrated something really special – a spark of brilliance that means they are able to stand out from the crowd.

“The Awards evening was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate all that is great about Dorset and recognise the achievements of some of its leading businesses, both large and small, that are doing outstanding work, helping others and giving something back to the community. The depth and quality of business talent in this county is both impressive and inspiring.

“I’d like to congratulate all the winners and shortlisted finalists of this year’s awards process and we look forward to acknowledging more businesses in 2018.”

Business Leader of the Year Award, sponsored by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Pure Networking


·         Phil Whitehurst – Actisense, Poole

·         Rosie Wallace – Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth

·         Warren Munson – Inspire Professional Services, Poole

Winner: Warren Munson – Inspire Professional Services, Poole

Lead judge, Dion McCarthy, founder of Pure Networking, said: “Warren is passionate about business and contribution beyond his own business by serving the business community through his entrepreneur events. He is innovative and proactive, and an example of success, integrity and authenticity. It is clear that Warren is a driven individual and that his team are inspired by him and what he stands for.”


Brand of the Year Award, sponsored by RT Brand Communications


·         Muc-off, Poole

·         Organix, Bournemouth

·         The Pig on the Beach, Studland

Winner: Muc-off, Poole

Lead judge, Matthew Ralph, managing director of RT Brand Communications, said: “The Muc-Off brand is built on innovation and that theme runs throughout the organisation. From the ‘lab’ where the technology is first developed, to the team out on the road breaking ground in new markets by sharing the Muc-Off story, everyone oozes passion. They’re proud of the innovative ways they develop marginal gains for every rider, from grass roots to the elite.”


Creative and Digital Impact Award, sponsored by Liz Lean PR and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)


·         Cold Banana Studio, Bournemouth

·         Fireworx, Bournemouth

·         Strange, Bournemouth

Winner: Cold Banana Studio, Bournemouth

Lead judge, Rob Dunford, interim director of Dorset Local Enterprise, said: “We were particularly impressed with the scale and reach of the project, which is already opening doors to international work. We were also impressed by the way in which the methodology tackled the task of handling big data alongside providing a great user experience for multiple personas. What’s more, their impressive managing director, Luke Fribbens, is a locally trained graduate from Bournemouth University, who is passionate about cementing Dorset’s burgeoning reputation as an international class digital cluster.”


UK Health Insurance Investing in Dorset Award


·         A-One Insurance Group, Ringwood

·         Signature Catering Group Limited, Ringwood

·         Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Evershot

Winner: Signature Catering Group Limited, Ringwood

Lead judge, Kirstie Pruett, sales & key relationship manager at UK Health Insurance, said: “The enthusiasm shown by Ian and his entire team at Signature Catering for using locally-sourced ingredients and other services was infectious. Their overall business philosophy is a shining example to us all. We were particularly impressed that in order to stay true to their local suppliers, Signature Catering create menus based on the local produce available, and will never substitute to a lower quality product if the main ingredients are not available.”

Lester Aldridge and Santander Company of the Year Award


·         Actisense, Poole

·         BHLive, Bournemouth

·         Testlink, Poole

Winner: Testlink, Poole

Judge, Grant Esterhuizen, partner at Lester Aldridge, said: “This was yet another year of exceptional submissions demonstrating the strength, range and successful businesses we have here within our local vicinity. Our judging panel was unanimous in selecting our winner, who demonstrated strength in every one of our criteria.”

Judge, Mark Robertson, relationship director at Santander, added: “Testlink has seen recent growth in turnover and improved margins with a clear commitment to providing excellent customer service, while adopting a recurring revenue model and anticipating likely future changes to their marketplace. Already exporting to 41 countries, they have ambitious plans for growth and are diversifying their service product offering. They offer their employees excellent support in training and development and invest in the local community particularly through their engagement with schools and colleges.”

PKF Francis Clark Family Business Award


·         Harts of Stur, Sturminster Newton

·         Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth

·         Superior, Wimborne

Winner: Superior, Wimborne

Lead judge, Nick Love, Partner at PKF Francis Clark, said: “Realising they had to create a platform for a secure and sustainable business, Superior embarked on an investment programme that has resulted in the creation of an Apprenticeship Academy. This strategy has enabled the company to maintain its culture and secure the quality of skills required for future growth.

“By partnering itself with highly successful and demanding companies and re-investing its success in its academy and products, this family business really is a success story and a worthy winner of the PKF Francis Clark Family Business Award.”

Outstanding Contribution to Apprenticeships Award, sponsored by Sunseeker International


·         Atlas Elektronik UK, Dorchester

·         Cobham plc, Wimborne

·         Redweb, Bournemouth

Winner: Atlas Elektronik UK, Dorchester

Lead judge, Alex Bowman, talent manager at Sunseeker International, said: “The submission made for this award makes it clear that apprenticeships at Atlas Elektronik have company wide support. This scheme is clearly a valid and credible career option for those wanting to enter this sector making Atlas Elektronik deserving winners of this award.’’


Outstanding Customer Service Award, sponsored by Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa and Luxurycare


·         Anytech Solutions, Poole

·         Bournemouth Hallmark Hotels, Bournemouth

·         Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Evershot

Winner: Anytech Solutions, Poole

Lead judge, Justin Cohen, commercial manager of Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa, said: “When the judging panel visited Anytech Solutions we first noticed the company’s vision statement which read, ‘To be acknowledged as a leader in customer service standards’. This company is the embodiment of what defines outstanding customer service, as was made further evident by the string of glowing testimonials and ratings from hundreds of their customers.”

Retail and Leisure Experience Award, sponsored by the Dolphin Shopping Centre


·         Delfino Lounge, Poole

·         Forum Jewellers, Broadstone

·         The MacGuffin Project, Bournemouth

Winner: Forum Jewellers, Broadstone

Lead judge, John Grinnell, centre manager of The Dolphin Shopping Centre, said: “Forum Jewellers has a very professional team on the shop floor, and this professionalism extends to the website and their social media. The company has been shortlisted as one of our finalists for the past three years and has taken on board all feedback from mystery shoppers over the years.

“From looking in the shop window at the jewellery where the beautiful products are on display in a well presented manner, to entering the shop where the customer experience continues, excellent information was provided on the item to be purchased, as well as advice on features and benefits of their designer collections.  Overall Forum Jewellers provides a wonderful experience from start to finish, and are a worthy winner of this award.”

TeamJobs Team of the Year Award


·         Greenwood Campbell, Bournemouth

·         Inspire Professional Services, Poole

·         Siemens, Poole

Winner: Greenwood Campbell, Bournemouth

Lead judge, Jason Gault, managing director of TeamJobs, said: “Rarely in business do you see a company that from top to bottom shares the same belief to strive for excellence. It is clear that Greenwood Campbell has put a lot of thought into what their team means to them.

“From the second you walk in the door you feel the buzz, the warmth and a sense that everyone is working in unison. The business promotes the belief that they rise and fall as one, having spent time with the team I could really feel that this is the case. I came away feeling inspired and slightly in awe of what they have achieved from a team and cultural perspective by driving excellence, innovation and fun. The team at Greenwood Campbell are the real deal and worthy winners of the TeamJobs Team of the Year Award.’’

Young Chamber Award, sponsored by Blue Sky Financial Planning


·         Atlas Elektronik UK, Dorchester

·         Biotrack Ltd, Wareham

·         LoveLove Films, Bournemouth

Winner: Atlas Elektronik UK, Dorchester

Lead judge, Gary Neild, managing director of Blue Sky Financial Planning, said: “Throughout AEUK’s award entry the passion, enthusiasm and dedication for engaging with young people really stood out to us. The range of programmes they participate within is exceptional, and consequently the effort to maintain this is recognised. AEUK has gone beyond the basic involvement and proven how the company engages with younger people at a range of schools, all from different backgrounds.

“Our visit to Atlas was very enjoyable and proved further the company’s commitment to supporting young people. In particular we were impressed by Emily Gollop’s hard work in delivering a structured, well-planned programme of engagement that is simply outstanding.”

UK Exporter of the Year Award, sponsored by REIDsteel


·         Actisense, Poole

·         Aeronautical & General Instruments Limited (AGI), Poole

·         Trimetals Limited, Blandford Forum

Winner: Aeronautical & General Instruments Limited (AGI), Poole

Lead judge, Simon Boyd, managing director of REIDsteel, said: “AGI has embraced change to improve its capacity to export.  While it could have continued to rely upon its reputation as a supplier of products in a niche market, it decided to invest in its staff, and changed the way it operates to place it at the forefront of UK exporting. The dynamism and energy of those involved in the business could clearly be felt by all the judges.”

Those interested in finding out more about the 2018 awards should visit www.dorsetbusinessawards.co.uk or contact the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 01202 714800.

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