Last year's Portfolio Business Awards Community and Overal winner Anne Ganley of Thompson Building Services.
Last year's Portfolio Business Awards Community and Overal winner Anne Ganley of Thompson Building Services.
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THE Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards 2011 are go. It is time to recognise all that is best in business across Wearside, South Tyneside and East Durham and this year’s awards promise to be the most successful yet

The ceremony will be held at the Stadium of Light on Thursday, October 13.

Echo deputy editor Richard Ord explained the thinking behind the starting the Echo’s own business awards seven years ago.

“We wanted our awards to be a little bit more informal than others, an opportunity for Wearside businesses to get together and network.”

It is an approach that has paid off spectacularly, with more entries and more attendees at the awards ceremony every year.

Sunderland City Council has been joint main sponsor for the awards for several years and this year is going it alone.

Leader Paul Watson said: “Over the years, the awards have grown and become more important and the evening is a regular fixture on the business calendar of Sunderland.

“We need that type of community spirit in our local business.

“Successful businesses provide jobs and profitability and that enables us to improve the quality of life for all people across Sunderland.”

Other sponsors this year include Gentoo, CES Group, Northumbrian Water, Press Ahead, The Bridges, SAFC, University of Sunderland, Morton’s solicitors and TTR Barnes.

Last year’s big winner was Thompson’s Building Centres boss Anne Ganley, who saw her firm scoop the Special Community award before being named overall Business of the Year.

She said: “There is nothing like being acknowledged in this way to keep the morale of all employees high, showing them that what they do is appreciated not just by their bosses but by the world outside.”

This year’s awards categories are:Entrepreneur of the Year; Special Community; Technology; Green Business; Small Business below 50 employees; Small business, 50 employees or more; Employer; Employee; Young Business; Training; Manufacturing and Creative Industries, plus a Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Sunderland Council.