The best yet, say business awards judges

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QUITE simply the best yet.

That was the judges’ verdict on the selection of candidates competing for the SME of the Year title in the Yorkshire Business Awards.

“It’s very easy to talk ourselves down. I’m getting increasingly irritated with people at a national level who are talking down the North,” said one of the judges. “There are fantastic companies in Yorkshire.”

Representing the best of the region’s entrepreneurial and professional talent, the judges met at Pinsent Masons in Leeds yesterday to decide the winners of this year’s awards.

They will be announced at the annual fundraising lunch for the Variety children’s charity on December 14.

The other categories include Business Leader of the Year and Board of the Year.

Again, judges had a very strong field of candidates to choose from, highlighting the strength of Yorkshire’s private sector.

“These companies are growing in markets that are really tough. Companies in traditional sectors are reinventing themselves,” said another of the judges.

The judges were Lawrence Tomlinson of LNT Group, Hunter Kelly of Ernst & Young, Andrew Palmer of the Confederation of British Industry, Peter Wilkinson of InTechnology, Richard Gregory of Yorkshire Bank, Cliff Sewell of Sewell Recruitment Group, Chris Clegg of Endless, Stephen Griffiths of Rothschild, Juliette Healey of the Bank of England, Martin Shaw of Pinsent Masons, Ian Restall of Flathill Communications, Nimble Thompson of NG Bailey and Bernard Ginns of the Yorkshire Post.

The awards have raised more than £3m for disadvantaged children in Yorkshire, helping to pay for 70 Sunshine coaches, 150 wheelchairs and 500 general appeals since the launch in 1986.

Mr Shaw, chairman of the Variety committee in Yorkshire, said: “I am amazed at the support from the Yorkshire business community.”

The 2012 Yorkshire Business Awards lunch will take place on December 14 at The Queens hotel in Leeds. Speakers will be announced soon.

Attendance is on a ticket only basis. Email yorkshire@variety.org.uk or call 0113 245 9937 for details.