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BIC boss scoops social enterprise award

11th June 2014


The entrepreneur behind the Sunderland-headquartered North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) – which has helped to create 7,000 jobs in the region over the last 20 years – took home the Social Enterprise award at the EY North of England Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards dinner in Manchester.

The judges praised Chief Executive Paul McEldon’s ‘exceptional contribution to the Wearside economy’ and BIC’s commitment to ‘reinvesting its profits into an innovative range of support for new and early life businesses’.

The BIC, which is home to over 130 companies, is a business enterprise agency providing space and support services for a wide range of firms of different sizes. Designed to nurture businesses, the organisation supplies innovation support, marketing and ICT expertise.

Since his appointment in 2001, Paul has championed the role of the BIC as a key not-for-profit enterprise agency. This has involved introducing commercial initiatives and implementing various partnerships focused on developing the BIC’s role in the fields of incubation, innovation and business support.

Simon Whiteside, Director and North East Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader at EY, said: “Paul’s passion for enterprise and strong leadership, alongside his focus on innovation and forming important partnerships, have been the driving forces behind the stellar success of the North East Business and Innovation Centre.

“The organisation is ideally positioned to continue to help the businesses of the future expand by further developing its suite of services, and forming new partnerships locally and nationally – having already contributed so much to the North East economy.”

Stokesley-based Quorn Foods and Newcastle-based Winn Solicitors were amongst the firms shortlisted for awards.

Held at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, the awards dinner honoured nine business leaders across 10 categories (profiles below). Each winner was judged and selected from 29 finalists leading 27 companies from across the North West, Yorkshire and North East. All of the North of England winners will go on to represent the region at the UK finals in October 2014.

Simon Whiteside commented: “Entrepreneurs form the foundations of our economy, so it’s important that we continue to support their ambitions and celebrate their successes.

“Rebalancing the economy back in favour of the regions outside of London and the South East will be critical in securing a recovery for the whole of the UK. With entrepreneurs like our finalists creating jobs and wealth right across the North, we can feel confident that this rebalancing will be achieved over the coming years.”

EY North of England Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 – Bill Holmes, Founder and Chief Executive, Radius Payment Solutions

Bill Holmes, Chief Executive and Founder of Crewe-based Radius Payment Solutions, was named EY North of England Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014.

Bill, who also took home the International award, was described by the judges as having built a ‘remarkable business’, which he has grown from ‘a two man band to become an international market leader’.

Crewe-based Radius Payment Solutions provides fuel card solutions to business and commercial fleets. Having started life nearly 25 years ago, the company now services over 90,000 business customers globally and employs over 600 people.

Other North of England winners

Private Equity – Jon Wright, Xercise4Less

Jon Wright, Chief Executive of Leeds-based budget gym chain Xercise4Less, won the Private Equity award. The judges applauded ‘the vibrant and open culture’ Jon has created at the business, and were impressed at how the company secured capital from the Business Growth Fund and Lloyds Bank to accelerate its growth strategy.

Emerging – Nitin Passi, Missguided

Nitin Passi, Managing Director of Manchester-based Misguided, won the Emerging award. The judges praised the young entrepreneur’s ‘understanding of his consumers’ alongside his ‘commercial acumen and crystal clear vision’ in building the online fashion retailer.

Consumer Products and Services – Tracy Mort MBE, Grace Cole

The judges hailed Tracy Mort MBE’s ‘passion for new product development’ and her company’s ‘impressive expansion into international markets’. The Managing Director of Cheadle-based Grace Cole, a bath and body products, cosmetics and beauty gifts business, picked up the Consumer Products and Servicesaward.

Manufacturing – Mottie Kessler, 2M Holdings

2M Holdings’ CEO Mottie Kessler was commended by the judges for growing the Runcorn-headquartered company into a truly multinational manufacturing business, highlighting ‘excellent acquisitions, sustained organic growth and its re-location to the North of England’ as the key milestones. He picked up the award for Manufacturing.

Technology – Mark Austin and Paul Kenyon, Avecto

The award for Technology went to Mark Austin and Paul Kenyon, Joint Founders of Cheadle-headquartered Avecto, which provides Windows privilege management. The judges held up the business as a shining example of how ‘teamwork, technical know-how and commercial flare’ can meet to create an industry leading company.

Business Products and Services – Stephen Thorpe, CME Medical UK

Stephen Thorpe, Executive Chairman of Blackpool-based CME Medical UK, won the Business Products and Services award. Under his leadership, the company – which develops, sells, markets and distributes medical devices – is ‘agile and listens to its end users’ to succeed against global competition, according to the judges.

Turnaround – David Judge, Cormar Carpets

The judges said that David Judge’s ‘passion for his products and desire to keep production in the UK’ are what sets him apart. The Managing Director of Bury-based Cormar Carpets – who has created a successful consumer-focused manufacturer in a challenging industry – went home with the Turnaround award.

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