Denise O’Leary joined inspirational businesses, charities and individuals from across the South West on January 18th to celebrate the South West Business and Community Awards, and took home the prestigious title of Business of the Year 2018!
This is the first year that The South West Business and Community Awards have run, and the event was a huge success, organised by Alec Jones-Hall and Allison Dodd. The awards aimed to recognise businesses, charities and individuals that have made an outstanding contribution within the region, and the entrants did not disappoint. They included charities and businesses aimed at helping the disadvantaged to succeed within the work place; individuals who have dedicated their careers to educating young people and businesses such as Purpol Marketing who are committed providing real life business environment learning to interns. All were there to celebrate these local people and recognize how they help the South West economy and broader community to thrive.
Those shortlisted and their guests gathered at the Double Tree Hilton, Swindon, having been selected from well over 300 entrants, with the judges including: Serial Entrepreneur James Phipps, Julianne Ponan – CEO of Creative Nature and The Guardians ‘Business Leader of the Year’ award winner, and Michelle Mills-Porter – Award Winning Business Woman and Best-Selling Author to name just three. The event was hosted by Alison Edgar, the Entrepreneur’s Godmother – providing pink sparkle and infectious enthusiasm for the entire ceremony.
The community aspect of the awards meant it was an award ceremony with a difference, with categories ranging from Business of the Year through to Charity of the Year and Outstanding Contribution to Community of the Year. The event organisers, host, judges and entertainment volunteered their time and expertise, whilst games, raffles and a charity auction were played to raise money for three, very worthy charities – Prostate Cancer UK, Swindon 105.5 and Cherishers.
The Business of the Year Award is a significant win for Denise who started Purpol Marketing in 2014 in order to help companies, SME’s in particular, leverage marketing expertise and win £100m+ projects. Purpol brings 30+ years of experience and insight to their clients and has grown her self-funded start up from a one woman show to a successful business that now employs five people and is constantly expanding and developing, including the provision of 7 internships and 4 work placements.
The Business of the Year Award celebrates businesses who demonstrate all round business excellence where local economic impact was important in the selection of the winner. Talking of the event, Denise said:
‘It is an absolute honour to have won last night, especially when every shortlisted nominee was worthy of consideration. We are so passionate about helping SME’s develop their marketing and pitch for projects, so to have the hard work of the team recognised is amazing! Our commitment to providing valuable internships and work placements for university and college students was commended by the judges and is something I am very proud to be able to offer. Despite being a home-based SME, we have been able to offer work experience opportunities to the next generation by utilising cloud technologies and our online Magnificent Marketing course. It proves that you do not need to be a huge company with a big office to provide young people with meaningful training opportunities. We encourage all other businesses to consider how your business can benefit from young talent and fresh thinking! The ceremony was a wonderful event – the perfect way to celebrate so many inspirational people, charities and businesses!’
Julianne Ponan, owner and CEO of Creative Nature, who gave an moving speech about her journey commented “It was incredible to share my story and be alongside such incredible entrepreneurs.” As one of the judges, Julianne commented ‘It was such a hard category to judge but Purpol Marketing are such deserving winners.”
James Phipps, Chairman of Excalibur was part of the judging panel and said: “Judging this year’s awards was tough. Every entry was of a very high standard and each one was unique which made the decision harder. I’m very proud of the quality of businesses that we have in this region and these awards give them the true recognition that they deserve.”
Alec Jones-hall, Director of South West Business and Community Award’s said “We are proud and excited to be celebrating outstanding achievement across the region and rewarding those who are making a huge impact throughout the South West. It is also a time for the business community to come together, not only to celebrate the accomplishments of those shortlisted and the deserving winners of each category, but also to mark the fact that we all continue to play a vital role in the success of our region and that its future achievements will be built on the foundations we lay today.”