A trailblazing bank and a lighting and testing firm with an inspiring story at its heart were among the big winners at the Best New Tees Business Awards 2023.
On a night of celebration at the Kirkleatham Walled Garden Pavilion, Middlesbrough-based GB Bank emerged with the coveted Best New Business title.
The awards event was organised by Resolution Media and Publishing, a company co-owned by Aycliffe Business editor Martin Walker, which has now delivered 16 business awards events in the last five years.
There was double joy for Steve Southern of Southern Asset Management, with his firm winning the Best New Services Business prize and Steve himself clinching the Standout Achievement award.
Ten awards were handed out in a ceremony full of excitement, drama, tension and triumph.
Organised by Tees Business in association with keynote sponsor Additional Lengths and hosted by radio presenter Gary Philipson, it was a night that saw around 270 people enjoy a three-course meal and a keynote speech from Racz Group founder Mike Racz before the drama of the third Best New Business Awards began to unfold.
Winning two of the night’s 10 awards was Stockton-based Southern Asset Management, which specialises in structural NDT testing and asset management of lighting columns, masts, signs and structures.
But behind the business success lies a story of bravery and determination, with founder Steve Southern openly talking of the mental health struggles and dark times he had to endure before tasting success with his business.
On collecting his brace of awards, Steve admitted: “This is emotional, very emotional – but it’s not just me, it’s about family and the team.
“I’ve had mental health issues but I’ve come back. It’s all about family, talking to people, getting good advice and trying to be as strong as you can – get good people around you.
“It’s about being passionate, honest, loyal and having integrity. Believe in what you do – if you do that, you can get what you want.
“People before profit is my logo and I stand by it.”
It was a great night, too, for GB Bank, which clinched the blue riband Best New Business title.
The first major bank to be headquartered in Middlesbrough, it aims to be a “force for good” in the world of property development – and now it’s an award-winner.
Co-founder and CEO, Stephen Lancaster, told Tees Business: “We’re absolutely thrilled – it’s taken so much hard work and so many people to get it to this point – the team that’s with me tonight and the team behind us in the bank.
“Why Middlesbrough? Very simple – it comes back to the North-East being one of those underserved regions where there’s such a lack of finance.
“If you look at what’s going on in Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley at the moment, it’s an incredible place to be – why wouldn’t you want to be here with so many fabulous new energies and industries? You want to be here so we’re absolutely thrilled and delighted to be the first bank based in Middlesbrough.”
All in all, then, another fantastic night that served up well-deserved recognition for the brilliant new business talent our region has to offer.
Here’s to 2024!
Click here to see a full round-up from the awards night including a highlights film, picture galleries and more reaction.