South Devon College were the big winners on a night when South Devon’s business community got together to celebrate success.
The Paignton-based college was named the Outstanding Business of the Year, and retiring principal Stephen Criddle received a Lifetime Achievement Award which, he said, left him ‘stunned’.
“I’ve had a blast!” he said of his more than 20 years at the college. “This is the icing on the cake.”
The college was also named the Best Digital or Tech Business and was Highly Commended in the category for Best Employer.
But the Herald Express/Devon Live South Devon Business Awards gala final at the Riviera International Centre was as much about the area’s small businesses, family firms and promising young pioneers, with awards for growing businesses in the heart of their communities.
Among the winners was a tiny florist’s shop specialising in weddings and funerals, a 23-year-old managing director succeeding in a male-dominated industry and a cafe which has made itself the heart of its community.
Host Bill Martin, editor-in-chief of the Herald Express and Reach plc’s other Devon and Cornwall newspapers, said: “The nominations were evidence of a region committed to innovation, excellence and hard work.
“It is essential that the rest of the country realises that this is a place that is already delivering on its reputation.”
TDA chairman Vince Flower was the keynote speaker, and he outlined some of Torbay’s new developments, from the EPIC photonics centre at White Rock to the new Harbour Light restaurant scheme.
He said: “We have been able to take large steps forward to create more opportunities for the businesses and the people of Torbay. In the coming year we will do what we can to accelerate town centre regeneration across Torbay.”
The charity chosen for the night was Animals in Distress, who raised around £2,000 from the raffle. Once the awards ceremony was over, winners, nominees and guests danced to live music from local band Rage.
THE winners were:
- APPRENTICESHIP DEVELOPMENT AWARD – Effect Photonics
- BEST DIGITAL OR TECH BUSINESS- South Devon College Hi Tech & Digital Department
- BEST INNOVATIVE BUSINESS – Clientbase Fulfilment Ltd
- BUSINESS START – UP AWARD – Jazz Hands CIC
- CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AWARD – The Kind Grind
- EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR – Rockfish
- EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE – Harbour Rise Care Home
- FAMILY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – Lady’s Mile Holiday Park
- MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR – Steve Bristow Stone Masonry
- SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – Flower La Vita
- TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – River Dart Country Park
- YOUNG BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR – Georgie Millin of TQ1 MOT Centre
- OUTSTANDING BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – South Devon College
- LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT – Stephen Criddle MBE
For more details, see story on DevonLive