WINCHESTER'S leading businesses have once again been celebrated at a glitzy ceremony for the annual Winchester Business Excellence Awards.

The glitzy blacktie event at Winchester University on Thursday evening celebrated the achievements of local businesses, both big and small, in the area.

The awards were organised in partnership by the Hampshire Chronicle, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and Winchester BID.

Paul Spencer, executive director at Winchester BID, said: "It's been a really good night! There are some amazing winners, but we have got to give it to all the finalists. 

"It was such a strong competition this year, and being in a lovely new venue, working with new people and seeing a range of applicants has been an incredible experience."

Stand-up comedian Shappi Khorsandi, who received an honorary doctorate from Winchester University for her contribution to the arts, and recently gained the prestigious James Joyce award from Dublin University, gave a hilarious opening act.

She established herself as one of the country’s finest comedians in 2006 with her sell out Edinburgh show, Asylum Speaker. 

The host for the evening was Jeremy Edwards, who has spent over 25 years working in all facets of the entertainment industry.

He recently moved to the city, and now runs Cool, Calm and Confident, which helps clients take the drama out of public speaking, using acting and presenting skills and techniques to help those in the corporate world increase their confidence for presentations, public speaking, pitches and everyday life. 

Jeremy told the Chronicle: "I've had a great time at this phenomenal evening. Tonight, I've met some wonderful people and feel well and truly welcomed into the business bosom of Winchester!

"I've been here for 18 months now, and I can wholeheartedly say that I love being here. It was such a brilliant feeling to be asked to host the awards, an absolute pleasure."

City council leader Lucille Thompson was also on hand to present the Large Business of the Year Award.

She said: "It's been a very exciting evening! This is my first time, but I'll certainly be back next year – that's if I'm invited, of course!"

The event, now in its 17th year, saw the Simply Health Business of the Year Award go to the Winchester Bed Company.

This year’s event was overall sponsored by Simply Health, and the category sponsors were: Brewin Dolphin, Dutton Gregory, HWB, Paris Smith, University of Winchester, Winchester BID and Winchester City Council.

The full list of winners:

  • Business Leader - Richard Hand, Ridge and Partners LLP
  • Social Enterprise - Trinity Winchester 
  • Large Business - Ridge and Partners LLP
  • SME or Independent Business - The Winchester Bed Company 
  • New Business - Open House Deli
  • Eco Business - Alfred's Brewery 
  • Service Excellence - Forte Kitchen 
  • Young Business Person - Will Harrigan, River Coffee Roasters 
  • Digital Innovation - Asisters Ltd
  • Millenium Egg - Chief Executive of Marwell Wildlife, James Cretney
  • Business of the Year - The Winchester Bed Company 

Pick up a copy of the Hampshire Chronicle on Thursday for all the photos and more.