THE best of East Lancashire’s business enterprise is revealed today with the announcement of the finalists in the 2012 Lancashire Telegraph Business Awards.

A grand total of 108 entries were received for this year’s awards – the biggest in the event’s history.

Now after nearly a week of deliberations three businesses have been shortlisted in each of the 11 categories to go forward to the spectacular grand final at Ewood Park, Blackburn, on November 16 where winners will be announced.

Lancashire Telegraph group editor Kevin Young said: “The recession has not gone away and the past year has been an extremely difficult one for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

“But it is a fantastic tribute to the ingenuity, talent, skill and sheer hard work of so many enterprises in East Lancashire that we have received our largest entry ever.

“Sadly not everyone can win and our judges have had an extremely difficult task but the firms whose achievements will be showcased on November 16 are a real inspiration.”

The awards are: the prestigious Business of the Year title, a new award recognising manufacturing excellence and others covering high street retailers, innovation and technology, export, deal of the year, environment, training , social and community development, small businesses and a team award which puts the spotlight on groups of employees who have really made a difference.

Some of the region’s biggest employers are represented in the line-up including Burnley aerospace giant Aircelle , office furniture makers Senator International of Altham, carpet underlay and flooring and manufacturers Interfloor of Haslingden and Darwen-based metal fabrication specialists the WEC Group.

WEC are vying for the first title of Manufacturer of the Year alongside specialist engineers Merc UK of Barrowford, who were last year’s Business of the Year and their near neighbours ACDC Lighting Systems who carried off the top honour in 2010. Smaller scale enterprises are well-represented too with examples like Clitheroe’s Printed Cup Company, which produces personalised paper cups with just nine employees; Blackburn firm rucomfy whose 10 staff have made thousands of beanbags in the past year and Altham Oak and Carpentry which has six people in a co-operative venture crafting oak into products including curved beams and recently completed an order for a client in Turkey.

Finalists in the newly-named High Street Retailer category could hardly cover a wider range with the recently- relocated and relaunched Reidy’s Home of Music in Blackburn, top quality Riley’s Butchers of Crawshawbooth and Whalley Wine Shop which was set up more than two years ago by the manager made redundant when national off licence chain Threshers went into administration.

The awards would not be possible without this year’s sponsors Blackburn College, Blackburn with Darwen Council, Themis- the business training division for Burnley College, Burnley Council, Accrol Papers, BAE Systems , worldwide business experts Deloitte, Hyndburn Enterprise Trust, and legal firm Napthens.


Training and Development  Sponsored by Blackburn College

  • Child Action North West, Wilpshire, Blackburn
  • Herbert Parkinson, Darwen
  • Senator International, Altham

Small Business of the Year  Sponsored by Hyndburn Enterprise Trust

  • Businesswise Solutions, Nelson
  • Holker Network Solutions, Colne
  • Jay-Care, Burnley

Innovation and Technology

  • Dynamax Technologies, Blackburn
  • iflorist, Padiham
  • Senator International, Altham

Team of the Year  Sponsored by Napthens

  • Academy Print and Design, Altham
  • The Mall, Blackburn
  • Whitehall Hotel, Darwen

Export Award  Sponsored by Burnley Council

  • ACDC Lighting Systems, Barrowford
  • iflorist, Padiham
  • Kirk Environmental, Nelson

Environment Award  Sponsored by Themis – the business training division for Burnley College

  • Interfloor, Haslingden
  • Low Carbon Energy Company, Burnley
  • The Printed Cup Company, Clitheroe

Deal of the Year  Sponsored by Deloitte

  • Altham Oak and Carpentry, Accrington
  • Rucomfy Bean Bags, Blackburn
  • VEKA plc, Burnley

High Street Retailer  Sponsored by Blackburn with Darwen Council

  • Reidy’s Home of Music, Blackburn
  • Riley’s Butchers, Crawshawbooth
  • Whalley Wine Shop

Manufacturer of the Year  Sponsored by Accrol Papers

  • ACDC Lighting Systems, Barrowford
  • Merc  Engineering UK, Barrowford
  • WEC Group, Darwen

Social and Community Development

  • Aircelle, Burnley
  • Eagle and Child, Ramsbottom
  • WEC Group, Darwen

Business of the Year  Sponsored by BAE Systems

  • MDA, Blackburn
  • Rosslee Construction, Accrington
  • Senator International, Altham