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Innovation of the Year sponsored by Taylor Made Computer Solutions


Beyond Encryption – Taking secure email technology to the next level.

InstaVolt – At the forefront of electric vehicle charging technology.

Jisp – Clever app for charging purchases to your account that’s helping ‘save the high street’.

Serious Sport Group – Producing high quality personalised sports kit and teamwear in the UK.

Tekever – Developing drones for maritime use with life-saving and environmental protection capabilities.

Zylpha – Developing software products for the legal sector that cut the time to produce documents.


Taylor Made Computer Solutions’ Innovation of the Year award champions the role that innovation plays in creating successful businesses across the Solent.

The award recognises businesses which are achieving or can show they expect to achieve significantly through the innovation of products and processes.

Entrants will be expected to demonstrate how new technologies or novel practices have increased output and efficiency and how continued innovation is planned to advance the company in the future.

Corporate Social Responsibility Award — Sponsored by Royale Life


Dometic UK Blind Systems – Focused on energy saving in buildings and recycling waste, as well as charity initiatives.

Fair Ways – Invests in employee support and training as well as focusing on changing lives in the local community.

Irwin Mitchell – Carries out a huge amount of charity work and has a strong focus on diversity and employee wellbeing.

Silver Lining Convergence – Supports local community initiatives, including hospitals, as well as offering plenty of employee initiatives.

Southern Co-op – Sustainability and community initiatives set them apart, especially reducing levels of CO2 and refrigerator gases, also supports local good causes. 

Tops Day Nurseries – Focused on sustainability and cutting down on plastic use; encourages children and parents to learn about sustainability.


The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award celebrates business excellence and innovation in CSR across a broad range of disciplines. Nominations should cover at least two of the following areas:

Promotion of employee well-being, reduction of carbon footprint, improving the sustainability of processes in the workplace, community engagement, protection of the natural environment, supply chain, partnership, leadership and philanthropy.

SMEs and large organisations will be judged not just on the size and impact of the project, but by the resources used within the business in order to deliver it. The Judges will also be looking for good governance, management and a continuing commitment to sustainability.

Workplace Mental Health & Wellbeing – sponsored by Hilton at the Ageas Bowl


Advance TRS – Their mental health first aider is the champion behind programmes that are embedded in the company culture.

Anglepoise – They really go above and beyond what you’d expect and also take their practices outside the company into the community.

Mayflower Theatre – Offers a strong employee support network and wide ranging programmes that take everyone into consideration, including employees’ families.

Paris Smith – They have a variety of workplace benefits for all employees and put impressive resources behind them.

Southampton Airport – Policies developed by junior management team members are taken on board by directors and have a positive impact on the workforce.


This award is open to businesses with imaginative and supportive mental health policies that engage people throughout the business.

Modern employers understand that creating a culture of openness and wellbeing, coupled with practical issues such as providing first-aid support and counselling, all help reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

A healthy and supportive work environment and culture helps both the individual and the company itself.

Entries can be backed up with case studies and examples of when staff have benefited from the applicant’s positive attitude to mental health.

SME of the Year sponsored by James Cowper Kreston


Clearvision – Impressive in lots of judging categories, keeps its workforce engaged; strong growth potential with new products coming to market.

Highfield Professional Solutions – A solid SME with high scores for people and CSR and offers employee share ownership; strong innovation, profitable, and expanding into different geographies.

Landau UK – An innovative company with lots of ideas, high growth potential in the areas they are looking at, plus a high CSR score.

Paul Basham Associates – They have grown significantly in the last year, opened a new office, and continue to focus on people and CSR.

PVC Building Supplies – This family owned business empowers staff to generate ideas like just-in-time overnight order delivery that wins contracts against larger competitors.

Veritech Systems – At the forefront in security software, committed to staff training and heavily involved in community initiatives.


The SME of the Year award is open to privately-owned businesses with a base in the Solent and South Coast region which have been trading for at least two years and have no more than 250 employees.

Judges will consider the following: Current business performance, growth over the past two years, potential for future growth in years ahead, examples of innovation in products, services, and/or business practices, and contribution to the industry and/or to the business community.

Rising Star sponsored by Oberon Solutions


3R – Supports local recruitment businesses by looking at recruitment in new ways through funding, infrastructure and marketing; huge growth in the last two years.

Avec UK – Impressive 40% year-on-year growth and great staff attitude; have moved to larger premises and is expanding globally.

Helical Productions – A hugely ambitious and fun video production team that’s creating exciting content for a range of brands.

J Williams & Co – Disrupting the accountancy market with technology and has a good sales understanding; high people score and organic growth.

Paul Basham Associates – Expanded to a new office, offers a great graduate scheme, knowledgeable staff and strong organic growth.

RoyaleLife – An enthusiastic team expanding the business at a high rate, with new investment this year and an impressive approach to its bungalow developments.


This award is presented to a company that is fast-rising – a business that is standing out from the crowd through increasing sales and/or headcount.

The Rising Star may be experiencing increases in turnover through organic growth or acquisition, and may be on a trajectory that will see future growth in years ahead.

Judges will be identifying Rising Stars that have achieved significant success, and that have clear potential.

Best Company to Work For sponsored by BDB Pitmans


Bluebird Care Gosport – Shows a genuine commitment to employees, especially remote workers, in a challenging industry; offers plenty of training and competitive pay levels.

ITDev – Open, friendly, genuine approach with weekly staff polls to generate business ideas and new products; plus an impressive internship programme.

Mayflower Theatre – Passionate about employee engagement; has improved communication and relationships between back office and front-of-house staff following major refurbishment.


What makes your company a great place to work? Is it the location, the offices, the culture, the people, the boss?

Entries can come from both employees and employers – from any size company, and from any business sector.

If your employer has new and innovative working practices that make your company the best place to work, let us know. Here are some of the ways your company could be considered the Best Company to Work For:

  • Creative working styles.
  • Innovative working environment.
  • Wide-ranging staff facilities.
  • An open, inclusive work culture.
  • Strong environmental policies.

Management Team of the Year – sponsored by NatWest 


Biscoes Legal Services – Expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and moving into new areas, like supporting military personnel; good staff and client satisfaction levels.

Cobweb Solutions – The team has doubled turnover in the last two years with good strategic planning and developing new software services and tools.

Diametric Technical – Relatively new but very experienced management team is highly focused on growing the business, especially with large automotive manufacturer customers, in a tough economic climate.

Hendy Group – The team focuses on transformation and problem solving as Hendy continues to expand through acquisition; staff training and support delivers great customer service.

Mackoy – The team has grown the business significantly with a flexible business model and a workforce that meet client requirements.

Peach & Taylor Made Computer Solutions – Two great owners have harmonised the merger of these businesses and produced a clear onward strategy for growth.


The Solent Management Team of the Year award will go to the team that can demonstrate a consistent track record of strong leadership, drive and adaptability together with the ability to plan ahead strategically and execute its plans well.

The judges will be looking for a management team that has driven the business forward to deliver improvements in customer experience and in its staff proposition, all of which will have led to enhanced trading performance. 

The management team’s vision and its ability to innovate, make transformational change and overcome challenges or material problems will also be key criteria, as will its ability to work cohesively as a multi-disciplined, capable leadership team.

The judges will be looking for success in the following areas:

  • Strategic planning and thinking: clear, focused business planning and strategy development and execution has supported growth and trading performance.
  • Transformation and innovation: flexible and proactive in facing/driving change within the business, developing skills and building capability to support growth and deliver enhanced customer experience.
  • Building and inspiring teams: management have built a winning team to drive success and provide effective leadership, resulting in an inspired, loyal team underpinned by a strong overall people proposition.
  • Growth mindset: management demonstrate an aptitude for growing and developing its business in a demanding macro-economic and competitive environment.
  • Problem solving: strong leadership at all levels within the business, creating/leveraging opportunities and/or overcoming difficult situations.

Company of the Year sponsored by KPMG


3R – A fabulous business that spotted a gap in the market; a worthy finalist.

Cobweb Solutions – A Microsoft Gold Partner offering cloud services and tools that help SMEs improve productivity.

CV-Library – Impressive cutting-edge technology and new management team members at SBA 2017’s Company of the Year.

Hendy Group – Third generation family business that just keeps growing by acquiring businesses without getting indigestion.

Mackoy – A local business doing well with a range of Blue Chip customers by really understanding its market.

Mayflower Theatre – A strong Solent brand that has handled staff motivation well during major refurbishment.


The Solent region boasts some of the most dynamic and successful companies in the UK. This award recognises the most successful Solent and South Coast companies with a turnover above £10 million, and judges will take into account profitability, innovation and employment growth, as well as the contribution made to the local economy and the provision of support to culture in the region.