An independent panel of judges from various circles of North East business have been brought together to judge Aycliffe Business Park’s latest Make Your Mark awards.
Make Your Mark 2015 – a competition which is exclusive to Aycliffe Business Park – will now take place on 10th February this year (2016), at the Xcel Centre.
The business park’s steering group has appointed five people to judge entries for the 11 awards which are up for grabs.
The panel consists of South Durham Enterprise Agency business support manager Ian Coull (above, left), Business Durham’s business development director Sarah Slaven (above, right) and Kerina Clark, on behalf of the Aycliffe Business Park steering group.
The Northern Echo’s business editor Andy Richardson and UTC South Durham principal Tom Dower (both missing from the pic) are also on the panel.
They will judge 11 Make Your Mark categories which will include Apprentice of the Year, Apprenticeships, Company of the Year, Employer of the Year, Engineering & Manufacturing award, Export award, Heart of the Community, Newcomer of the Year, Service Business of the Year and the Small Business award.
Entries can be made online at www.aycliffeawards.co.uk – there are no complicated forms to fill in – and people can enter their own business as well as others. The deadline is 22nd January 2016.
Kerina Clark, chair of the Aycliffe Business Park steering group, said: “We’re really pleased and excited that we’ve managed to bring together four people from a good stretch of different sectors, who all bring something very different to the judging panel.
“Tom has worked in industry and now has an involvement in the education and training side of things, Sarah and Ian bring a broad view of business and you have Andy and myself for a bit of local knowledge who know the business park inside-out.
“One of the main reasons we do this is because we want to showcase the companies that live and work on Aycliffe Business Park, and how great they are, so getting other people involved, who have a wider circle of influence, will help is to spread the word of the business park – and its tenants – a lot further.”
Business Durham’s business development director Sarah Slaven said: “We know there are some great business stories on Aycliffe Business Park, and it’s really important that we celebrate that by getting the message out to a wider audience.
“Also, by encouraging businesses who might not have previously been involved, it’s a golden opportunity for them to come forward and tell us about themselves and what they’ve achieved.
“There’s a really vibrant business community here already, but we know there are a lot of companies which we haven’t heard about yet. The Make Your Mark awards provide a great platform to showcase their stories and celebrate all of the fantastic companies here on Aycliffe Business Park.”
Ian Coull, business support manager at the South Durham Enterprise Agency, said: “The Enterprise Agency exists to support enterprise growth.
“Award ceremonies like this help to showcase the great work that’s going on around the business park, and doing things they don’t often shout about.
“It also gives them an opportunity for their customers, employees and other people to nominate them for something.
“It’s a bit of a cliché but they’re all winners on the night, because they’ll have been part of the judging process and many of them shortlisted, which will help to increase their visibility out there.
“And for the winners, of course, there’s a great opportunity to pull in more business.”
Tom Dower, principal of the UTC South Durham, added: “Make Your Mark is a brilliant platform for local companies of all shapes and sizes to enter a competition which will raise their profile.
“I believe passionately about promoting local businesses, especially for young people who are looking for meaningful careers and can be inspired by the opportunities open to them.
“It’s also a great opportunity for us all to get together, not only as a celebration, but also to network and get to know each other more in a social environment.”
Andy Richardson, business editor of The Northern Echo, said: “In my job I am lucky enough to report on some of the amazing businesses in our region and the people behind them. It is so important for us to celebrate success stories and get the message out there that, despite the many challenges the North-East faces, there are great things happening here too.
“These awards help to showcase how Aycliffe Business Park continues to play a key role in that success.”
The Make Your Mark 2014 winners included Tekmar (Company of the Year), Ebac (Engineering and Manufacturing), Meditek (Export), Emerald Biogas (Innovation), Gregg Little Testing Centre (Service Business), Xcel Centre (Employer), Gestamp Tallent (Apprenticeships), Tom Wise, D&S Services (Apprentice), Aycliffe Today Business (Newcomer), Beanies (Small Business) and Thrive Marketing (Heart of the Community).
The deadline to enter the 2015 Make Your Mark is 22nd January, and businesses can enter online at www.aycliffeawards.co.uk
• Tickets for the evening itself have been subsidised to make them affordable for all, and they’re priced just £29.95 each, while sponsorship packages are also available from www.aycliffeawards.co.uk or by emailing [email protected]