Business Development Award Sponsored by Howes Percival
This popular category provides the opportunity for businesses which have grown significantly to receive recognition for their achievements.
Last year’s winner was Fakenham-based Kinnerton Confectionery, which impressed the judges with its clear strategic statement that it wanted to move the business away from being predominantly reliant on seasonal confectionery, to growing its all year round confectionery products, thus moving the business from being one 70pc reliant on seasonal patterns to a clear 50/50 split by 2015.
Other finalists were Bertram Books and Heatrae Sadia.
Andrew Barnes, senior partner, Howes Percival, said: “This is always such a great category because you get new companies or companies with new ventures targeting specific markets, up against existing organisations that have sometimes completely reinvented themselves as their market has changed.
“We are looking for organisations that have made a real step change in their strategy and can demonstrate the results in terms of turnover, profit and job creation.
He added: “This award is about finding those companies that have faced that challenge head-on and delivered growth. The aim is to shine a light on those that are doing something different and succeeding.
“Business development should be an essential aspect of running a good business. No one can stand still these days, you have to change, invest and develop new skills just to survive.
“Innovation, change and business development need to be part of an organisation’s DNA rather than something you just dip into from time to time. These are companies that are always asking “where next?” as opposed to just saying “we’ve always done it this way”.
“The one thing that seems to unite the best companies is how much they are focussed on their customers – giving them products and services which they really value and providing a service level which exceeds expectations.”
The winner will have demonstrated how it has grown its overall business through innovation and planned development, supported by strategic investment.
This may, for example, have been achieved by the implementation of a new strategy, the launch of a new product or service or through a successful merger or acquisition.
The judges will be looking at how the development has been reflected in increased turnover and employment and, most importantly, in enhanced profitability.
They will also focus on sustainability and the long-term goals and strategy that have been put in place to maintain financial security and success.
Established in 1965 Broadland Wineries went into administration in 2006 and was bought out by a new management team.
Since then the business has changed focus into a business that imports, produces, bottles and distributes a range of wines in both branded and own label formats to the on and off trade in the UK and also overseas.
The change to selling direct to retailers, including national grocery chains has seen a rapid growth in sales and profits. This has allowed the business to further invest in infrastructure both in terms of equipment and employment.
A new marketing team has been brought in-house as well as a new product development team tasked with creating new innovative solutions to the wine trade.
A Master of Wine has also been appointed to work as Business Development Director to drive growth and quality of product equally, all leading to a 350% increase in turnover, doubling of employment, and a 50% rise in profit last year alone.
Watton-based Natures Menu has been manufacturing and selling dog and cat food for 34 years, but since an MBO in 2012 it has grown exponentially.
This growth has been driven by investment in the business following an extensive market research exercise following the MBO which formed the basis of the growth strategy.
This has led to a range of infrastructure investments from product development and innovation, staff and manufacturing equipment and has delivered a substantial increase in revenues and profits, invested back into the business to develop new product ranges created by a new product development team which now includes vets, behaviourists and nutritionists. It also launched in markets across Europe and the US.
3sun Group was launched eight years ago as a one man operation being started by owner and MD Graham Hacon, rising to its current position as a company of more than 300 employees.
It has managed this through both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. It now delivers installation, maintenance, inspection and testing services, training and sub sea services to the oil and gas industry both in the UK and world-wide.
The business is still based in Great Yarmouth but has bases in Aberdeen, Bergen Norway and Esberg Denmark with clients and contracts worldwide from China to Africa to the USA and New Zealand.
This year the group received a £10m investment from the Business Growth Fund to support future planned growth.
The business has also introduced a new management development programme and worked with all staff to redefine the corporate vision and strategy.
"We are very clear that these awards are about broadcasting far and wide the message that our business community has plenty to offer and contribute to our economic success as a region and the wider economic good."Shaun LowthorpeEDP Business Editor