An afternoon of laughter, tears and the best that Yorkshire business, sport and philanthropy has to offer was showcased at the annual Yorkshire Business Awards in support of children’s charity Variety.
The annual Christmas event honoured some of the region’s top businesses with attendees treated to an inspirational address from veteran broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald, a lively question and answer session with Olympic triathletes Alistair and Johnny Brownlee and a poignant posthumous award to the late MP Jo Cox whose life was tragically cut short during the summer.
The event also generated £140,000 for Variety, a figure warmly welcomed by Variety’s Yorkshire chairman Duncan Syers.
Di Walker, chief executive at Karro Food Group, was presented with the award for Business Leader of the Year for her work in turning round the food group from a £14m loss to a business which returned a £25m profit at its last results.
Ms Walker said: “I am incredibly humbled and grateful to win this. Without my team at Karro and their hard work we would not be here today.
“I would like to thank the judging panel, Endless who have been great supporters for us and the Karro team. They have been very strong during this turnaround and we are very proud of what we do.”
When asked what she felt made a great business leader she said: “You need to lead by example. You need to understand what drives the team and motivates them I am a firm believer in surrounding yourself with the best people you can get.
“You must expect the best but treat people with dignity and respect along the way. You have to take the tough decisions when you have to and, hopefully, have a little bit of fun along the way.”
The award for Board of the Year was presented to Huddersfield-based branding firm Principle, whose chairman Richard Butterfield told the audience he was “very flattered, very proud and very pleased” to win the award.
SME of the Year was won by transport management company Tracsis whose chief executive John McArthur said: “The companies we service are really good companies.
“We show that you do not have to be a big company to work with big companies.
“We are doing good things with big companies and hopefully we can continue to do that going forward.”
Finally the Young Business of the Year category was taken by The Floow, a Sheffield-based software provider.
Dr Sam Chapman, chief innovation officer and co-founder, said: “When we were looking at setting up we considered London and Silicon Valley but Sheffield was by far the best place for us. That decision has not been proven wrong. We find it is great for both retention and skills.”
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post Sir Trevor said: “I have known about Variety for many years, it’s work is terribly well-known.
“In life as a journalist you see so many instances where whatever situations are, the people who suffer first are the children.”