Celebration of Yorkshire business

YORKSHIRE is the powerhouse of Britain’s economy, but too many of our leading businesses don’t get the recognition they deserve.

The Yorkshire Post’s Excellence in Business Awards give our unsung corporate heroes the chance to shine.

The awards honour businesses of all shapes and sizes, and reflect the strength in depth of our corporate community.

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Now in their sixth year, the awards have attracted heavyweight private sector backing from main sponsors Aviva, DLA Piper, Goldman Sachs, PwC and Yorkshire Bank. In recent years, guests at the glittering awards dinner in Leeds have been entertained by a host of political heavyweight speakers, including Prime Minister David Cameron – who attended when he was Leader of the Opposition – and George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which employs 700 staff at its Leeds office, has supported the awards since their inception.

The senior partner of PwC’s Leeds office, Roger Marsh, has seen lots of economic growth and retraction over his 35-year career.

Many of the big corporate names from 1976 have vanished, or changed beyond recognition.

Over time, as Mr Marsh observed, other names have taken their place.

“We want to be part of a dynamic economy and the Excellence in Business Awards are a great way of showing that we are continuing to support it,’’ he said. “The awards are a chance to shout about the uniqueness of our part of the world.”

In the case of Leeds, for example, Mr Marsh believes we should focus on the fact that it is a world-class centre for oncology.

He added: “The hip prosthesis was invented in Leeds. It’s those sorts of things, which, if you look from a global perspective, have a real impact. A lot has been created here that we just take for granted. These advances didn’t happen by chance and we shouldn’t ignore them. Yorkshire has lots to promote about itself. Just look at the countryside and think about the famous authors and artists who are from this part of the world. We need to celebrate all that.”

PwC is sponsoring the category for companies with a turnover of between £10m and £50m.

This year, we introduce a major new category, the Business Community Award, sponsored by Aviva, the FTSE-100 insurance giant and major Yorkshire employer.

In this award, judges will be looking for excellent examples of businesses actively working in the community to enhance education and skills development. As Yorkshire faces public sector spending cuts, business can play a lead role in helping to regenerate communities across the region.

Alongside Aviva, we welcome two more new sponsors this year.

Goldman Sachs, the investment bank which has been running a business education programme for Yorkshire entrepreneurs, is sponsoring the Young Business of the Year category, open to companies up to three years old.

TC Harrison JCB, the main Yorkshire dealer for the iconic UK manufacturer, is supporting the SME Manufacturer of the Year category, open to firms with turnovers up to £10m. The deadline for entries is June 17. The award ceremony takes place in Leeds on October 13. To enter visit www.yorkshirepost.co.uk.

The vital categories

This year’s award categories are: Young Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by O2, open to owner managers and directors aged 35 and under.

Innovation of the Year, sponsored by Drax, for companies that can demonstrate innovation in their approach to growth.

SME Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by TC Harrison JCB, open to companies with a turnover of £10m or less.

Outstanding Employer of the Year, sponsored by the Bradford University School of Management.

Exporter of the Year, for companies that have made progress in overseas markets, sponsored by thebigword.

Business Community Award, sponsored by Aviva.

Young Business of the Year, sponsored by Goldman Sachs.

Companies with a Turnover up to £10m, sponsored by Yorkshire Bank.

Companies with a Turnover between £10m and £50m, sponsored by PwC.

Companies with a Turnover above £50m, sponsored by DLA Piper.

The Yorkshire Post Individual Award for Excellence, chosen by this newspaper.