Revealed! The champions of industry are announced at the Sunderland Portfolio Business Awards

Overall Business of the Year winners at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio 2016 Business Awards at the Stadium of Light was Calsonic Kansei
Overall Business of the Year winners at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio 2016 Business Awards at the Stadium of Light was Calsonic Kansei
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It was a night of celebration for the finest in Wearside industry as they collected their trophies at the Sunderland Portfolio Business Awards.

From sole traders to giants of business – there were winners galore at the awards finale at the Stadium of Light.

Winners in the Sunderland Echo Portfolio 2016 Business Awards at the Stadium of Light last night

Winners in the Sunderland Echo Portfolio 2016 Business Awards at the Stadium of Light last night

But delighted representatives of one company had extra reason to celebrate as Calsonic Kansei took the Overall Business of the Year title as well as winning the Exporter of the Year category.

Judges praised the firm as a “real success story” after hearing how Calsonic was an expanding business, which still focused on keeping its loyal workforce at its heart.

They hailed it as a firm which was doing well in a challenging market place.

The firm, which has its headquarters in Japan, has a core business of supplying heat exchangers, heating ventilation and air conditioners, as well as exhaust systems, dashboards and electronic components to the automotive industry. It operates worldwide and has a site in Washington, two in Sunderland and a warehousing operation in Doxford Park.

The standard of entries this year was truly outstanding with a great mix of well-established firms and new start-ups. The city’s future is in safe hands.

Awards spokesman

But Calsonic’s jubilant team were not the only ones celebrating on a night filled with triumphs.

Other winners included Seaham Vets winning the Small Business of the Year title, with Artventurers picking up a special commendation in the same category; and TTR Barnes crowned Medium Business of the Year.

HLA Services are this year’s Large Business of the Year, while Impact North East (Sharon Boyd) was the Employer of the Year.

Rachel Reay, at the Link School, was Apprentice of the Year, while WaymarkIT won the Technology of the Year category.

Physical Education & Active Kids (PEAK) was judged the New Business of the Year and Gentoo took home the Best Green Business title.

Chameleon celebrated winning the Best Training Provider category, while the Sunderland bar and eaterie Port of Call was the Leisure winner.

The Creative Industries Award went to Pulse, while East Coast Fitness was the winner of the Sole Trader of the Year section.

The Best Age Friendly business was Station Taxis and the Special Community Award was won by SAFC Museum.

The Bridges won the City Centre Business of the Year title.

The Social Enterprise trophy went to Back On The Map and a special award for lifetime achievement went to the outdoor clothing firm Berghaus, which celebrated its 50th year in business.

As the competition came to a close, there was praise for the fantastic backers of this year’s competition who helped to make it such a success.

Make it Sunderland was again our headline sponsor, and sponsored our overall Business of the Year Award, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award, which is in the sponsor’s gift.

Make It Sunderland also backed the contribution social enterprises make to the city in the Social Enterprise Award.

Other sponsors were Maxim, Quayside Exchange, K&L Groundworks, UKasl, North East Business & Innovation Centre (BIC), Gentoo, Age UK Sunderland, The Bridges, Stagecoach North East, TTR Barnes, Calsonic Kansei, Northumbrian Water and Sunderland College.

• Watch out for a 24-page supplement next Wednesday in the Sunderland Echo, featuring photographs and interviews with all of the winners.

The winners:

• Small Business of the Year: Special commendation - ARTVenturers.

• Small Business of the Year: Seaham Vets.

• Medium Business of the Year: TTR Barnes.

• Large Business of the Year: HLA Services.

• Employer of the Year: Impact North East (Sharon Boyd).

• Apprentice/Trainee of the Year: Rachel Reay.

• Technology of the Year: WaymarkIT.

• City Centre Business of the Year: The Bridges.

• New Business of the Year: Physical Education & Active Kids (PEAK).

• Best Green Business; Gentoo.

• Best Training Provider: Chameleon.

• Exporter of the Year; Calsonic Kansei.

• Leisure Business of the Year: Port of Call.

• Creative Industries Award; Pulse.

• Sole Trader of the Year: East Coast Fitness.

• Best Age Friendly Business: Station Taxis.

• Special Community Award: SAFC Museum.

• Social Enterprise of the Year: Back On The Map.

• Lifetime Achievement Award: Berghaus.

• Overall Business of the Year: Calsonic Kansei.