Northamptonshire firm takes Business of the Year award at Business Excellence Awards

The owner of a Northamptonshire-based business said he was “on top of the world” after winning three awards at the Northamptonshire Business Excellence Awards last night.

Worldwide hydraulic tools brand, Hi-Force Limited, based in Daventry, won took home the Training and Development, Business of the Year and Overall awards during the ceremony at Daventry Court Hotel.

Centre, Simon Weston OBE with all the winners of Northamptonshire Business Excellence Awards held at the Daventry Court Hotel. (PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER)

Centre, Simon Weston OBE with all the winners of Northamptonshire Business Excellence Awards held at the Daventry Court Hotel. (PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER)

Owner, Kevin Brown, said: “It’s an amazing feeling. I believed we would win, especially in training and development, because our commitment to that is massive. We believe in training people all over the world. I am especially proud of my trainee manager, Steve Wakelin, for all his work - he is the best there is.”

Judges who visited Hi-Force Limited, which has branches across the continents, said they were “proud to have this business in Northamptonshire” and commented on the company’s “commitment to care of the environment and training of staff here and around the world.”

The gala dinner, organised by Johnston Press’s East Midlands titles and sponsored by various East Midlands companies, such as Stanair) was attended by over 250 people and involved a raffle and auction in aid of the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA). The evening was hosted by Simon Weston, whose story about recovering from injuries and burns received when he was on board the Sir Galahad warship when it was destoyed on the Falkland Islands in 1982, has been featured in several television documentaries.

He said: “If anybody owes their life to helicopters, its me. Those people are lifesavers.

“It’s a great honour for me to be with you tonight and share in your moment of triumph and success. You should all be very proud of yourselves.”

Among other winners were Northampton-based recruitment and training business, Starting Off, who took home the prize for Long Standing Business after starting up 25 years ago.

Owner Dale Willis said: “I cannot believe we are here, after first opening in 1989 with one desk, one phone and a manual typewriter. It’s a phenomenal feeling.

“We have kept going because we love what we do and we believe in finding jobs for your people. We have helped put over 5,000 young people in work in Northampton and it’s great to see them grow and develop through their training with us.”

The full list of winners and finalists across all award categories is as follows:

New Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Ricoh


Ashley Riley Communications

Bar kitty

Doggies Day Out

Into the Blue Consulting

Smokin Bones

Highly commended: Smokin Bones

New Business of the year winner 2014: Doggies Day Out

The second category is Creative Innovation Award also sponsored by Riverside Printers


Hi-Force limited

Jones Architecture + Design

Northampton Leisure Trust

Silverstone Fleet Management

Spectrum Healthcare

Wicksteed Playgrounds

Highly commended: Northampton Leisure Trust

Creative Innovation Award 2014: Wicksteed Playgrounds

Training and Development, sponsored by University of Northampton Business School


B&V Water Group

Daventry Court Hotel

Gnu Films

Hi-Force Ltd

Kettering Park Hotel

Highly commended: Daventry Court Hotel

The Training and Development Award 2014 winner: Hi-Force Ltd

Worker of the year, sponsored by the Big Trophy


Dennis Clayton – DACT

Julie Keitch – Daventry Court Hotel

Barry Jenner – Helping Hands

Ivan Clifford – Kettering Park Hotel

Jack Fitzhugh – Tompkins Joinery

Highly commended: Ivan Clifford from the Kettering Park Hotel

Worker of the year winner 2014: Jack Fitzhugh

Excellence in Customer Care award sponsored by the Daventry Court Hotel.


AB Mauri

Aspers Casino

Back and Body Clinic

Doggies Day Out

Wittlebury Hall

Highly commended: Whittlebury Hall

The Excellence in Customer Care winner for 2014: Back and Body Clinic

The Enterprising Organisation of the Year sponsored by Fastrax Conveyor Modules


ACS Recruitment

Daventry Area Community Transport


Northampton Leisure Trust

The Tess Group

Highly commended: ACS Recruitment and Mentaur

The Enterprising Organisation of the year 2014 winner: The Tess Group

Community Investment sponsored by Cummins


DACT Daventry Area Community Transport

Intown Automotive

Northampton Leisure trust


The Tess group

Highly Commended: Ricoh

The Community Investment Awards 2014 winner: Intown Automotive

Long Standing Business of the Year sponsored by the Northamptonshire Chamber


Hambleside Danelaw

HES Sales

Kettering Park Hotel

Starting Off

Woodway UK

Highly commended: Hambleside Danelaw

The Long Standing Business Award 2014: Starting off

The Business of the Year, sponsored by the FSB


Back and Body Clinic

Du-feu I T solutions

Gnu Films

Helping Hands


Wicksteed Playgrounds

Highly commended: Wicksteed Playgrounds

The Business of the year 2014 winner: Hi-Force Ltd

The Stanair Choice Award given in recognition of exceptional efforts to achieve success to one of the category winners:


Doggies Day Out

Wicksteed playgrounds


Back and Body Clinic

The Tess group

In town automotive

Starting Off

Stanair choice award winner: Hi-force limited