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Shining a spotlight on the best in the business

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

  • Business of the Year, sponsored by Source for Business. From left, Source for Business's Monica Read, Vi-Spring's operations manager Chris Harrington and Huw Bussell

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Winners at the Western Morning News Business Awards have now been announced at a glittering night of celebration.

The achievements of the West's most successful firms and the dynamic individuals that run them were highlighted at a dinner held at the University of Exeter on Wednesday night.

Here, in a Westcountry Business picture special, are the award winners, pictured with sponsors.

Luxury bed manufacturer Vi-Spring, whose celebrity clients includes the Beckhams and Paris Hilton, was named Business of the Year, sponsored by Source for Business.

The Plymouth-based company, which has achieved impressive export sales, saw off competition from Stagecoach South West, SunGift Solar and Plastic Surgeon.

Popular winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Brittany Ferries, was Captain James Portus for his role as CEO of the South West Fish Producers Organisation.

During his 23-year-long tenure with SWFPO, Jim has worked tirelessly to champion and support the Westcountry's fishing industry, as well as raising money for fishing charities in his spare time through running marathons.

The awards ceremony, which was attended by around 400 of the region's business leaders, was held last night at the Great Hall, at the University of Exeter.

WMN editor Bill Martin said: "I'd like to congratulate all of the winners and finalists for this year's business awards. We had a number of outstanding entries that leaves no doubt whatsoever that the South West has a successful, innovative and resilient business base that is more than rising to the challenge of the economic downturn."

The full list of winners and highly commended businesses is:

Best Hospitality or Tourism Business, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin

Winner – Nathan Outlaw Restaurants Ltd

Highly commended – Ashburton Cookery School

Best Green Achievement, sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers

Winner – Henry Orchard and Sons

Best Creative Business, sponsored by Bond Pearce

Winner – GOSS Interactive

Best Not for Profit Enterprise, sponsored by KPMG

Winner – Regen SW

Highly commended – Stand Against Violence

Best Start Up Business, sponsored by Plymouth University

Winner – Hosted Desktop UK

Highly commended – Funky Poppy – The Button Gift Shop

Best Young Businessperson, sponsored by RBS

Winner – Tom Hazzledine

Customer Service Award, sponsored by First Great Western

Winner – ServiceMaster Clean Devon

Employer of the Year, sponsored by Foot Anstey

Winner – Whetman Pinks

Excellence in Marketing Award, sponsored by Sigma

Winner – e-Strategy

Innovation of the Year, sponsored by Plymouth University

Winner – Ashwoods Automotive

Highly commended – Akumen

Small Business of the Year, sponsored by the Western Morning News

Winner – C3 Resources

South West Water's Source for Business was the overall sponsor with additional sponsors including Coutts and Peter Betteridge.

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