THEY came, they saw, they celebrated...
The best of business across Wearside was honoured at the Stadium of Light last night with the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2012.
About 300 guests packed into the banqueting suite to see Station Taxis named our Business of the Year, alongside a host of winners.
This year saw a range of new awards complemented by a variety of new entrants and some familiar faces.
Entertainment came courtesy of compere Ray Spencer and The Apprentice’s Katie Hopkins, who had clearly done her homework by swotting up on most of the companies present.
Acting Echo editor Richard Ord opened the proceedings and paid tribute to his predecessor Rob Lawson, whose idea it was to hold an annual celebration of business.
“The awards were Rob’s brainchild,” said Richard.
“He set them up in 2003 to celebrate Wearside business and they have grown from there.”
He thanked the sponsors, without whose generous support the Portfolio Awards would not be possible.
“We know times are hard and the Sunderland Echo is not immune from those times, which is why it is wonderful to see so many local companies coming forward as sponsors to support us,” he said.
Sunderland City Council was again our main sponsor and council leader Coun Paul Watson explained why the awards were so vital – now more than ever.
“Times are hard, and it is really important that people who have the city at heart, who really care for the city, when the going gets tough, they keep going,” he said.
“And the Echo has done that.”
The tough times would not last forever and Sunderland’s business community had to be ready when the upturn came.
“There are a lot of good things happening in this city,” said Coun Watson.
“Hopefully, we will be at the forefront of the recovery when it comes – that is what we have got to prepare for.”
Business of the Year – Over 50 employees
WINNER: The Bridges
RUNNER UP: 2Touch
Small Business of the Year – Over 10 employees
WINNER: Excel Elevator Ltd
Medium Business of the Year – 11-to-50 employees
WINNER: McNally and Thompson
RUNNER UP: Collinson the Jewellers
Green Business of the Year
WINNER: Fitz Architects
Employee of the Year
WINNER: Katherine White – Olivers Dental Studio
Employer of the Year
WINNER: Olivers Dental Studio
WINNER: 4th Aspect
WINNER: Brightspark Training
WINNER: Tavistock Leisure Ltd
RUNNER UP: Mama’s Italian Kitchen
Creative Industries Award
WINNER: RGB Media
New Business of the Year – Under two years
WINNER: Little Black Dress Club
RUNNER UP: Charlotte’s House of Flowers
SPECIAL COMMENDATION: Charlie Hird’s Rarebreed Pork
Overall Portfolio Business of the Year
WINNER: Station Taxis
Special Community Award
Outstanding Contribution to the City Award
WINNER: Janet Snaith