Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 16.20.51The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) celebrated the best of UK business with its members at the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) annual Chamber Awards ceremony last night, with County Durham based Hodgson Sayers scooping the prestigious Business of the Year award.

A ‘magnificent seven’ North East companies travelled to the capital for the event – securing their place on their respective shortlists after triumphing at the North East Business Awards – to go up against around 70 other firms from around the UK in eight categories.

In a fantastic night for the region’s firms, the North East came away with six trophies – five as overall category winners, one as runner-up –

People Development Award and UK Business of the Year 2015 – Hodgson Sayers

Business in the Community Award – Gus Robinson Developments

High Growth Business of the Year – PJA Distribution

Exporting Business of the Year – Advanced Industrial Solutions (AIS)

Best Use of Technology Award – Andrew James (Runner-up)

Business & Education Partnership – Gateshead College (Finalist)

Small Business of the Year – Tomlinson Hall (Finalist)

Businesses from across the country came together at the gala dinner, hosted by BBC Breakfast Presenter Steph McGovern, to mark the outstanding achievements of both UK firms and Chambers of Commerce.

Hodgson Sayers were victorious winning Business of the Year, having already won the People Development Award earlier in the evening.

Based in Stanley, County Durham, Hodgson Sayers began as a roofing contractor and diversified into building, fencing and metal fabrication, and is committed to continuous improvement and upskilling its workforce and became the first construction company in the region – and second nationally – to become Living Wage Accredited.

Mike Wade, finance manager, Hodgson Sayers, said: “We care strongly about our people, from apprentices right up to our senior management team.

“We’re all a team, and a hardworking team develops a successful business. I’m blown away by the success of the North East at the national awards and I hope people are starting to understand the worth our region brings to the whole country.

“Our business is based on honesty, decency and integrity. We are overwhelmed to have won these awards but what underpins our success is our family roots and the dedication of our employees, for which I’m incredibly proud.”

BBC Breakfast and Business Presenter Steph McGovern said: “I am unbelievably proud of the North East and the businesses representing our region at the BCC Awards.

“The successes really showed that we can hold our own on the national stage and for them to come from my home town and places I love is incredible.

“I have had the opportunity to visit some of these businesses and see first hand the work they do and they have well and truly blown the socks off the competition. The North East is good for business.”

Gus Robinson Developments were recognised for their foundation, in partnership with Hartlepool College, launched last year to offer educational scholarships and employment opportunities to young people.

Chairman, Dan Robinson said: “Giving young people a focus, purpose and a sense of self-worth is of the upmost importance, that’s how you create future leaders and start the foundations to building a community with a great backbone.

“By allowing young people use of our boxing gym, we are teaching them the discipline needed to become successful, rounded individuals. Winning the Business in the Community Award Is fantastic with our efforts being recognised on a national scale.”

James Ramsbotham, NECC chief executive, said: “Every year we take an incredibly strong showcase of North East talent to the BCC Awards, and this year, bringing to a close our 200th anniversary, has absolutely broken the mould.

“A huge congratulation to Hodgson Sayers for their success and to all our region’s winners and finalists.

“These businesses are fantastic champions of the region and a wonderful representation of the talent pool available in the North East.

“Their success has shown that our region is leading the way in UK business and beyond. We are extremely proud to have the opportunity to show what we are made of to the whole country.”

Now in its 12th year, the BCC Awards are one of the showpiece events in the business calendar, highlighting the role of business in delivering growth and prosperity for the UK and local communities.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 16.20.44