See the full gallery from the event
The 2009 EN North West Entrepreneur of the Year Awards took place on 8 October 2009 at The Palace Hotel, Manchester.
This year's speaker was Sir Michael Bibby (CEO Bibby Line Group), and the event host was Frank McKenna (Downtown Liverpool/Preston/Manchester)
Sir Michael Bibby
The chief executive of Bibby Line Group since 2000, Sir Michael heads the UK's oldest surviving shipping company, and has overseen the diversification of the 200 year old company into less cyclical areas such as financial services, logistics, supermarkets and burial sites. Sir Michael, an accountant who was educated, like his father, at Rugby and Trinity College, Oxford, is a throwback to an older generation of Liverpool families, which channelled part of their wealth into local charities, such as the Birkenhead Boys Club.
Technology Entrepreneur Of The Year
Recessions come and recessions go but Scott Fletcher’s focus on growth and appetite for deals never wavers. As well as growing his core technology infrastructure business, ANS, 20 per cent year-on-year, has over the past year been executing strategic alliances and integrating recent acquisitions. We hear he’s also had a hush-hush deal or two going on that we look forward to finding out more about in the coming months.
Exporter Of The Year
The collapsing pound is meant to have made life easier for UK exporters, but Nitecrest have been growing their loyalty, phone and smart cards business in emerging markets as well as in Europe for years – and now produce more than five million cards every day. And exports make up 75 per cent of their £33 million turnover, a figure that keeps growing on the back of some major recent investments in both manufacturing kit and sales staff.
Family Business Of The Year
William Lees-Jones is the sixth generation of his family to lead the JW Lees brewery and drinks distribution business, and has brought back to the firm the entrepreneurial flair of his famous ancestor, John Willie Lees. This year, in the teeth of the worst consumer recession for decades, the company moved quickly to buy ten suburban pubs from Punch Taverns, extending the Lees brand beyond its city centre heartland. The company has also just launched a Coronation Street-branded ale and its wholesale distribution arm has recently been chosen to supply the North West market by the world’s most famous wine brand, Baron Philippe de Rothschild.
New Media Entrepreneur Of The Year
Fil Adams-Mercer, who started out on the markets, got into – and out of – the video shops business at exactly the right time. Now he’s doing it again with his online parcel delivery service – a concept that sounds simple but relies on all kinds of complex systems in the background. The company continues to grow at 40 per cent a year, based in no small part on its founder’s eye for an opportunity and understanding of the way online business works.
Most Entrepreneurial Company Of The Year
Most of us have gone abroad, developed a fondness for the local tipple, and spent hours boring everyone around us about how they should sell it at home. Then forget all about it. But not Kieron Barton. Together with his business partner Gareth Whittle he set up Chilli Marketing in 2003 to distribute the Peruvian beer Cusquena (pron. CUS-KEN-YA) into the UK. Over the last year the business has begun distributing two new premium imported brands and advanced preparations are underway for it to launch its own branded lager in 2010.
Young Entrepreneur Of The Year
Marc Duschenes founded the property and fund management group Braemar in 2002. After a bumpy 2007-08, he has diversified the business into farmland, student property and ground rents funds, building a business with assets under management of £300 million and growing.
North West Entrepreneur of the Year
Over the past few years Matthew Riley built Nelson-based Daisy Communications into one of the biggest independent business telecoms suppliers in the country. This July, though, he completed a reverse takeover of Freedom4 Group – a deal valued at £200 million that included acquiring the former business operation of Pipex. This deal provided him with an AIM listing and – through an £84 million fundraising – the firepower to go out and start buying up rivals in earnest. He has already acquired Eurotel, AT Communication and the telecoms division of Redstone – putting Riley so far ahead of his independent competitors as truly to be in a league of his own.