What a night it was at 92 Burton Road as the winners of the Sheffield Business Awards stepped into the light.

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
The Global Player – Best Exporter (Winner: Loadhog)

The Global Player – Best Exporter, sponsored by Gripple

This award recognises the strength of the region’s importers and exporters. Entrants for this award must stand out from the crowd on the international stage and demonstrate that they have generated significant and/or sustained growth in their international activity and/or presence.

The winner is: Loadhog

Shortlisted: Corrosion Resistant Materials Ltd, Icetope Technologies Ltd, NOCN Group

Why they won

Loadhog is a multi-award winning, employee owned, UK manufacturer, dedicated to the design and manufacture, sale and pooling of returnable packaging solutions across a diverse range of industries.

The sale of their Loadhog Lid to the US market has seen sales rise significantly over the past year taking total sales for USA to £17.3m in 2020, an increase of 2,343 per cent since 2016. Over the last five years they’ve invested over £12m in both new manufacturing capacity and tooling and staff numbers have grown from 90 to 142.

What they said

Adam McCabe, design engineer: “I’m a little bit overwhelmed, I didn’t have any words prepared! We have been lucky enough to be one of the businesses to have generated more business due to the situation going on, but it has still been tough on the staff in terms of not being able to do what they want to do, like having to social distance, and being unable to hold social events.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
The Planet Saver – Sustainability Award (Winner: Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens)

The Planet Saver – Sustainability award, sponsored by Stoneacre

This award recognises a company or product which is leading the way in creating a sustainable environment for all and really putting Sheffield on the map. The product or company not only addresses a need but also seizes an opportunity to create a new market or industry.

The winner is: Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Shortlisted: BIDBI, Intelligent Facility Solutions Ltd, Regather

Why they won

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens design and fit beautiful bespoke kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces with an emphasis on sustainability. They offer a range of sustainable options for designs and their basic kitchen cabinets are all made from a special board produced from 100 per cent recycled timber – no tree is felled in production. They also encourage clients to choose locally sourced or reclaimed timber and have produced a new information guide on sustainable materials for clients to use.

What they said

Rob Cole, managing director: “When I first started the business about 15 years ago, sustainability was core to what I wanted to do, and I think back then we were quite unique within the industry. That has massively changed in the last 15 years and certainly in the last two or three years, so I think it means more to us that we can win this award in this sort of climate, and I feel proud that we have set the way within the industry.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
The Automator – Best Technology Company (Winner: Airship)

The Automator award – Best Technology Company, sponsored by The University of Sheffield

This award recognises a public or private sector entrant for the most outstanding digital technology company. The business has exhibited growth, improved commercial performance, increased market share and operational effectiveness.

The winner is: Airship

Shortlisted: Apex Mobiletech (UK) Ltd, Sport:80, Tutorful

Why they won

Airship is a market leader and multi-award-winning specialist software developer for the hospitality industry.

In the last 18 months they have quadrupled their customer base to over 600, added 27 per cent to their year-on-year turnover, issued over £150,000 of credit notes, recruited 16 new staff from the Sheffield City Region, five on the Kickstarter scheme, and opened a new office in London.

What they said

Dan Brookman, CEO of Airship: “We’re elated, it’s a nice end to the year and we’re really chuffed! When the government announced the reopening of the hospitality sector we quickly rolled out a track and trace product which became the leading product in the UK and we were checking in one million people a day. So we’re proud of the fact we’ve helped people pivot their businesses to stay afloat.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
The Joy Maker – Best Hospitality, Retail and Leisure Business (Winner: National Video Game Museum, Table: 1)

The Joy maker award – Best Hospitality, Retail and Leisure Business, sponsored by Business Sheffield/Business & IP Centre South Yorkshire

The Joy Maker award recognises an independent business on the high street that has significantly contributed to hospitality, retail or leisure during the most difficult time for these sectors.

The winners have explained how the business has survived, recovered and grown during the pandemic, driven footfall, generated income during lockdowns and brought benefit to their own high street.

The winner is: National Videogame Museum

Shortlisted: Jessica Flynn Designs Ltd, Tramlines Events Ltd, Two Thirds Beer Co

Why they won

The National Videogame Museum, operated by the BGI charity, creates programmes that transform lives with videogames, inspiring everyone to play, collaborate and learn. During the pandemic the museum team created a range of downloadable materials, online workshops and ran a summer club which received incredible feedback from families.

When the museum was able to reopen, safety measures were praised by visitors and in a recent survey, 95 per cent said expectations of their visit were met or exceeded.

What they said

Hannah Brian, director of visitor experience: “I’m just so proud of the team and this is really for them.

“They put so much effort into making everybody’s experience at the museum just the best it could possibly be.

“We’ve worked really hard bringing people both within the city region and out to have this amazing experience and we’re really just trying to transform lives through games.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
The Visionary – Creative Impact Award (Winner: Fab Events & Marketing Strategies)

The Visionary – Creative Impact award, sponsored by Mattress Online

This category recognises a business specialising in creative services such as design, marketing, publishing, film, architecture and the arts, that can showcase how their creative work has led directly to improved business performance. Entries were welcome from all firms, whether in-house or agency.


The winner is: Fab Events & Marketing Strategies

Shortlisted: Hydra Creative, LensGo Visual Media, Open House Pictures

Why they won

Fab Events and Marketing Strategies offers event planning services and strategic business planning expertise to ensure that businesses receive a good return on investment when hosting events.

The business expanded in 2020 in response to the pandemic and now offers new services including event concept and strategy consultations and tech support for virtual events to manage the virtual floor. The new services helped one client secure a 700 per cent return on investment in a paid subscription model.

What they said

Zoe Wadsworth, owner and founder: “I’m shaking like a leaf! I thought Hydra Creative had this award hands down because they’re somebody who I look up to in the business network. I will definitely be celebrating at the weekend!”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
The Innovator (Winner: City Grab)

The Innovator, sponsored by Barnsley College

This award identifies and rewards the company which has launched the most innovative new product or service or who may have built or embraced new technology to drive their company forward over the last 12 months. Judges considered all aspects of an innovative new product or service, its USP, the potential for growth, competition and profitability.

The winner is: City Grab

Shortlisted: Champion Health, Environmental Monitoring, Zen Green Stage Ltd

Why they won

City Grab established itself as a lifeline for over 300 local independent businesses taking on trans-national corporations in the process to protect local work and reduce the extortionate commissions charged to our local outlets.

The app provided an outlet for independents to stay open, re-open or create new businesses. Over the past 12 months City Grab reached over 5,000 deliveries per week and placed £7.5m back into the local economy.

What they said

Paul Gosney, business development director: “I first came up with the idea in 2010 and we launched just before the first COVID lockdown in 2020.

“I’d like to thank the people, the independent outlets, the public and the local communities that supported us – we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
Sheffield Maker – Manufacturing Company of the Year (Winner: Robert Sorby)

The Sheffield Maker – Manufacturing Company of the Year, sponsored by Wake Smith solicitors

This award recognises a company that demonstrates an efficient and innovative approach to manufacturing. The business exhibited growth, improved commercial performance, increased market share and operational effectiveness.

The winner is: Robert Sorby

Shortlisted: Baldwin & Francis, Goral & Son Ltd, Up North Cabinet Makers Ltd

Why they won

Robert Sorby is the World’s premier manufacturer and exporter of specialist woodworking tools, with a proud Sheffield heritage dating back nearly 200 years.

The company has adjusted to the changing demands of the woodworking industry by diversifying into wood working machinery, offering training days related to its products and running an apprentice programme to pass vital knowledge on to the next generation of Toolmakers.

What they said

Ian Finkhill, director and general manager, was thrilled at picking up the award. He said: “This is great accolade for a 200-year-old business and we’re going to take our business to the next level within the next five years. We’re doing a lot of work internally to push the business forward so it’s very exciting times.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
The Above and Beyonder – Best Professional Services Company (Winner: ActionCOACH)

The Above and Beyonder – Best Professional Service Company, sponsored by Hallam FM

Entrants must outline how they have shown excellence in their specific sector and how they have planned for future growth. Judges looked for what activities are responsible for sustained growth and success, details of how a business has shown excellence in their specific sector, evidence of new or innovative services introduced over the last year and evidence of excellent customer service. This is an award all about delighting customers.

The winner is: ActionCOACH Sheffield

Shortlisted: Highlander Computing Solutions, Resolve IT Solutions Ltd, Shakespeare Martineau

Why they won

ActionCOACH Sheffield is a multi-award-winning provider of business growth, mentoring, strategic advice and coaching to SME business owners across the region. Since 2019, ActionCOACH has worked with over 100 firms, helping ambitious business owners make an impact.

ActionCOACH staff numbers have risen by 300 per cent in two years with 100 per cent staff retention and 100 per cent of the company’s clients said working with ActionCOACH was worth the investment.

What they said

John Asquith, owner of ActionCOACH: “I’m really shocked you know, I know everybody says this but I didn’t think we would win – I even considered not wearing a suit but I’m glad I did now! I’m really proud.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
Social Impact Award – Best Not-For-Profit, Charity or Social Enterprise (Winner: Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care)

Social Impact award – Best Not-For-Profit, Charity or Social Enterprise,

sponsored by Evoluted

This award recognises a not-for-profit organisation, charity or social enterprise that has significantly contributed towards social impact in Sheffield.

Judges were looking for evidence of involvement from different cultures or backgrounds to advance a common initiative for the betterment of all people, evidence of job creation either paid or voluntary and evidence of opportunities created.

The winner is: Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care

Shortlisted: Age UK Sheffield, Sheffield Futures, Sheffield United Community Foundation

Why they won

Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care is a charity that has been supporting older, vulnerable, isolated and lonely people in Sheffield since 1966. SCCCC supports older people in hospital, during discharge from hospital and in their own homes.

As COVID-19 took effect, the charity reacted by scaling up transport provision and increasing its staff and volunteer workforce to meet the heightened need for support from the most vulnerable.

What they said

Mark Storey, CEO: “This award feels like deserved recognition for the way our brilliant volunteers and small team of staff have stepped up to help thousands of isolated, older people in our communities. Whether it’s fitting equipment to make life that bit easier, writing a letter to someone who’s lonely, or helping someone to leave hospital safely, I couldn’t be prouder of the impact we’ve had.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
The Brand Builder – Marketing Campaign of the Year Award (Winner: Airship)

The Brand Builder – Marketing Campaign for the Year award, sponsored by City Taxis

This category recognises an organisation which has delivered a marketing campaign that has made a true impact. Businesses and organisations had to showcase how their creative work has led directly to improved business performance and recognition for their product or client.

The winner is: Airship

Shortlisted: Carmats.co.uk, Hydra Creative Ltd, Vivid Creative

Why they won

Airship has a first-rate reputation within its industry and are proud to be a specialist software supplier to hundreds of hospitality businesses across the UK.

In January Airship launched #ComeBackStrong, a knowledge-transfer campaign which aimed to educate and inspire hospitality professionals and ensure operators were in a strong position when restrictions were lifted.

They partnered with some of the brightest brains in the industry to provide furloughed staff with the opportunity to upskill through free online training sessions.

What they said

Dan Brookman, CEO of Airship: “Delighted to win our second award of the night. During the last couple of years the messaging has been so important to get right because the hospitality industry has fluctuated so much.

“We needed to be on the ball and have the right message in the campaigns that we’re putting out.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
Employer of the Year (Winner: NOCN Group)

Employer of the Year, sponsored by The Sheffield College

This award recognises an organisation that excels in offering the most comprehensive work environment, either through the implementation of a learning and development culture, staff incentive schemes, recognition, remuneration and retention packages or health and wellbeing initiatives.

The winner is: NOCN Group


B Braun Medical UK, Evoluted, HLM Architects Ltd

Why they won

NOCN Group is an educational charity whose core aims are to help learners reach their potential and organisations to thrive.

The group has a dedicated ‘People and Culture’ team who lead on investment into the Training and Development plan, support systems and initiatives to continuously develop their staff including an online learning platform to provide CPD in a wide range of sector areas, for customers and employees.

What they said

Louise Fort, group head of people and culture: “It’s an amazing achievement. The room is full of some amazing employers across the city and for us to even be on the shortlist is amazing so to win it is fantastic. The last 18 months have been incredibly difficult but writing the submission for the award made me realise, by seeing it on paper, how much we’ve actually done and how much we’ve continued to move forward.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
Start-Up Business of the Year (Winner: Carmats.co.uk)

Start Up of the Year, sponsored by Business Sheffield/Business & IP Centre South Yorkshire

This category recognises a business that has been created since January 1 2020 during the pandemic and has become successful in its own right, or has achieved a significant breakthrough in its sector during a very difficult time to start a business.

The winner is: CarMats.co.uk

Shortlisted: Dynamic Engrave and Print Ltd, Parkwood Springs, Simoda Ltd

Why they won

CarMats.co.uk is an ecommerce site providing bespoke car mats to fit every make and model on the market, all manufactured and hand-finished in the UK. Each mat is made to order, with options for those seeking affordable luxury and those who want to give their car the five-star interior treatment.

Launched in May 2020, CarMats.co.uk is now dominating the UK market. The goal to reach £1m in revenue was achieved in a phenomenal nine months, exceeding £2m just 12 months after launch.

What they said

Ash Young, managing director: “I’m absolutely over the moon. This started as a side hustle in May 2020 when I had a bit of time during the pandemic. It’s something I have wanted to do for a long time and it’s just gone crazy. I’m blown away.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
Large Business of the Year (Winner: MattressOnline)

Large Business of the Year, sponsored by Shorts

This award was open to organisations employing over 100 full-time members of staff and/or with an annual turnover of over £25m. The winner is a business that has achieved consistent growth backed by a strong financial performance.

The winner is: Mattress Online

Shortlisted: CC33 FS Ltd, Shakespeare Martineau

Why they won

From humble beginnings storing mattresses in a garage, Mattress Online has grown to become the largest stockist of mattresses in the UK and is now a £37.5m turnover business employing 70 people including 32 new members of staff over the past year.

During the past 18 months sales have increased by nearly 200 per cent due to customer demands during the pandemic.

What they said

Steve Adams, CEO: “I’m flabbergasted. From starting in my bedroom 18 years ago to now winning large business of the year and growing so quickly in the last 18 months, it’s quite an achievement.

“It’s thanks to my team primarily – I’ve got a long serving team, the longest members being with me 16 years in an 18 year old company which I’m super proud of.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
SME of the Year (Winner: DeeperThanBlue)

SME of the Year, sponsored by Sheffield Hallam University

This category recognises a small or medium business employing up to 100 full-time members of staff and not exceeding a £25m annual turnover that has achieved consistent growth backed by a strong financial performance.

The winner is: DeeperThanBlue

Shortlisted: Castings Technology International Ltd, Gradconsult, YesTax

Why they won

DeeperThanBlue employs innovation and insight through the use of technology, helping organisations excel online and offline with their digital propositions, growing revenues and providing engaging customer experiences.

Since the beginning of 2018 their team has grown from 18 to over 40 employees. And for the next three years their aim is to grow and expand the company to beyond 50 employees and to hit a fiscal year revenue of above £6m.

What they said

Chris Booker, sales and marketing director: “We’re really pleased to have won this award especially with such great companies in terms of other competitors. Back in March last year nobody knew where business would actually go, but we were fortunate in that we were able to recruit and increase the business size, meaning we managed to grow over that period of time.”

Sheffield Business Awards 2021 at Peddlers, Sheffield.
CMS Business Excellence Award (Winner: City Grab)

CMS Award for Business Excellence

This award was picked from all the winners by main sponsors CMS to celebrate and acknowledge one business who has demonstrated business excellence by doing something strategic, innovative and game-changing.

The winner is: City Grab

Why they won

The premise of the award is simple: what do CMS partners believe represents the best example of overall business excellence from all the winners? What project or business do CMS feel really showcases those attributes of innovation, adaptability and creative thinking that are such an important part of Sheffield’s business heritage?

There were many examples of business excellence to choose from, but in the end CMS identified the one entrant that had the biggest impact on Sheffield generally, not just the business itself, but its people, its customers and even other businesses.

Two companies that CMS felt deserved a very special mention were www.carmats.co.uk and the National Videogames Museum. Both were exceptional stand-out entrants and both came very close to winning the special CMS award, for very different reasons.

But the winner is City Taxis for City Grab.

What they said

Arne Singh, managing director of City Grab/City Taxis: “I am delighted to win this award. The last 18 months has been a massive struggle but we’ve pivoted in a couple of ways, including setting up City Grab, and I think that we’ve survived off the back of it. We had the resource in the vehicles and we had the customers at home needing stuff so we came up with the solution at just the right time.”

PJ taste

Guests at the Sheffield Business Awards were treated to the delights of a PJ taste menu.

The Attercliffe based firm served generous meat and vegetable sharing platters to start featuring Sheffield Egg with amazing Eckington grown cherry tomatoes married with Yorkshire goat’s cheese, Wateralls pork pie, Casa Gomez chorizo and Hedgerow Preserves chutney.

The main course featured a BBQ Moss Valley pork fillet and in keeping with PJ taste’s zero waste kitchen approach other cuts were incorporated in both the pork parcel and potato cake.

For dessert, cider from Woodthorpe Hall found its way into the cider posset, which was given crunch and texture by using PJ taste’s own home grown Blenheim orange apples and foraged blackberries in the crumble topping.

Peter Moulam, one of the founding directors, said: “We treat each event as a one-off striving to continuously improve every aspect of our food, service and our approach to sustainability.  Increasingly we are using harvests from our own forest garden preserving them in a variety of ways to extend the season. This gives our team new skills but of course many of the techniques have been practised for centuries and we are re-discovering them to reduce our environmental impact.”

Regular clients of PJ taste include The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, the Millennium Galleries, Wake Smith, Aesseal, ITM Power and St Luke’s hospice.

If you would like Peter to devise a bespoke menu for your event in 2022 please contact him on:


0114 312 3663