INSPIRATION and fortitude were loudly applauded as hard-earned trophies were handed out at the Wigan Business Awards.
A black tie dinner at the DW Stadium saluted not only the eight winners of the nine coveted prizes on offer but all those other high achievers who put themselves in contention in the face of continuingly difficult economic circumstances.
The tributes were led by Miranda Barker who announced that she is to stand down as Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Wigan President.
Her successor will be John Hughes of the award-winning Hughes Brothers construction firm of Leigh which famously counts ex-convicts among its recruits.
But Friday night was about other stars of the borough economy.
The show-stealer proved a new-comer to the awards. Leigh-based civil engerineering firm Allied Infrastructure Management has received little local publicity but is hugely successful in its sector and it managed to pick up both the Family Business gong as well as the big one: Business of the Year, beating Shearings, Arrow XL and Lowri Beck.
The Small or Medium Enterprise of the Year award went to building and decorating firm A Connolly of Wigan.
The annual We’re Backing Wigan Award, which is sponsored by our sister paper the Wigan Observer and rewards those firms that help raise the borough’s profile, was won by Fix It UK which offers young people the chance to train as car mechanics.
Heat shrink products firm Krempfast, which has a base at Ince, was the winner of the Exporter of the Year class, while Hawkley Brook vehicle rental, training and management firm, finally broke its duck in the competition by claiming the Employer Supporting Apprentices award.
While it missed out on the Business of the Year prize, metering firm Lowri Beck clinched the Something to Shout About Award for firms who feel they are world class examples of quality in business.
The Environmental Technologies category was claimed by ARC Window Films and the Start-up Enterprise of the Year was data migration and integration expert Cloud Perspective.
Ms Barker said: “It’s such a great pleasure every year for us to meet the companies that come forward for the Business Awards. Every year we are amazed that there are so many wonderful, profitable and successful businesses in our Borough.
“We’re not surprised we have that talent locally but that there always seems to be more to discover, superb examples of thriving businesses we had yet to meet! From our local small and medium-sized firms supplying into international customers of the highest order, and firms based in the borough with multi-million-pound turnovers doing so much for our local economy, to so many seriously enterprising charities and voluntary groups working to support our local young people, and communities.”
Guest speakers included Chris Fletcher, deputy chief executive of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and North West Labour Euro MP Brian Simpson.