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East Midlands Chamber News

Sygnature Discovery Crowned Best in Business

Dr Simon Hirst and his Synature Discovery team are named Nottinghamshire's BEST Business 2013Sygnature Discovery – the Nottingham-based drug discovery firm – has been crowned Nottinghamshire’s BEST Business of the Year for 2013 at DNCC's annual business awards.

The company, which is based in Biocity and provides premium integrated drug discovery services to the global pharmaceutical sector, lifted the prestigious trophy - sponsored by the University of Nottingham - at a gala dinner at the Nottingham Belfry last night.

Dr Simon Hirst, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, also scooped the Outstanding Personal Achievement award.

Sygnature Discovery was one of eight businesses which walked away with awards from ten categories at the ceremony.

Dr Hirst, who founded the company in 2004, said: “To receive DNCC’s Business of the Year award, given the outstanding calibre of the companies in every category, is a great achievement for Sygnature.

“I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about all the successful businesses in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire area. It is very inspiring to see so many people doing well. We all had an exciting and very memorable evening and Sygnature is very proud to have won this award”.

Other winners included 2012’s Nottinghamshire Business of the Year Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies, which won the Exporter of the Year Award, and New College Nottingham’s business to business team, which topped the Marketing Campaign of the Year category.

DNCC Chief Executive George Cowcher said: “The Chamber’s congratulations go to all of this year’s winners. We had some stellar entries this year and the judging process was extremely tough but all of the winning businesses thoroughly deserve their success.

“It’s great to see so many businesses in Nottinghamshire doing well. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney remarked on his recent visit to the city that the region is a bellwether of the UK economy and he’s right.

“Over the two years since the downturn officially ended, businesses in Nottinghamshire have been busy investing, innovating, exporting and growing and these awards are testament to the quality of business we have in this city and county.”

Here's a few pictures from the event. Scroll down to see a full list of winners:


The full list of winners is as follows:

School of the Year

Sponsored by Boots

This award was sponsored by Boots and was won by the Bulwell Academy. Alison Bingham, its Director of Business and Enterprise, said: “We are thrilled to have been part of these awards and are delighted DNCC has taken such a proactive approach to establish linking the worlds of education and business.

“We have always been keen to build partnerships with employers to ensure that our students leave with the skills and attributes that employers need for a 21st Century workforce.

“This award is tribute to all the amazing and forward-thinking businesses which have been prepared to share knowledge and spend time with our students.”

George Spencer Academy and South Nottinghamshire Academy were the runners-up in this category.


Online Business of the Year

Sponsored by the eBusiness ClubThis award, sponsored by the eBusiness Club, was won by city-based online translation company betterlanguages.com. Its CEO Mike Hunter said: “The translation industry has been completely transformed in the last 20 years by the development of the internet, and more recently social media.

“Through the use of state-of-the-art technology, we are able to market our services through the internet and social media to virtually the entire world. At last count we had a network of translators and other suppliers in 28 countries, over six continents.”

Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies Ltd and JH Digital Agency were the runners-up in this category.


Most Promising New Business

Sponsored by Experian

Mansfield-based sustainable construction firm Spinelock UK won this award, which was sponsored by Chamber patron Experian. Spinelock CEO Derick Wilson said: “Winning this award after many years spent developing the SpineLock system, recognises all the professionals that have supported me in my endeavour to deliver this ground breaking technology in the housing market.

“As the company continues to grow and develop, new opportunities, jobs and apprenticeships, will be created, giving young people and those out of work hope for an exciting future. Winning this award will give credit to all those involved, and we are thrilled to be recognised in this way.”

The runners-up in this category were Space Inclusive and Wide Sky Design.


Excellence in Innovation

Sponsored by The Greenbank GroupThis award, sponsored by Greenbank Group (UK) Ltd, was won by Chinook Sciences, an end-stage recycling company based on the Nottingham Science Park.

Harry Perry, Senior Vice President of Engineering, said: “We are delighted to win this award as we have been developing our industry-leading technology in the city for the past 15 years.

“Chinook Sciences is company which has innovation at its core, inventing and commercialising the world’s only Universal Gasification/Pyrolysis system which has 16 installations worldwide since 2000, with an unblemished environmental record.”

“We are delighted to be able to directly transfer the fruits of our innovations into local employment with our recent announcement of the Bulwell Energy Park development which will create over 200 jobs when completed.”

The runners-up in this category were Jelly Products Ltd and Sygnature Discovery Ltd.


Exporter of the Year

Sponsored by Morningside PharmaceuticalsThis award, sponsored by Morningside Pharmaceuticals Ltd, was won by Mansfield-based Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies, last year's Nottinghamshire's BEST business. Its owner and Managing Director Malcolm Hall said: “Exporting has played a key part in Hall-Fast’s success over the past few years and it will continue to do so in future years, so it is great that our achievements overseas have been recognised with us winning another export award.

“Our range of more than 100,000 products is unmatched in our industry. We already supply into 76 export regions and with the launch of at least 30 International websites by the end of the year I am sure that our export sales will increase rapidly.’’

The runners-up in this category were betterlanguages.com and New College Nottingham.


Commitment to People Development

Sponsored by New College NottinghamThis award, sponsored by New College Nottingham, was won by the Nottingham Belfry hotel.

General Manager Claire Steven said: “We are delighted to have been presented with this esteemed award, which recognises the emphasis we place on people development as a business. Our team is at the heart of everything we do.

“As a hotel which focuses on striving for excellence, the Nottingham Belfry is very proud to receive this award, which will join others in the trophy cabinet for 2013 including Health Club of the Year for the East Midlands and a Venue Verdict Gold award that recognises excellence in customer service in the events industry.”

The runners-up in this category were Jigsaw Support Scheme and PerCurra.


Outstanding Personal Achievement

Sponsored by The Money ShopThis award, sponsored by The Money Shop, was won by Dr Simon Hirst, founder and CEO of Sygnature Discovery. He said: “I have had the great privilege of leading my team for the past nine years through many challenges and successes and am very proud of what we have achieved together.

“I hope this award and recognition from DNCC will send a clear message as to what we can achieve in the region and in particular Nottingham.

“Thanks must go to each member of the team at Sygnature for the important role they have played in our success. This award goes to show that commitment and expertise does not go unrecognised and innovation and enterprise continues, even in a difficult climate.”

The runners-up in this category were Abigail Selwood, of Graham Penny Auctions, and Sukhi Ghuman, of Octavian Security.


The Sustainability Award

Sponsored by Responsible SolutionsThis award, sponsored by Responsible Solutions Ltd, was won by Spinelock UK. CEO Derick Wilson said: “Focus on environmental sustainability, energy performance and energy generation should be the cornerstone of all building development. A fresh approach to what are old issues has been desperately needed in the construction industry.

“Spinelock came to Nottinghamshire with aspirations of offering a real and deliverable alternative to traditional building, whilst striving to embed sustainability throughout its operations.

“At a time when affordable housing and fuel poverty are upper most in the media, the Spinelock team have delivered an innovative design and cost effective solution to the needs of home builders that will make a real difference in the market.”

The runners-up in this category were Nkono and the Nottingham Belfry.


Marketing Campaign of the Year

Sponsored by The DairyThis award, sponsored by The Dair, was won by New College Nottingham’s business-to-business team. Principal and Chief Executive Dawn Whitemore said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the Marketing Campaign of the Year award. In just eight months, our new brand and simple message has made a significant impact on the overall business taking us to the number one apprenticeship provider in Nottingham for 16–24 year olds.

“Winning this prestigious award highlights our commitment to local industry and showcase’s the college as an innovative and responsive team that understand the needs of employers.”

The runners-up in this category were Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies and the Mansfield Learning Partnership.


Sponsored by the University of Nottingham

Business of the Year

Sygnature Discovery won the overall Business of the Year award, which was chosen from the winners of the nine individual awards categories.


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