Could you follow in this company's footsteps and be a Wearside winner?

A family-owned telecoms specialist is continuing to grow after winning a business award – and there could be more jobs on the way.
Nice Network at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year.Nice Network at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year.
Nice Network at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year.

The Nice Network, which employs 24 people at its Pennywell Industrial Estate headquarters, was crowned the Portfolio Awards Medium Business of the Year in 2018.

Head of marketing, Nikki Lee, said: “We have recorded year-on-year growth since the company was founded, which is hugely impressive, and as we plan for the future, we have a strategic growth plan which will hopefully see us increase our headcount and our client portfolio, whilst continuing to invest in the city.”

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Nice has been operating in the city for 33 years and is famed for inventing the Thatcham alarm system and for selling the first ever mobile phone in the North East back in 1986.

Nikki Lee and Chris Lee from the Nice Network at last year's awards.Nikki Lee and Chris Lee from the Nice Network at last year's awards.
Nikki Lee and Chris Lee from the Nice Network at last year's awards.

Nikki added: “We decided to rebrand from CCS to Nice Network just under a year ago to reflect not only our continued growth but also our future expansion plans.”

Since then, the company has continued to grow year-on-year, securing contracts with some of the world’s largest blue-chip companies and introducing a whole range of new services from IoT systems (inter-related computer devices) to cyber security packages and internet solutions.

The award win coincided with the rebranding of CCS to Nice Network and Nikki believes it played a huge role in helping shine a spotlight on the company’s new identity and the constant evolution of the services it offers.

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She added: “We were absolutely delighted when we were named as the winner of the ‘Medium Business of the Year’ award as we really didn’t expect it. It was a huge achievement for us and shows just how much the company has grown since it was launched in ‘86.

The Portfolio Awards.The Portfolio Awards.
The Portfolio Awards.

“Not only did it help shine a light on our recent rebrand but it also allowed us to congratulate our staff for all of their continuous hard work – both in terms of growing the company and supporting our corporate social responsibility initiatives.

“Sunderland has been our home for 33 years now and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to give so much back to the city which has supported us throughout our journey. I couldn’t recommend the awards highly enough to any businesses thinking of entering.

“There are so many fantastic companies in the city and the majority of them don’t do anywhere near enough to shout about their success. The Portfolio Awards do just that and as well as helping raise your profile, are a great way of rewarding your staff for their work.”

Now comes your chance to follow in their footsteps.

The line-up of sponsors for this year's awards.The line-up of sponsors for this year's awards.
The line-up of sponsors for this year's awards.
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There are plenty of well known categories from previous years such as small, medium and large business of the year, as well as exporter of the year.

Or you might want to enter sections such as apprentice of the year, technology of the year or best green business.

Whatever your choice, make sure you get those entries in so that we can honour the very best that Wearside has to offer.

Yet again, we have fantastic backers on board to help make the awards a success.

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Sunderland City Council is again our headline sponsor, and will sponsor our overall Business of the Year Award, as well as a Lifetime Achievement award, which is in the sponsor’s gift.

It is also backing the contribution social enterprises make to the city in the Social Enterprise Award.

Other sponsors are Gentoo, BIC, Northern Rail, Stagecoach, The Bid, SAFC, Bradley Hall, Sunderland College and the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust. We thank them all for their invaluable support.

There’s plenty of time to enter before the closing date for nominations on September 27. Then, the judges face the unenviable task of trying to whittle down the field into a shortlist.

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All of the chosen finalists will get to attend the grand finale. We will reveal the winners at a glittering evening of celebration on Thursday, November 7 at the Stadium of Light.

So come on, let’s get the process rolling by finding those businesses worthy of consideration.

To nominate, email [email protected]