Small Business of the Year
Based in Cheltenham, Bolthole Retreats is a premier independent agency specialising in Cotswold vacation rentals. With a portfolio of 200+ self-catering homes, it offers an exclusive selection of hand-picked properties ranging from charming farmhouses to elegant manors. Bolthole Retreats collaborates closely with owners and housekeepers to ensure an exceptional stay for guests, as well as collaborating with local businesses to promote authentic attractions and eateries, enhancing the Cotswold experience and contributing to the area's tourism. Its Designer Retreats collection, launched recently, presents curated properties in magical settings such as Badminton Estate and Euridge Manor, designed to give holidaymakers a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience.
Glevum Security Ltd
Glevum Security, a local independent security firm situated in Gloucestershire, offers 24/7 security and guarding services for both residential and commercial properties. Its comprehensive offerings encompass alarm response, keyholding, mobile patrols, CCTV monitoring, lone worker oversight and static security. Operating from a cutting-edge control room, Glevum maintains continuous vigilance, supported by over 20 years of experience. Holding NSI Gold Accreditation and SIA Approval, Glevum’s commitment to excellence is underscored by its sustained investment in tried-and-tested technology, ensuring optimal and cost-effective solutions for clients. The company prioritises technological advancement to meet evolving security demands efficiently.
Optimising IT operates as a B Corp Certified IT services provider in Twigworth, Gloucestershire, with a focus on cybersecurity. The company adheres to an outcomes-driven and agile approach, specialising in a 'Cloud-first' strategy. Optimising IT prioritises cyber security and streamlining processes, revolutionising the delivery of IT services to clients. As a consultancy-led entity, it delivers exceptional value beyond conventional 'break fix' models. Collaborating closely with clients, it forges business-aligned IT and cyber security roadmaps, enhancing security, flexibility, productivity, and dependability for tangible business advantages. The company boasts certifications including ISO9001, ISO27001, Cyber Essentials Plus, NCSC Assured Service Provider, and Microsoft Modern Work Partner.
Original is a pioneering IT partner that aligns business technology with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It offers digital transformation solutions prioritising regeneration, blending business, ESG and sustainability. Certified as a B Corporation, Original is a profit and purpose balanced organisation. Its innovative services let businesses embrace cutting-edge tech with sustainability at the core. As the UK’s sole accredited trainer for GPM Global's Green Project Management Framework, it infuses environmental, economic and social factors into IT projects. Partnering with Cisco and other vendors, it aids customers in sustainable integration, deployment and operation of digital solutions.
Rugrats and half pints
Rugrats and Half Pints is a premier children's indoor activity centre. Following the acquisition of the original Magic Land, the establishment underwent a thorough renovation. With offerings such as trampolines, interactive wall games and sensory play zones and provisions for special needs visitors, Rugrats and Half Pints has brought local children a diverse array of play facilities. The transformation strategically targets an underserved demographic, new mothers with infants, to help the often isolated group network and make friends. Rugrats and Half Pints has further expanded its repertoire by incorporating a nursery and plans for future ventures.
Environmental and Sustainability Award, in partnership with SSE Energy Solutions
Gardiner Bros & Co (Leathers) Ltd
Gardiners, a family-run enterprise, is a UK wholesaler of footwear and apparel to trade, dispatching a remarkable three million products annually. Noteworthy is its complete transition to renewable energy sources, eradicating its monthly carbon footprint from electricity. Its commitment to sustainability extends to a robust recycling initiative, achieving a remarkable 100% diversion of waste away from landfills, and incorporating recycled materials like pre-consumer leather and plastic bottles into its products, alongside sustainable packaging. Its energy-efficient Virtual Distribution model, housing all inventory centrally, coupled with an internal sustainability committee, further underscores its dedication to responsible practices.
G-TEM, a prominent supplier of metal pressings and welded assemblies to top-tier automotive manufacturers, exhibits a proactive commitment to self-sustainability and energy management. Understanding the importance of sustainability, G-TEM has created a policy to diligently reduce energy usage, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. Recognising the significance of electricity self-generation, the company has integrated solar arrays, reducing grid reliance for a quarter-century. Eliminating natural gas consumption through electric heating investment, G-TEM has slashed its carbon footprint by 176.58 tonnes. Notably, a complete transition to LED lighting across all facilities further underscores its dedication to sustainable practices.
ProCook stands as the premier direct-to-consumer specialist kitchenware brand in the UK. Guided by its B Corp principles, it harmonises shareholder interests with those of people and the planet. Pioneering a comprehensive net-zero strategy, it charts a course toward 2040. Meticulous strides have been taken to slash carbon emissions by implementing sensor-driven LED lighting, energy-conserving modes on devices, adopting DPD as the primary customer courier and employing an all-electric vehicle fleet. Collaborating with The Woodland Trust in 2021, it counterbalanced unavoidable carbon emissions by establishing 1.15 hectares of indigenous UK woodland. Over 95% of its packaging is home-recyclable and its warehouse regularly implements more sustainable options.
Innovation Award, in partnership with Spirax Sarco
Cotswold Ice Creams
Cotswold Ice Creams in Bourton-on-the-Water boasts a unique twist on tradition. Born from the pandemic's challenges of lockdowns and job loss, "Phone a Cone" emerged to delight locked-down locals with sweet treats. With two charming ice cream tricycles, the company pedals through the village, offering delectable organic treats right to doorsteps - a homage to bygone days. Social media has fueled extra growth, with sales skyrocketing and queues forming as hoards of people line up for the Cotswold-made marvels. Now a local sensation, it is a fixture at events, parties and school fairs.
Journey Hospitality, a pioneering hotel technology enterprise, is reshaping hospitality e-commerce. The company's vision focuses on empowering guests to effortlessly reserve facilities, while also liberating hotel personnel from arduous manual reservation procedures. Onejourney®, the world's inaugural all-in-one hotel e-commerce platform, integrates all facets of a hotel stay into a seamlessly bookable online inventory, simplifying multi-product reservations for guests. Journey Hospitality’s diverse portfolio also encompasses Gifted, the leading UK hotel gift voucher platform; Journey Digital Performance Agency, upscale hotel web development and digital marketing; Journey Consultancy, tailored, innovative strategies for tech and business transformation; and Premier Software, enhancing spa services in hotel e-commerce.
Nicks & Company ( Timber) Ltd
Protek and Nicks Timber established Protek ESP to manufacture an edge seal panel, evolving through collaborative efforts. There has long been a recommendation in building regulations to edge seal panels in order to ensure performance, but until now there has not been a product on the market. This brand-new innovation not only seals timber panel edges but also forms a waterproof bond when boards are positioned before the seal dries. This versatile solution suits flat roofs, dormer windows, site hoarding, and sealing chipboard worktop tap holes. The groundbreaking product finds its home under the umbrella of the newly minted Protek ESP, encompassing production, sales, and distribution.
Best Place to Work, in partnership with HR People Support
Forge Motorsport's adept team drives the design and production process, striving to create an array of unparalleled aftermarket tuning products. The company doesn't merely offer a job but a place in the Forge family, prioritising not just customer service but also staff well-being. From facilitating remote work to aiding employees through personal hardships, Forge's ethos is about unwavering support. It provides complimentary counselling, allowing individuals to seek help without limitations, and with its comprehensive development initiatives, Forge fosters role-specific growth. Throughout the company there is a culture of treating everyone with equal respect, creating a truly global family.
Gloucester City Homes
Gloucester City Homes is an independent housing association dedicated to local investments, job creation and fostering opportunities. The organisation garners esteem as a premier workplace, winning awards and recognition for its culture. Its new benefits package gives employees 30 days of leave, two volunteer days, comprehensive well-being provisions, and an extensive benefits portal. Gloucester City Homes has a hybrid work setup with a versatile collaborative hub, taking a trust-based approach that further empowers staff and fortifies the equilibrium between work and personal life. The organisation's commitment to staff growth manifests through robust training, development prospects, and a gamut of celebratory occasions and incentives.
Ontic serves as a leading global aerospace OEM, specialising in intricately engineered components and repair solutions for established defence and commercial aircraft. Ontic’s unwavering dedication to nurturing talent resonates throughout its global sites. The year 2022 witnessed substantial investments in enhancing its global capacity, exemplified by the recruitment of over 350 personnel. The UK experienced a remarkable 300% expansion in its early careers initiative in 2022, a feat it intends to replicate by doubling numbers in 2023. Presently, approximately 7.5% of Ontic's workforce engages in ongoing company-sponsored education, with life skills education also introduced to help employees within their personal lives.
Spirax Sarco Ltd
Spirax Sarco, the multinational industrial engineering group, fosters an environment that empowers its workforce to flourish authentically while honing skills. Aiding all, the company upholds a 'Spirax family' ethos, ensuring camaraderie, unwavering safety and excellence. With robust values, it nurtures a cohesive spirit through sports, social events and a 10-pronged inclusion strategy encompassing caregiver and gender-neutral parental leave, support for pregnancy loss and domestic abuse, LGBTQ+ inclusion, and a focus on menopause, wellbeing, and mental health. Spirax Sarco sees continued high staff retention rates due to this commitment to inclusion and diversity which underscores its dedication to collective growth and success.
Growth Award, in partnership with Business West
Bolthole Retreats is an independent agency specialising in Cotswold vacation rentals. Since its establishment in 2017, the agency has experienced substantial growth. Last year marked a pinnacle of success, showcasing a remarkable 53% surge in revenue. Impressively, its portfolio expanded by 30%, now encompassing more than 200 exclusive properties with ongoing expansion. Introducing Designer Retreats in the past year further diversified its offerings, presenting a collection of luxurious five-star properties in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. Bolthole Retreats prides itself on delivering personalised one-on-one assistance to property owners, consistently fulfilling revenue and service commitments, and fostering an ever-growing positive reputation.
Gardiner Bros & Co (Leathers) Ltd
Gardiners is a prominent distributor of premier lifestyle and safety labels to trade which has a rich history of 160 years. Remarkably, it has tripled its reach and doubled its revenue in the last four years. The expansion is primarily attributed to the Online Range Extension domain. Through substantial investments in restructuring and innovation, Gardiners has transformed every facet of its operations. With a new sprawling 230,000-square-foot warehouse boasting cutting-edge automation and increased workforce numbers of 80% in five years, the company has created a seamless journey from product curation to distribution resulting in increased sales within its key brands.
Rugrats and half pints
Rugrats and Half Pints was previously known as Magic Land. The centre underwent a remarkable transformation, expanding its play facilities to encompass sensory equipment, interactive activities and trampolines, as well as introducing a childcare nursery. The centre now serves as a community hub, offering a space for relaxation and coffee meet-ups, and for children to play and grow. The centre's excellence is evidenced by its TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Award, achieved within a year of opening and consistently maintained for four years. Following its pandemic-related closure, the soft play venture's triumphant reopening resulted in nearly doubled annual turnover.
Rising Star, in partnership with Renishaw
Charlie Savage, Royal Agricultural University
Charlie Savage embarked on his journey with RAU as a school leaver, driven by a fervent passion for hospitality and catering. Despite his youth, he shouldered responsibilities deftly, exceeding expectations. Initially a catering assistant, Charlie's innate attention to detail, confident customer engagement, and proactive troubleshooting set him apart. His rapport with customers bloomed, endearing him to all. Progressing to restaurant manager in 2018 showcased his prowess and amidst Covid, he orchestrated catering operations seamlessly. Nurtured by RAU, Charlie secured a WSET wine accreditation, and managerial qualifications, and perpetually seeks growth. His journey epitomises dedication, skill expansion, and unwavering ambition.
Jozef Nixon - North Tower Consulting Ltd
Jozef Nixon's apprenticeship journey with North Tower Consulting has exceeded all expectations, showcasing remarkable growth in skills. His unwavering dedication and enthusiasm are evident. He spearheaded the creation of a distinctive niche product, impressively coordinating client meetings and stakeholder interactions, garnering exceptional feedback. Notably collaborative, he took on the role of mentoring new apprentices, imparting technical expertise and business acumen. Jozef embodies North Tower Consulting's values with fervor. His exceptional contributions include fostering client relationships and swiftly responding to feedback. Jozef's impact on productivity marks the promising dawn of NTC's software development future.
Lewis Abbott, Plus Music PR
Founder of Plus Music PR, Lewis Abbott, boasts exceptional talent and noteworthy accomplishments. Understanding industry gaps and artist needs, he established the agency in 2018. Under his guidance, it flourished, gaining international clients and service diversity. Lewis prioritises cost-effective campaigns, strong communication and nurturing emerging talent, establishing himself as an industry rising star. Despite a small remote team, Plus Music PR achieved remarkable growth - 87% in turnover and over 100% in profitability - thanks to a strategic expansion into digital advertising. This attests to Lewis Abbott's remarkable prowess in steering the company's success on the global stage.
Business of the Year, in partnership with Randall and Payne
Gardiner Bros & Co (Leathers) Ltd
Gardiners, a family-run enterprise, is a UK wholesaler of footwear and apparel to trade, dispatching a remarkable three million products annually including multiple fashion retailers in the UK including Next, Shop Direct, Schuh and Sole Trader. It has tripled its reach and doubled its revenue in the last four years, introducing a new sprawling 230,000-square-foot warehouse boasting cutting-edge automation. By employing more local people, the company has created a seamless journey from product curation to distribution to increase sales within its key brands. Gardiners also promotes a commitment to sustainability, introducing renewable energy and responsible practices to aid the mission to net zero.
Renowned supplier G-TEM furnishes premier automotive manufacturers with metal pressings and welded assemblies. With an 800-strong local workforce, the company thrives on innovation, consistently enhancing its offerings. Operating from cutting-edge facilities, G-TEM began work with Tesla in late 2021 to supply pressings and welded assemblies for the 'Y' model. Not only that, it has secured ISO 45001 accreditation for Health and Safety management and is looking to add the ISO 50001 (Energy) management system standard to its achievements. Eager to break technological barriers, G-TEM ardently invests in its workforce via an apprenticeship scheme, exemplifying its dedication to progress and excellence.
Rugrats and half pints
Rugrats and Half Pints is a premier children's indoor activity centre. Following the acquisition of Magic Land, the establishment underwent a thorough renovation. With offerings such as trampolines, interactive wall games and sensory play zones and provisions for special needs visitors, Rugrats and Half Pints has brought children a diverse array of play facilities. The centre's excellence is evidenced by its TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Award, achieved within a year of opening and consistently maintained for four years. Rugrats and Half Pints has further expanded its repertoire in addition to by incorporating a nursery and plans for future ventures.
Business Person of the Year, in partnership with Newent Community School
Laurie Bell, Cheltenham Trust
Laurie Bell is the CEO of local independent charity The Cheltenham Trust. Having assumed leadership during a pivotal juncture, Laurie adeptly navigated the organisation through the global pandemic and the persisting challenges of economic turmoil. Laurie’s visionary leadership instilled a proactive growth-oriented ethos. She pioneered ‘Team Trust’, fostering a culture of boundless possibilities. Under her stewardship, the trust not only persevered but flourished, transforming the local and visitor economy while nurturing community well-being. Revitalised abandoned heritage sites and cultural events have drawn in approximately 3.8 million visitors, providing the ultimate accessibility to culture, heritage, entertainment, sport and leisure for all.
Caroline Bevan, Rugrats and Half Pints
Caroline Bevan has successfully established a "go-to" destination nestled within the Cotswolds, enriching the local community through increased revenue. Following the acquisition of the original Magic Land, Caroline renovated the establishment to create Rugrats and Half Pints. By reimagining the soft play experience and establishing a distinctive proposition, she has addressed the absence of local recreational facilities for children. Notably, the dedicated space for infants fosters a secure environment for mothers to engage their babies and forge connections with peers, nurturing a support network. Additionally, its provision of sensory rooms reflects a commitment to inclusivity, ensuring direct access for children with special needs.
Tanya Buxton, Paradise Tattoo Studios
Tanya Buxton, founder of Paradise Tattoo Studio since June 2021, is a master in her field of specialised tattooing and has garnered global attention, with clients travelling from Mexico, Brazil and Thailand to experience her life-changing artistry. Tanya's studio offers an exceptional and inclusive environment, attracting people of all ages, genders and nationalities. Beyond her outstanding work, Tanya aims to expand Paradise Studio and run an advanced tattooing training academy, mentoring artists in cosmetic and medical tattooing. Committed to social causes, she collaborates with Future Dreams Breast Cancer Charity and London Trans Clinic, showcasing her dedication to enriching lives.
Nick Pritchard, North Tower Consulting Ltd
In 2019, Nick Pritchard founded NTC, a bespoke software solutions consultancy. Under his guidance, NTC's revenue surged tenfold, fueled by his adeptness in securing public sector contracts. Notably, he quadrupled the team size within a year, marking a remarkable 400% growth in employed personnel. Nick spearheads corporate social responsibility, exemplified by a new comprehensive employee benefits package introduced this year. Fostering a familial atmosphere with an open-door ethos is central to Nick's values for NTC. His leadership radiates self-motivation, supportiveness, positivity, empathy and innovation. Exceptional staff retention is a testament to Nick's personalised approach, accommodating individual needs and providing enriching opportunities.
Ann Price, Newent Community School
Ann Price began her journey at Newent Community School in 2000 as a finance assistant, handling payrolls. Despite being new to education, her passion for growth emerged. In 2002, she became Bursar, leading projects like the art block extension, reception area revamp, and the eco lab construction. Completing CSBM and DSBM, she even tutored programmes. Over the years, Ann spearheaded projects, including eight science labs and a sports centre update. She also played a pivotal role in the school's academy conversion, securing grants for various vital improvements.
Kester Birch, Wycliffe College
For the past 17 years, Kester Birch has been an integral part of Wycliffe College. Starting as a Grounds Apprentice, Kester's dedication shines as he fosters the team’s unity and emphasises the value of their work. Kester's belief that every role can contribute to the college's reputation is affirmed by visitor praise for the inviting campus and well-kept grounds. As a mentor, he champions apprentices, helping them launch their careers. Kester's passion extends to sustainability, where he introduces eco-friendly practices and encourages innovation. Always on call, he ensures the college's safety and functionality, embodying commitment effortlessly.
Vladlena Vasylieva, Nomadic UK
In 2022, Vladena Vasasylieva joined Nomadic UK after fleeing war-torn Ukraine. Her transition to a new country, mastering English and embracing the culture is inspiring. Adept at animation, she's transformed team dynamics. Her portfolio boasts work on high-profile music videos including Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, and with Nomadic UK lacking an in-house animation offering, hiring Vladlena was an easy decision. Her work catalysed business growth and her exceptional skills have shone on complex projects such as a cyber security animation which left both team and client astonished, and the enhancement of the O2 Arena London's Christmas advert which garnered five million impressions.
Made in Britain Award, in partnership with Cyber Security Associates
Forge Motorsport (Forge Engineering)
Founded in 1983 by Juri and Josie Zaslawski, Forge Motorsport has cultivated the most extensive and varied collection of post-market vehicle tuning products globally. The company's diverse engineering services cater to a wide array of industries, including marine, military, agriculture, medical, construction, aerospace and the audio sector, alongside all facets of motorsport. Its remarkable growth has paved the way for Forge USA Orlando, Forge Asia Taichung Taiwan, as well as Forge Korea and Forge Japan. Backed by years of expertise, the skilled engineers and production staff receive continuous training and development, underscoring Forge's commitment to excellence.
Renowned supplier G-TEM furnishes premier automotive manufacturers with metal pressings and welded assemblies. Based in Gloucester Business Park since 1996 and with an 800-strong local workforce, the company thrives on innovation, consistently enhancing its offerings. In 2021, G-TEM began work with Tesla to supply pressings and welded assemblies for the 'Y' model all from its cutting-edge facilities in Gloucester. Eager to break technological barriers, G-TEM ardently invests in its workforce via an apprenticeship scheme, exemplifying its dedication to progress and excellence. Not only people, it is invested in the planet by finding innovative new ways to be more sustainable and responsible.
The Traffic Group
The Traffic Group, encompassing AGD, TGS, and MAV, strives to enhance highway safety, sustainability and efficiency through its manufacturing operations. Its portfolio encompasses products such as push-button signals, vehicle/pedestrian cameras, radar devices, temporary traffic lights, and ANPR systems. With a committed workforce of 125, the company fosters a culture of perpetual enhancement and innovation. All items are conceived and produced in the UK, with a focus on local sourcing. The group advocates solar power, EV charging, and circular design, exemplified by eco-friendly temporary traffic lights that merge environmental responsibility with accessible, cutting-edge technology. Its achievements include carbon-neutral manufacturing and zero landfill waste.
Charity of the Year
Hollie Gazzard Trust
The Hollie Gazzard Trust emerged in response to the tragic 2014 murder of 20-year-old Hollie Gazzard by her ex-partner. Focused on combating domestic violence, the charity aims to positively change the lives of young people through partnerships in communities with charities and professional agencies. Hollie's experience with abuse propels its mission to confront domestic violence, utilising awareness campaigns, educational initiatives and its safety app to make more people aware of the signs and issues involved. The charity’s collaborative efforts extend to tailor-made training about healthy relationships and knife crime, aligning with the goal of fostering change from an early stage and saving lives.
National Star, a prominent disability charity, stands as a leading education, health, and social care employer in Gloucestershire. It offers pioneering learning initiatives and residential solutions for youths grappling with disabilities. With a five-decade legacy, the organisation has aided numerous disabled young adults and currently sustains a workforce of 1,200 across Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Wales. Remarkably, its efforts in 2021-2022 encompassed 795,766 service hours, benefiting 495 youngsters and realising a 92% achievement rate in personal learning objectives. The charity's profound impact empowers disabled youth, enabling them to attain autonomy and employment opportunities, thereby reshaping their lives.
Severn Area Rescue Association
SARA (Severn Area Rescue Association) operates as a volunteer-based lifeboat and inland search rescue charity. Services encompass lifeboats, water and land rescue, cliff and rope rescue, flood assistance and casualty care. Ranking as the UK's second-largest independent rescue group, SARA answers more than 100 annual calls. These encompass distressed individuals, stranded vessels, local and national floods, ensnared pets, and general wildlife interventions. SARA has saved lives since 1973, with dedicated volunteers available 24/7. These devoted volunteers also take on the role of fundraising for the charity, with it relying solely on public generosity to fund its life-saving services.