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Chinook Sciences wins Nottingham Post Business Award for Excellence in Science & Technology
May 2nd, 2014

A NOTTS business which decided to tackle recession head on and invest for the future was last night revealed as the winner of the flagship prize in this year’s Nottingham Post Business awards.

Hillarys Blinds, which employs more than 1,000 people designing, manufacturing and selling made-to-measure window coverings, was named Nottinghamshire Company of the Year at an awards ceremony held at the east Midlands Conference Centre.

Judges of the Browne Jacobson-sponsored award chose Hillarys ahead of three other high-flying businesses, with patent and trademark attorneys Potter Clarkson, food firm Pork Farms and temporary roadways business Lion Trackhire taking the runner-up spots.

Hillarys is headquartered in Colwick and has become a market leader in blinds, curtains, shutters and awnings since it was established in 1971.

Even though the home improvement market has suffered during the downturn, Hillarys took the decision to invest heavily in a brand makeover, a new consumer website, new designs and new products.

Chief executive John Risman explained: “2013 has been an extraordinary year for the Hillarys Group.

“We continue to invest in people, operations, product and service and there are already some important projects in trial phase which include international e-commerce and the launch of made-to-measure carpets.”

One of the county’s most active businessmen was also recognised at last night’s ceremony, which took place in front of an audience of hundreds and was organised by Champions (UK) plc.

Alan Hardy is well-known in business circles as the boss of Paragon Interiors Group plc, a £50m turnover company which designs and installs interiors for a range of major corporate clients.

But he actually runs and owns six businesses in total – among them the Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club and a talent management agency which represents three former X-factor contestants – and was named Business Entrepreneur of the Year.

He won the Mattioli Woods-sponsored award ahead of Miriam Malik, who is aged just 28 but already owns and runs an expanding laser hair removal business MiMilaser Clinics, and Dale Robinson, the head of the £11.5m turnover Lion Trackhire business.

The awards are split into 13 different categories, and the other winners were:

Nottinghamshire Small Business of the year, sponsored by ncn business to business

Family-run Trimcraft was named Small Business of the Year. Vince Fakey’s family-run company has cornered the market in scrapbooking, and supplies a raft of high street names with arts and crafts products.

It also supplies customers in 25 countries, and has enjoyed such success that it’s expanded into new premises at Abbeyfield Court in Lenton and set up a state-of-the-art showroom.

The runners-up in the small business category were App Institute, which develops online apps and recently secured £150,000 backing for expansion from the Nottingham technology Grant Fund, and Air-IT, which manages the IT and telecoms needs of an expanding client base from premises at Nottingham Business Park.

New Business of the Year, sponsored by Freeth Cartwright

Gedling-based Hairven Salon was named best new Business of the Year – the latest in a line of awards won by a business which is less than three years old.

Owner Collette Osborne turned her back on a career in accounting to set up the business, which has recently trebled in size to cope with expansion and now employs 14 people.

Runners-up were Nottingham-based 2 Red, which supplies and installs home energy and insulation products, and Mansfield Manor, a boutique hotel, wedding and events venue based in a listed building in scenic Carr Bank Park in Mansfield.

International Trade, sponsored by PKF Cooper Parry

The international architect, design and master planning business Benoy was chosen as winner of the award, a reflection of its huge success in locations as far afield as China, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

The Newark-based business – which has half its 500-strong team in Hong Kong – has been responsible for landmark developments such as Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, and is currently on site with 50 projects in china alone.

At the same time its chairman, Graham Cartledge CBE, has acted as a flag waver for Nottingham’s economy, joining the Prime Minister on international trade delegations.

Runners-up in this category were patent and trademark attorneys Potter Clarkson, which specialises in helping firms exploit and protect their intellectual property, and electronic displays business TEW Group.

Excellence in Science & Technology, sponsored by JLT

Chinook Sciences, a company which has developed technology used across four continents to turn waste into energy, took the science and technology prize.

Judges were persuaded by the way in which it has developed a unique process that enables the full recovery of valuable materials from waste, reducing landfill and recovering energy without burning or incineration.

Runners-up in the category were Filtertechnik, whose filters clean fuel used by clients including F1 teams, and Romax Technologies, a market leader in the virtual design and development of transmission systems

Excellence in Manufacturing, sponsored by Barclays

Nottingham-based TEW Group, which designs and makes large-scale electronic display systems, convinced the judges it should be the winner of the manufacturing award.

Its displays keep passengers informed about train times at St Pancras, national grid uses a TEW display to keep an eye on power distribution, while car component firms use its control systems.

Runners-up in the category were Belton Massey, which runs catalytic converter manufacturer BM Catalysts, and modular buildings company Caledonian Modular.

Retail Business of the Year, sponsored by Vision Express

The Bead Shop took the retail award, Hana [corr] Glover and Robin Bellingham having started their business in a living room but developing it into a shop which is a mecca for people who love costume jewellery.

The business was also an early adopter of e-commerce and drives more custom through an annual bead and craft show.

Runners-up were Fairly Trading and Mrs Bishop’s Doggy Deli.

Creative Industries Business of the Year, sponsored by Nottingham Trent University

Upper Cut Productions were already flying high before they were named winner of the Creative Industries award – this is the business that uses miniature helicopters, tethered balloons and specially engineers poles to give is clients a photographic eye in the sky.

It won the award ahead of textiles designer Tori Murphy and web design and social media agency Absolute Design.

Services Award, sponsored by Blusource

Nottingham has been a big success story for Bistro Live, which was named winner of the services category. The live music and restaurant venue has become a real destination in the city for people looking for a great night out in one place.

The runners up in the category were retail software and solution business Retail Assist and law firm Austin Moore & Partners.

Nottinghamshire Sales & Marketing Award

Another company which decided it wouldn’t take recession lying down won the sales and marketing award. Civil and structural engineers BSP Consulting mounted a major business development push which helped it win new clients in new markets.

Its conscious decision to invest in growth means it is now well-placed to make the most of the economic upturn.

Runners-up in the category were Hillarys Blinds and Nottinghamshire Country Cricket Club.

Contribution to the Community Award, sponsored by Baker Tilly

Nottingham means much more than a place to do business for Contribution to the Community winner TDX Group.

The Lace Market business won the award for its Making the Connection initiative, which set a target of raising £20,000 for Nottinghamshire Hospice, but actually brought in £34,000 through events which ranged from a charity ball to a skydive.

The runners-up were social enterprise Arch Communications, and Trent Bridge, which won recognition for the way it involved the community in its Ashes success.

Not-For-Profit Award, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin

Emmanuel House, which provides help and shelter for the homeless and vulnerable was chosen as winner of the Not-for-Profit award.

It won praise for offering much more than a place to go – it also works with other agencies to help people overcome the challenges they face and rebuild their lives.

Runners-up in the category were Malt Cross Trust and School for Parents.