The wait is over... the winners of the SoGlos Gloucestershire Business Awards 2023 have officially been announced, with the glamorous live reveal event taking place on Thursday 19 October 2023.
The awards, in partnership with headline co-sponsors Hazlewoods and Willans LLP solicitors and all our fantastic category sponsors, brought together finalists, sponsors and special guests to find out the winners across 22 hotly-contested categories, including the prestigious Business of the Year 2023, handpicked by our headline co-sponsors.
This year, shortlisted businesses had the opportunity to meet the judges at the exciting new sponsors and shortlisted businesses event which took place at StillMoving in Bishop's Cleeve in July, ahead of the tense judges panel meeting to decide the finalists at Malmaison in September.
Coming together to celebrate the very best of Gloucestershire's business community, the winners were revealed by this year's compère, former BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Gloucestershire broadcast journalist Faye Hatcher, at Gloucester South Community Fire and Rescue Station — with big thanks to our event partner PR Production Services; food partners Hungry Monkey and Wholly Gelato; and drinks partner Sibling Distillery for helping to make SGGBA 2023 an incredible event.
SoGlos Gloucestershire Business Awards 2023 winners
New Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by Montrose Group — montrose-group.co.uk
Officially opening its doors in 2022, the AccXel Construction Skills Accelerator Centre in the Forest of Dean not only provides its pupils with the skills and expertise they need to succeed in the construction industry, but is also helping to futureproof the sector itself with its bespoke apprenticeship model, which took four years to develop and has been designed specifically to suit the needs of the industry and the businesses operating within it.
So far it has already welcomed more than 67 learners through its doors, with 33 having graduated and been promoted by their employers, as well as doubling its staff team, with a view to double the number of apprentices through the doors from September 2023 — and plans for a second AccXel centre potentially in the pipeline, too.
Most Innovative Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by Hartpury University and Hartpury College — hartpury.ac.uk
Winner: Green Car Depollution
As the UK's leading supplier of depollution equipment, which decontaminates 'end of life' vehicles ready for recycling, Green Car Depollution has just had its most successful 12 months so far, being shortlisted for awards left, right and centre, as well as developing an exciting new opportunity to help depollute 300 million vehicles in India.
In May 2023, it unveiled its first ever range of depollution equipment for electric vehicles, which will help to safely decommission both full electric and hybrid vehicles, capture residual charges and put energy back into the grid.
Growth Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by GFirst LEP — gfirstlep.com
Winner: Cotswold Energy Group
From an idea over a pint to a multi-million pound business, Stroud-based Cotswold Energy Group has established itself as one of the county's leading renewable energy suppliers, offering a variety of services from boiler upgrades to ground source heat pumps, accounting for 20 per cent of all boiler upgrade scheme applications in the south west.
The business — which was established in 2018 by three friends who each invested £2,000 — now employs around 80 staff across engineering, management and support and had an estimated turnover of £5.8 million in 2022, with more growth in the pipeline as it hopes to double its turnover again in the next 12 months.
Family Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by QuoLux — quolux.com
Winner: G.R. Lanes Health Products
The company behind household names in healthcare like Olbas, Jakemans and Kalms, G.R. Lanes is a Gloucestershire institution that has been in the county, and the same family, since its inception, with a vision to ensure every home in the UK has a Lanes Health product in its bathroom cabinet.
Having been founded by botanist Gilbert Lane and his wife Grace back in 1930, the pioneering business has been developing and expanding its range of products for 90 years, as well as working to improve sustainability, but has always had family at its heart — with fourth generation family member Jonathan Groves being the executive chairman, and his sister Rachel Cox and cousins Amy Power and Robin Sissons being directors on the family board.
Green Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by Ecotricity — ecotricity.co.uk
Winner: Stroud Brewery
The multi-award winning Stroud Brewery took home the prestigious title of Lifestyle Business of the Year at the SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards earlier this year — and is now being recognised as one of the county's very best businesses, too.
As Gloucestershire's original organic brewery, it was the first brewery in the UK to be certified organic and achieve B Corp certification. It goes to great lengths not only to brew delicious organic beer in a way that supports the environment, farmers and the local community, but to provide an inspiring business model to show how the corporate world can be both successful and socially conscious.
Best Place To Work of the Year 2023
Sponsored by Six Property Consulting — sixpc.co.uk
Winner: Larchtower Engineering
Parent company to the hugely successful Forge Motorsport family of brands, Larchtower Engineering puts its people at the heart of everything it does and is proud of its hugely successful team.
As well as being respected by customers across the world, it has also proved itself a fantastic place to work, with incredible staff retention and a tight-knit family feel. It doesn't just offer support with professional development and leadership, but nurtures its staff with things like free counselling sessions, weekly takeaway lunches and pub quiz nights to really build a community — not to mention providing bespoke, personal support to any team member who needs it, from buying a new bike helmet to custom-made wedding bands.
Customer Excellence Award 2023
Sponsored by MKM Building Supplies — mkm.com
Winner: Laithwaites Wine
Providing its discerning customers with the highest quality wines chosen by people with a genuine passion for their products, Gloucester-based Laithwaites Wine is a family-run business that has a reputation for its impeccable customer service, as well as its great taste.
From Bolton to Barossa, it says it will 'stop at nothing to bring you great wine'. Its team of talented buyers, who are expertly trained to share the joy of wine in the most accessible way possible, has been handpicking the very best quality and value wines for the last 50 years, supporting 454 winemakers from around the world and delighting over 400,000 happy customers with deliveries straight to their door.
International Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by Invest in Gloucestershire — investingloucestershire.com
Winner: Prima Dental
One of Gloucestershire's biggest manufacturing success stories, Prima Dental is known all over the world for its precision dental products and has received not one, but two Queen's Awards for enterprise and international trade. In 2022, it generated £31.7 million of international sales, which it anticipates will increase again in 2023.
The business's exporting prowess has also been recognised by the Department for Business and International Trade as a Highly Commended Business within manufacturing from the 'Made in the UK, Sold to the World' awards, as well as being awarded patents in the UK and US for its unique milling tools.
Entrepreneur of the Year 2023
Sponsored by the University of Gloucestershire — glos.ac.uk
Winner: Chris Brown from Rippl
'Visionary' managing director of software company Rippl, Chris Brown has driven the company to remarkable heights, in no small part thanks to his idea of introducing employee benefits to its offering in November 2022.
This innovation, spearheaded by Brown, led to a 70 per cent increase in customers; a 35 per cent increase in revenue since November 2022; and a British HR Award for Rippl, as well as increased employee engagement, better staff retention and a reduction in HR-related operational time for the platform's clients, proving how powerful company culture can be for the bottom line.
Employee of the Year 2023
Sponsored by GB Solutions — gbsolutions.co.uk
Winner: Leanne Williams from Stagecoach West
Operations secretary, Leanne Williams, brings 'tenacity, organisation, dedication and a competitive spirit' to her role at Stagecoach West and has proved herself an invaluable member of the team. Finding great people in a difficult jobs market is no easy task, but a challenge that she has risen to since she joined the team in June 2022.
As one of the largest employers in the south west, attracting the very best talent is of the utmost importance to Stagecoach West and Williams has been a real advocate for the brand, making huge strides in things like enhancements to shift patterns, family-friendly policies and better pay; reassuring and encouraging her team; and filling front line roles, all while acting as a role model for the whole team to look up to.
Team of the Year 2023
Sponsored by ReformIT — reformit.co.uk
Winner: Bamboo Technology Group Limited
After acquiring a new business in 2021, the team at Bamboo Technology Group faced the challenge of integrating a whole new team of people into its business and culture while simultaneously coping with the impact and restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the acquired business having the added pressure of targets to hit, it would have been easy to develop a silo mentality between the two teams.
However, Bamboo Technology managed to not only integrate the two teams as seamlessly and collaboratively as possible from board level all the way down through the company, embracing a strong 'one team' mentality, it also went on to deliver more than double the revenue growth that was predicted industrywide; was shortlisted for a customer service award; and achieved incredible client retention, proving that team work really does make the dream work.
Heritage Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by Hewer FM — hewerfm.co.uk
Winner: MG Markey Group
Encompassing Markey Construction, Markey Building Services, Premiere Kitchens, Stay Lets, Student Digs, Park View Care Home and Honeybourne Gate, Markey Group celebrates its 60th year in 2023. Employing over 270 people and working with everyone from multi-national corporations to local schools and colleges, the family-run business was established in 1963 and has a mission to create sustainable environments where people and businesses can thrive.
The forward-thinking business is looking to the future, too, with Markey Group, Markey Building Services, Premiere Kitchens and Park View Care Home using 100 per cent renewable energy since April 2023. The company is investing in more renewable technology, including solar panels; Organic Rankine Cycle systems to convert waste heat to electricity; and electric vehicle charge points, working towards net zero carbon by 2026.
Business Leader Award 2023
Sponsored by Gloucestershire County Council — gloucestershire.gov.uk
Winner: Lucy Beresford and Richard Buckland from SLG Brands
As one of the county's most agile and creative companies which supplies its innovative range of beauty products to retailers all over the world, it's no surprise that its leadership team is incredibly agile, creative and hardworking, too. The driving force behind SLG's global sales and distribution success, Lucy Beresford has doubled the company's global store distribution numbers in the last two years and led its entry into the US marketplace; while simultaneously heading up the research and development team, which created an entirely new haircare brand bringing no new plastic into the supply chain; and leading the global marketing team, helping it deliver over 1 million new followers and creating three of the world's most-followed TikTok accounts.
A qualified accountant, Richard Buckland is the brains behind critical strategic projects including securing two rounds of multi-million-pound equity investment, brand acquisitions and the sale of the manufacturing division of the business, resulting in remarkable revenue growth. The pair have also spearheaded the company's commitment to sustainability, eliminating two million units of single use packaging annually; developing 93 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging for SLG's own brands; implementing a zero-to-landfill head office; and introducing hybrid working with flexi time, staff wellness days, and a companywide volunteering day to support the local community.
Young Business Leader Award 2023
Sponsored by Ontic — ontic.com
Winner: Hugh Joslyn from Gloucester Brewery
From starting as the general manager at Tank in 2015 and driving its success, Hugh Joslyn moved into the main brewery operations, working in a variety of different roles before becoming a director in 2021. Joslyn led the creation of the new Warehouse 4 taproom and has been working hard since to establish it as Gloucester Quays' leading small events space, hosting everything from live music and comedy nights to charity events supporting the local community.
As well as growing Warehouse 4's revenue by around 50 per cent, he has also organised a monthly litter pick of the local area; worked hard to improve sustainability in the business and funded reforestation efforts in developing countries; collaborated with Jolt Gloucester to establish the city's first ever PechaKucha storytelling event; launched Gloucester's only monthly drag show; and helped local good causes raise more than £50,000 in the last year, as well as developing strong relationships with local sports clubs to put Gloucester Brewery beers in their bars — all while acting as a member of the board of Gloucester BID to make the city a better place to live, work and visit, too.
Apprentice of the Year 2023
Sponsored by Gloucestershire College — gloscol.ac.uk
Winner: Harry Davis from Cobalt Health
Going straight from A Levels into an apprenticeship, 19-year-old Harry Davis rose to the challenge of stepping up and supporting Cobalt Health's estates team after estates manager, Jesse Smith, suffered a stroke shortly after he joined and another team member had to take time off with long Covid. Not only was Davis able to learn on the job quickly and with minimal supervision, he also provided invaluable support to Smith, helping him with memory issues, as well as auditing and schedules.
Davis's IT proficiencies meant he could help organise the entire team's workload, ensuring Cobalt's listed buildings were taken care of and consumables were delivered to the right places at the right times; liaising with a wide range of contractors; all while getting his own jobs done, from testing fire alarms to painting, decorating and plastering, with nothing being too much trouble.
Cyber Business of the Year 2023
Winner: Salus Cyber
Launching as a part-time venture in 2017 before developing into a full-time start-up in 2020, Salus Cyber has gone from strength to strength, despite the challenging timing of the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as growing from just two employees in 2020 to 33 in 2023, its turnover has grown from £506,000 to £2.8 million in the same time period, with both of its owners being named in SoGlos's 40 under 40, too.
Delivering 'defence grade' cyber security services, Cheltenham-based Salus Cyber prides itself on providing well written and executed policy, compliance and governance to build the foundations of good cyber security for every business it works with, rather than what it calls 'silver bullet solutions' from product vendors — and counts the Ministry of Defence, central government and the National Cyber Security Centre among its customers.
Charity of the Year 2023
Sponsored by Nimble Elearning — nimble-elearning.com
Winner: Pied Piper Appeal
In its 30th year, the Pied Piper Appeal achieved an incredible fundraising milestone with more than 30 Gloucestershire businesses raising £3,000 each through everything from fancy dress days and cake sales to wing walks and endurance challenges, bringing in a total of £144,722 of additional revenue for the charity. With every penny raised being spent here in Gloucestershire, the charity provides vital resources to the NHS and schools which they simply can't afford themselves; works with SEND schools in the county to support children in the classroom; facilitates wish holidays for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families; and partners with other children's charities like Heart Heroes, Goals Beyond Grass and Allsorts to help them achieve their own fundraising goals and projects.
Vice chair, Julie Kent, also launched the Emily's Gift appeal in March 2023 to raise £500,000 to fund the employment of a psychologist to provide emotional support for children undergoing cancer treatment at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for the next 10 years.
Micro Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by 16i — 16i.co.uk
Winner: Go Climate Positive
Setting out to provide the missing support SMEs need to reduce their carbon footprint, Go Climate Positive's unique sustainable membership model has helped it create a community of likeminded businesses that are all working together to tackle the climate emergency.
Amassing 90 members since its launch in 2020, it has achieved more than £165,000 in annual revenues which it has reinvested into its online membership portal — and has launched an apprenticeship programme to help fill the green skills gap. Over the next five years, it plans to train 30 carbon coaches and develop a franchise model which will allow franchisees to grow their own membership base with support from a central resource, all with the aim of reaching £1 million turnover and offsetting over 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
Small Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by HR Star — hr-star.co.uk
Winner: Bolthole Retreats
The largest independent agency for Cotswold holiday rental properties, Bolthole Retreats looks after 190 exclusive holiday homes in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Showcasing the Cotswolds on the global stage, the business has seen its revenue grow by 53 per cent in the last year as demand for holiday homes in the area continues to rise. It has also won Holiday Rental Agency of the Year two years in a row.
Its team of 10 handpick the properties for their character, charm and quality, with everything from sprawling country manor houses to ultra modern barn conversions on the books. As well as working alongside local businesses to offer discounts to its guests, Bolthole Retreats encourages visitors to enjoy authentic experiences in the Cotswolds, from dining at local restaurants to visiting the county's unique family attractions, all to help the local tourism industry thrive and to entice visitors to come back again and again.
Medium Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by Workplace Interiors Co — workplaceco.co.uk
Winner: Astor Bannerman
Improving the handling and hygiene experiences of hospital, care home and social care patients for 30 years, Astor Bannerman's innovative design and engineering has seen it enter a new growth phase over the last four years, doubling its turnover and staff numbers, expanding into larger premises and reinvesting in the business, with more growth and expansion in the pipeline before the end of its 30th anniversary year.
Its products — like its adult-sized changing table designed specifically for use in Changing Places Toilets — are driving up quality standards and making more and more spaces accessible for disabled people and their carers. Working closely with occupational therapists, Astor Bannerman ensures its products work well for the end user, while looking and feeling homely instead of clinical. The company also lobbies the government and educates architects on the importance of including Changing Places Toilets and hygiene rooms within plans.
Large Business of the Year 2023
Sponsored by Vitruvius — vitruviusms.co.uk
Winner: Ecclesiastical Insurance Office
Established since 1887, Ecclesiastical Insurance Office is part of the charity-owned Benefact Group and donates all of its available profits to good causes — over £198 million since 2016 and on track to reach £250 million by 2025 — and has won multiple awards for customer experience, service quality, risk management and fairer finance.
In 2022, it saw 15 per cent premium growth in general insurance, driven by both new business and strong retention, with inflows in its investment management division placing it in the top 10 fastest growing asset managers for the year. The business is on track to double in size within the next five years, expanding into new market niches to support its growth and creating new jobs and career opportunities for local people. Already one of the county's biggest employers, the business currently has 710 staff at its Gloucester head office and pays a living wage to all employees, as well as fostering a culture of kindness that sets it apart from competitors.
Business of the Year 2023
Winner: Prima Dental
On top of winning International Business of the Year, taking home the prestigious 'winner of winners' title, the SGGBA Business of the Year 2023, handpicked by our headline co-sponsors Hazlewoods and Willans LLP solicitors, is Prima Dental.
Prima Dental's Chief Commercial Officer, Dan Hodgson, said: 'I'm really, really proud of everything the business has achieved. What we're really proud of is, out of so many different businesses, that we've been able to win the award.
'It's really about the 280 people back in Quedgeley who are the real winners of this award, so thank you to everyone!'
Be part of SGGBA 2024
To find out about sponsorship and partnership opportunities for SGGBA 2024 and the chance to associate your brand with Gloucestershire's leading awards, contact SoGlos's Partnerships Hub by emailing email@example.com or calling (01242) 210330.
Or for more information, visit soglos.com/business-awards.