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Entries open for this year's best of the best businesses

Download an application form for any of the nine categories today

Sarah Bosley


01635 886655

Newbury Weekly News Best in Business award winners announced

Still wondering which category to enter in this year’s NWN Best in Business Awards? Well wonder no more. Here, we give you the low-down on what the judges will be looking for in each category, to make it easier for you to make that all important decision.

Don’t worry too much though, because you can always enter every category if you want to.

There are nine categories up for grabs, as well as the coveted overall Best in Business Award 2019.

The winner of the awards, which recognise commercial excellence throughout West Berkshire, will be announced at a gala dinner at Newbury Racecourse on November 1, 2019.

Applications must be returned by June 28, 2019 and you can download an entry form here.

But for now, grab a coffee, sit back and have a read through our guide to the awards categories.

Independent Retailer Award - sponsored by Jones Robinson

What the judges want to see

The judges of this award will be looking for the entrepreneurial retailer who has a viable, well thought out retail proposition. It should provide not only an attractive product but also a high degree of customer service and long term profitability.
As an independent retailer, the winning business will not be part of a chain or national brand.
In addition judges will consider how this business is contributing to the overall success of retailing in the area.

Previous winners have included Inn at Home and the Hare and Hounds at Speen.

The sponsor

Jones Robinson is a Newbury-based estate agent that has helped thousands of people move home since it began more than two decades ago.

With more than 60 members of staff, working across five locations, it offers buying, selling, letting and property management services to customers in Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.

It is associated with the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, and the Deposit Protection Scheme. It is also members of the Property Ombudsman.

For more details visit

Small Business Award – sponsored by PBA Accountants

What the judges want to see

In assessing this category, judges will be looking at the breadth of accomplishments and strategies that make the enterprise a success in terms of its profitability and its profile within the county and its marketplace.
The category is open to those with a turnover under £1million and therefore, judges will be keen to investigate the scope of the business’s achievements since its launch, its progress and its planning for the future.
Aspects that will be scrutinised include staff development, products and services and their continual review, profitability, environmental undertakings, community awareness and use of marketing.

Previous winners have included The Sushi Maki and Pixelnebula.

The sponsor

PBA are accountants, but in their own words ‘don’t be put off by this’.

They offer all the things you would expect accountants to offer, such as tax, accounts and audits. But they also like to offer that little bit more.

They pride themselves on becoming your business partners. They’re straight talking and have years of experience in their team.

You can find all of that out for yourselves by giving them a call or visiting

Customer Service Award – sponsored by Newbury Racecourse

What the judges want to see

In this category the judges will be looking for a strong customer service culture that is integral to all aspects of the business operations.

Entries should show evidence of this by providing customer feedback and research into customer loyalty.

Judges will also want to see how this has a positive impact on the sales and profit of the business.

Previous winners include Bluebird Café.

The sponsor

The first recorded racing at Newbury took place in 1805, with Newbury Races – an annual two day meeting at Enborne Heath. But Newbury Racecourse itself come into existence 100 years later when Kingsclere trainer, John Porter, proposed a new course at Newbury. The application was finally approved by The Jockey Club when it received the support of King Edward VII.

In April 1904 construction began and on September 26th the following year, the first ever races took place.

Since then Newbury has played host to a number of legendary winners and now combines heritage with everything a modern sporting and events venue can offer.

For more details of upcoming events and racedays click here.


Training and Support Award – sponsored by Tigers Day Nurseries

What the judges want to see

This award is given for employers who offer the best training and support for all staff.

Judges will want to see evidence of how the training is offered and implemented across the business.

The sponsor

Tigers Day Nurseries provide high-quality childcare delivered by dedicated teams of professionals for children from three months to five years.

It has nurseries in Thatcham, West Berkshire and Swindon, Wiltshire, where they offer convenience, flexibility and peace-of-mind for parents and fun-filled days of learning through play in a stimulating, safe environment for children.

All of its qualified staff are rigorously checked, all are first-aiders and all are highly trained to understand and respond to each individual child’s development needs and to help them reach their full potential.

For more details on Tigers Day Nurseries, click here.


Best Employer Award – sponsored by The HR Department

What the judges want to see

In this category judges will be keen to see evidence of how, as an employer, entrants take care of their employees so that they can take care of the business.

The sponsor

The HR Department offers flexible HR support packages for any business.

It can help with recruitment, employment contracts, disciplinary hearings and all the other things a large corporate HR team could provide.

The professional and knowledgeable HR team provide a range of services to businesses, from taking on the first employee, to advising on doing redundancies the right way.

To find out more visit their website here.

Best Use of Marketing Technology Award – sponsored by Generate UK

What the judges want to see

This award is open to business of all sizes, operating in any sector, that can demonstrate how it has developed significantly through the use of marketing and technology.

The judges will want to see how a strategy was created, how a business overcame any challenges, how the use of technology played its part, how the strategy was implemented, how it was measured and the results it delivered.

This is a new category this year.

The sponsor

Generate UK provides clients with unique marketing solutions, assets and campaigns that deliver real results.

Its staff are dynamic, knowledgeable, experienced and committed to providing customers with the best service available.

The business puts clients at the heart of what it does and for the past 10 years has been nurturing creativity and building the skills and processes its needs to be the safe pair of hands that takes your marketing to the next level.

You can find out more about what Generate UK could do for your business here.


Innovation in Business Award – sponsored by HSBC UK

What the judges want to see

For this award, the judging team will want to find a business which has, over the past 12 months, dramatically and profitably improved its sales/revenue performance through the use of an innovative undertaking.

This award is open to new and mature, small and large businesses - whether in a B2C, B2B, retail or service sector.

Judges will be particularly impressed by those applications that demonstrate how they have developed a clear strategy and dramatically altered their prospects – perhaps through online channels or other, well-considered and contemporary techniques of exposing their brand to the marketplace.
The judges will want to see evidence of increases in visitors, orders, enquiries and/or sales; and the return on investment gained.

Previous winners have included Amberjack and Corvia ‘ticketer’.

The sponsor

HSBC offers a range of retail, commercial and private banking services in the UK. It has an extensive branch network across the country to support its customers’ needs.

It is part of one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations and serves more than 39 million customers through four global businesses – retail banking and wealth management; commercial banking; global banking and markets; and global private banking.

Its network covers 66 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and Latin America.

You can read more on HSBC here.

Charity or Community Award – sponsored by Greenham Trust

What the judges want to see

Organisations not operating for profitable means are encouraged to enter this category as their chance to shine.
Judges will be keen to see business models where the aims and objectives set down in infancy have been accomplished, and where future planning and continuous creativity is always part of the business model.
Judges will also look carefully at what the not-for-profit has achieved for its audience; how it attracts people to work with and for it; and how it develops staff, members and volunteers.

They will also be keen to see evidence of what innovative techniques it has introduced and how well its profile has grown in recent times.

While charitable income will of course be assessed, the amount of revenue will not be a deciding factor in the decision process.

In the past two years Newbury Soup Kitchen and Dingley’s Promise, have both picked up this award.

The sponsor

The Trust’s aim is to promote charitable purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of Newbury and areas of North Hampshire.

Since 1997, more than £42m in funding has been distributed to improve the lives of local people, with nearly 5,000 good causes benefitting.

More details on the Trust and if your charity is eligible for support, click here.


Regional Event Award – sponsored by Parkway Shopping

What the judges want to see

This category is looking to recognise an event of any description; either taking place for the first time in the past year or one that has been established for some time.

The judges will be looking for innovation, organisation and participation.
Entries must specify some precise objectives for the event and how they were achieved.

Research and feedback from those who attended would strengthen the application.

Financial goals can be either directly as a result of the event, such as fundraising for charity, or the impact that the event had on the area, such as local retail or hospitality.
Finally the judges would like to understand how this event has enhanced the local community.

Last year’s winner of this category was the Lions Club of Newbury’s annual fireworks display at Newbury Racecourse.

The sponsor

Parkway Shopping Newbury, brings more than 475,000 square feet of modern shopping to an historical environment. Parkway offers an exceptional mix of high street retail and unique boutique stores.
Anchored by John Lewis at home and Debenhams, Parkway also includes top fashion retailers and boutiques, as well as a host of coffee shops.

Parkway Living is a development of 147 stylish and contemporary one, two and three bedroom apartments in the heart of the town of Newbury.

For more click here.

Best in Business 2019 – sponsored by Cobbs Farm Shop and Kitchen

What the judges want to see

This is the award of awards in the world of West Berkshire and North Hampshire. This accolade will go to the winner of winners – picked by the judges from the category winners.

Judges will look for a brand or organisation which has achieved great things in the last 12 months.

They will assess the company’s brand profile within its customer audience, its financial standing, its community relations and its environmental sympathies.

Judges will particularly be looking for an organisation that they can be proud to have as an ambassador of working life in the area.

Gardner Leader and Amberjack are previous winners of the overall Best in Business award.

The sponsor

Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen formed the foundations of what is now a specialist group of independent farm shops across the country.

The Hungerford farm shop boasts a butcher, fishmonger, deli, vineyard, café, florist and play barn.

Its fully licensed café serves breakfast, homemade fresh meals and light bites.

At its heart is a 55 acre farm that grows mainly soft fruit in the summer, with some vegetables – including squash and pumpkins in the autumn and asparagus and rhubarb in the spring. It offers its ever-popular pick-your-own in the summer months too.

The latest addition to the Cobbs family is Cobbs at Englefield; a series of converted cow-sheds. It comprises a farm shop with traditional butchery counter, delicatessen and café, which serves food all day.

The café offers a daily specials board and its popular roast lunch is available every Sunday between 12pm and 3pm.

Click here to find out what's on offer at your local Cobbs Farm Shop.

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