This was the cry from the keynote speaker – Paul Bassi who spoke about operating a business through various stages of the business cycle including recession.  In a tight labour market he spoke about the need to keep your workforce motivated whilst understanding the need to keep reserves for opportunities that might arise. He gave examples of how a proactive approach of engaging staff can have a positive effect on culture and overall performance of the organisation in terms of profits He re-iterated the importance of the regions to the UK and how better infrastructure could raise productivity.

Mr Ninder Johal who is CEO of the organisers of the Awards, and who was until recently the President of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and sits as a Black Country LEP Board member spoke about the future of the global economy and the importance of geo-politics. Whilst he asserted that it was going to be very uncertain in the short term but if the UK continued to innovate and add value to their products and build on the strengths of its economy and its role in world affairs, the future was still very bright. He spoke about the need to assert leadership and more critically to involve the voice of business during the Brexit negotiations.

He also spoke about the positive future for the local region and the potential of the Midlands Engine and the importance of ‘place’.

The 3rd Nachural Entrepreneurship Awards celebrated a number of awards. The main winners on the night were Clifton Packaging, a company based in Leicester. The business was recognised for its commitment to innovation and international trade. The family business has seen rising turnover and profits for a number of years and has collected a number of awards. Continual investment in machinery, people and continuous improvement has led to a number of account wins.

There was also recognition for local entrepreneur and former Leicester Council leader Veejay Patel who was the inaugural Chair of the Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership as well as leading Leicester City Council for a number of years. He has also successfully run his business – Business 2 Business for a number of years assisting thousands of people into employment and to achieve better lives.

Ninder Johal CEO of Nachural and who sits on the West Midlands Growth Company, the West Midlands 5G ltd Board and a former President of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce was pleased with the sell out event which had almost 450 attending the black tie event and commented :

‘We had an exceptional key note speaker in Paul Bassi CBE who gave us a valuable insight into the importance of resilience and the ability to spot an opportunity when it arises. We had a brilliant set of nominations and some unbelievable winners and it was fitting that Veejay Patel was recognised for his role of giving back to the community in which his business operates but also to paly such a part in his local community as a representative on the City Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership.’

But there was also a sense on the night of the awards that SME’s were looking for greater clarity from Whitehall and the politicians with regards to Brexit and a demand for greater devolved powers from Whitehall so that regions can serve the needs of their local communities much more effectively with regards to skills, infrastructure and housing’.

The event was headlined by Investec Wealth and Investment with supporting sponsors which included : East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, Guest Motors, Cobra Beer, Johal Fine and Country, Leicester Business Festival, Diamond Dealer Direct, Vision Print, Gloss, Love Business, Pukaar News, Rational FX, Hollywood Monster, Artlectric Events and Ace Weddings.

Other award winners included:

Business Start-Up – Incite Consultancy

Community Excellence – The Way of the Horse

Business Person of the Year – Barrie Stephen

Entrepreneur of the Year – Pankaj Pancholli

Business Woman of the Year –  Gemma Orton

International / Innovation and Enterprise – Penny Price Aromatherapy

Diversity and Inclusion – Workplace Diversity

Promoting Apprenticeships – Derby College

Small Business of the Year – Risk and Safety Management Services

Customer Service of the Year – Sheer Edge Hospitality and Events

Business of the Year –  Clifton Packaging

Lifetime Achievement Award  – Veejay Patel

The headline sponsor for the event was Investec Wealth and Investment

Rainbows was the charity on the night where over 420 people attended, host for the evening was BBC’s Tommy Sandhu.


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