Portfolio Awards shortlist revealed - here are the Sunderland and County Durham companies still in the running for honours

An impressive array of Sunderland and County Durham companies has been revealed on the shortlist of this year’s Portfolio Awards.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 4:55 am

For the first time since the pandemic, the business awards has returned to honour firms which have done the region proud.

They will culminate in a grand finale ceremony at the Stadium of Light on Thursday, November 4.

Judges have chosen the shortlisted contenders in each of more than a dozen categories after an initial entry from scores of companies across Wearside.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Portfolio Awards. Who will be revealed as the 2021 champions?

They come from all sectors of industry and are now only one step away from finding out if they will be crowned winners.

Take a look at all of the businesses both large and small which are still in the running for trophies. The lists are below.

It has been two years since the last awards were held before the pandemic struck.

In 2019, there was a standing ovation as Hays Travel won both the Large Business of the Year and the Overall Business of the Year titles.

Pictured from left to right - at the launch of the awards last year - are Sunderland Echo editor Gary Oliver, awards correspondent Chris Cordner and organiser Lynn Wild with Sunderland Council leader Coun Graeme Miller.

Other winners at that time included the Lifetime Achievement Award which went to Trevor Hines, the managing director of Station Taxis .

The Special Recognition Award went to the Wonderful Wig Company and Employer of the Year was Gentoo.

This year's competition is the first to be held since the pandemic struck.

Now in their 15th year, the Sunderland Echo is proud to present the Portfolio Business 2021 Awards which are a celebration of excellence within the business sector.

Sunderland City Council leader, Cllr Graeme Miller, at the launch of the Portfolio Business 2021 Awards. He has praised the businesses of Wearside and County Durham as 'incredible'.

Sunderland City Council is once again the headline sponsor and we are also delighted to welcome on board Artventurers, Gentoo, the North East Autism Society, Station Taxis, Bradley Hall, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Thompson Waste Management, Sunderland College, University of Sunderland, NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, Sunderland Football Club, and the North East Business and Innovation Centre in Sunderland.

Back at the launch of the awards, Coun Graeme Miller, the leader of Sunderland City Council praised businesses in the area as ‘incredible’.

“From big businesses, to one-man bands, we have an abundance of talent across so many different sectors. And we must celebrate success in all its forms,” he told the Sunderland Echo at the time.

He added: “This is a city that has had the strength to overcome adversity for decades. That has faced economic crises head-on and come through them with the same steadfast focus and work ethic.

The 2019 winners.

“Businesses have suffered – indeed, most firms will have felt the pain of the pandemic, and many more will in the future, as we continue to fight through this crisis.

"But we have incredible entrepreneurs here, and a committed workforce that will support businesses through this economic storm. This is a crisis that forces us to physically distance, but has seen us unite to support each other as best we can.

"Businesses have come together – our business investment team has lent its support, and it is this collaboration and collective will that means we’ll emerge from this stronger.”


Small Business of the Year (sponsored by Sunderland City Council).

New World Design.

The Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards.

Roar Motion.

Oculus HR.


Medium Business of the Year (sponsored by the NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group).

Advanced Heat Transfer.

Thompson Waste Centre.

Woofs n scruffs.

Total BGS Energy.

Large Business of the Year (sponsored by Sunderland College).

Haskel Energy Systems.

Maxim Facilities Management.

Liebherr Sunderland.


Employer of the Year (sponsored by Sunderland Football Club).


IMPACT North East.

Lighthouse Therapy Group.

Penshaw View Training.

Technology of the Year (sponsored by Artventurers).

Club Supporter.

Haskel Energy Systems.

Smart Outdoor.


City Centre Business of The Year (sponsored by the Sunderland Echo).

Military Preparation College for Training.

New World Designs.

Designer Childrenswear.

Penshaw View Training.

Creative Industries (sponsored by the University of Sunderland).

Big Science.

New World Designs.

Roar Motion.

RAWR Productions.

Sole Trader of the Year (sponsored by the North East Business and Innovation Centre).

John Amer.

Beauty HQ.

Tarts and Traybakes.

Andyman Upcycling.

Best Green Business (sponsored by South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust).

Bottle Swap.


Thompson Waste Centre.

Haskel Energy Systems.

Special Community Business Award (sponsored by Gentoo).

IMPACT North East.

Liebherr Sunderland.

Back on the Map.

Keep Active (NE).

Social Enterprise Award (sponsored by the North East Business and Innovation Centre).

Tailored Leisure Company.

Creative Minds - North Star Counselling CIC.

Pop Recs CIC.

Sunshine Co-operative CIC.

Grindon Gymnastics.

Felt Nowt.

Best Training Provider (sponsored by the North East Autism Society).

BGL Group.


Sunderland College.


Leisure Business of the Year (sponsored by Station Taxis).

Mercure Newcastle George Washington.


Cafe 1851.


Corporate Social Responsibility (sponsored by Bradley Hall).

Veterans In Crisis.

Tailored Leisure Company.

Crystal Moon Holistic Wellbeing.

Bottle Swap.

Women in Business (sponsored by Thompson Waste Management).

Before We Meet Ltd – Tori Young.

Sweet Symphony School of Music – Louise Bell.

Studio B – Sara Stafford.

Back on the Map – Julie Gray, Jen McKevitt, Joanne Cooper.

Beauty HQ – Samira Boussaid.

Businesses making a difference in the pandemic (sponsored by NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group).

Veterans In Crisis.

PFF Group.

Durham Retail Displays.


The winners will be revealed in a ceremony at the Stadium of Light on Thursday, November 4.

The Sunderland Echo will be there to make sure the results are published online and in print soon after.

Watch out for more interviews and photos with all of the winners in a supplement in the Sunderland Echo on November 10.

Read More

Read More
Pits, ships, glass and more - Sunderland industry in the spotlight as we look ba...

Support your Echo and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. The Sunderland Echo has been on Wearside since 1873, and your support means we can continue telling your stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe.