THE 2017 Dorset Business Awards were “a celebration of determination, acumen, ambition and entrepreneurial spirit”, the gala prize-giving was told.

Ian Girling, chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was introducing the gala awards dinner at the BIC.

  • The Business Leader of the Year Award (sponsors: DCCI and Pure Networking), went to Warren Munson of Inspire Professional Services, Poole.

Lead judge Dion McCArthy of Pure Networking said: “Warren is passionate about business and contribution beyond his own business by serving the business community through his entrepreneur events. He is innovative and proactive, and an example of success, integrity and authenticity.”

Shortlisted were Phil Whitehurst of Actisense and Rosie Wallace of the Marsham Court Hotel.

  • Brand of the Year (RT Brand Communications) went to bicycle care specialist Muc-Off of Poole. Lead judge Matthew Ralph of RT Brand Communications said: “From the ‘lab’ where the technology is first developed, to the team out on the road breaking ground in new markets by sharing the Muc-Off story, everyone oozes passion. They’re proud of the innovative ways they develop marginal gains for every rider, from grass roots to the elite.”

Shortlisted were Organix and the Pig on the Beach, Studland.

  • The Creative and Digital Impact Award (Liz Lean PR, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership) went to Cold Banana Studio, Bournemouth. Lead judge Rob Dunford of Dorset LEP said: “We were particularly impressed with the scale and reach of the project, which is already opening doors to international work.”

Shortlisted were Fireworx and Strange.

  • The UK Health Insurance Investing in Dorset Award went to Signature Catering Group, Ringwood.

Lead judge Kirstie Pruett of UK Health Insurance said: “Their overall business philosophy is a shining example to us all. We were particularly impressed that in order to stay true to their local suppliers, Signature Catering create menus based on the local produce available, and will never substitute to a lower quality product if the main ingredients are not available.”

Shortlisted were A-One Insurance Group and Summer Lodge Country House Hotel.

  • The Lester Aldridge and Santander Company of the Year title went to Testlink, Poole.

Judge Grant Esterhuizen of Lester Aldridge said: “This was yet another year of exceptional submissions demonstrating the strength, range and successful businesses we have here within our local vicinity.” Mark Robertson of Santander said: “Testlink has seen recent growth in turnover and improved margins with a clear commitment to providing excellent customer service, while adopting a recurring revenue model and anticipating likely future changes to their marketplace.”

Shortlisted were BH Live and Actisense.

  • The PKF Francis Clark Family Business Award went to Superior of Wimborne.

Lead judge Nick Love of PKF Francis Clark said: “Realising they had to create a platform for a secure and sustainable business, Superior embarked on an investment programme that has resulted in the creation of an Apprenticeship Academy. This strategy has enabled the company to maintain its culture and secure the quality of skills required for future growth.”

Shortlisted were Harts of Stur and Marsham Court Hotel.

  • Outstanding Contribution to Apprenticeships (Sunseeker International) went to Atlas Elektronik UK of Dorchester.

Lead judge Alex Bowman of Sunseeker said: “The submission made for this award makes it clear that apprenticeships at Atlas Elektronik have company-wide support.”

Shortlisted were Cobham PLC and Redweb.

  • Outstanding Customer Service (Beales Gourmet, Luxurycare) went to Anytech Solutions, Poole.

Lead judge Justin Cohen of Beales Gourmet said: “When the judging panel visited Anytech Solutions we first noticed the company’s vision statement which read, ‘To be acknowledged as a leader in customer service standards’. This company is the embodiment of what defines outstanding customer service.”

Shortlisted : Bournemouth Hallmark Hotels, Summer Lodge Country House Hotel.

Lead judge John Grinnell of the Dolphin Shopping Centre said: “From looking in the shop window at the jewellery where the beautiful products are on display in a well presented manner, to entering the shop where the customer experience continues, excellent information was provided on the item to be purchased, as well as advice on features and benefits of their designer collections. Overall Forum Jewellers provides a wonderful experience from start to finish, and are a worthy winner of this award.”

Shortlisted were Delfino Lounge and the MacGuffin Project.

  • TeamJobs Team of the Year went to Greenwood Campbell, Bournemouth.

Lead judge Jason Gault of Teamjobs said: “From the second you walk in the door you feel the buzz, the warmth and a sense that everyone is working in unison. The business promotes the belief that they rise and fall as one. Having spent time with the team I could really feel that this is the case.”

Shortlisted were Inspire Professional Services and Siemens.

  • Young Chamber Award (Blue Sky Financial Planning) went to Atlas Elektronik.

Lead judge Gary Neild said: “Throughout AEUK’s award entry the passion, enthusiasm and dedication for engaging with young people really stood out to us. The range of programmes they participate in is exceptional, and consequently the effort to maintain this is recognised. AEUK has gone beyond the basic involvement and proven how the company engages with younger people at a range of schools, all from different backgrounds.

“In particular we were impressed by Emily Gollop’s hard work in delivering a structured, well-planned programme of engagement that is simply outstanding.”

Shortlisted were Biotrack Ltd and LoveLove Films.

  • UK Exporter of the Year (REIDsteel) went to Aeronautical & General Instruments Ltd, Poole.

Lead judge Simon Boyd of REIDsteel said: “AGI has embraced change to improve its capacity to export… The dynamism and energy of those involved in the business could clearly be felt by all the judges.”

Shortlisted were Actisense and Trimetals.