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East Midlands Chamber News

Metalfacture named Leicestershire Business of the Year at East Midlands Chamber Business Awards

Metalfacture founder Ben Jones-Fenleigh

Metalfacture, a manufacturer that has transformed its business from being a solely domestic trader to an exporting success story, has been crowned the Leicestershire Business of the Year by East Midlands Chamber.

The Wigston-based company – which now sends deliveries to more than 54 countries worldwide, with exports accounting for about half of sales – also won the Excellence in International Trade category and Outstanding Growth Award at the Leicestershire Business Awards, which was held today (Friday 3 December) in conjunction with the Chamber’s annual Christmas Lunch.

Founder Ben Jones-Fenleigh started the company as a sheet metal work sub-contractor but diversified over the past few years to make its own products. It has used its wealth of manufacturing knowledge to create innovative displays used in shops that increase brand awareness and impulse sales, with a specialism in beverages, small convenience stores and petrol forecourts. Customers include Heineken, Molston Coors, Asda and Sainsbury’s.

The Leicestershire Business Awards, held in partnership with headline sponsor Mazars, recognised winners across 13 categories, ranging from Business Improvement Through Technology and Environmental Impact Award within an organisation to individual honours for Entrepreneur of the Year and Apprentice of the Year. There were new categories this year for Collaboration Project of the Year and Excellence in Innovation.

Excellence in Collaboration winner Leisa Nichols-Drew (centre) with Fraser Stretton owners Jaz Kaur and Narinder Nijjar

Finalists, chosen by a judging panel of the Chamber’s senior leadership and board of directors, as well as sponsors, discovered their fate during a gala dinner attended by hundreds of people at Leicester Tigers’ Mattioli Woods Welford Road stadium – marking a return for face-to-face celebrations after being held virtually last year.

Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, said: “There has been so much to celebrate within our business community despite a challenging 18 months and these awards have showcased some of the incredible companies that call our region home.

“As the economic recovery continues, and new opportunities present themselves in a new era of global trade and sustainable business, these are just the kinds of organisations we should be highlighting when we’re shouting about everything the East Midlands has to offer. We know it’s a great place to do business and these are living proof.

“We received so many high-calibre applications, which demonstrated how the pandemic hasn’t been a period in which we have just stood still. Instead, the time afforded for reflection has led to many companies seeking out new opportunities, innovating and driving themselves forward.

Scott Knowles

“While last year offered us a different kind of experience in a virtual awards ceremony, it was great to be back holding such a landmark event for the Nottinghamshire business calendar in person once more. Once again, we are so thankful to our sponsors for making this event so successful.”

The Leicestershire Business Awards – one of three awards hosted by the Chamber, along with Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – were hosted by comedian Dom Woodward.

A raffle was held to raise funds for East Midlands Chamber president Eileen Richards MBE’s three chosen charities this year – Chesterfield Samaritans, Help the Homeless Leicester and Nottinghamshire Hospice. 

Eileen, who owns Leicester-based ER Recruitment, gave a speech in which she explained how much the city where she has always lived means to her, as well as its strong entrepreneurial community – with four and a half businesses for every 100 residents, and 85% of those companies having fewer than nine employees.

She also referenced the economic opportunities on the horizon, with Leicestershire securing £54m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to back projects including Pioneer Park, Pilot House and the remodelling of the city’s railway station.

Eileen Richards MBE

Commenting on the awards, she added: “During my year as president, I’ve been privileged to witness some of the amazing success stories that don’t always receive the wider recognition they ought to, so I’m thrilled to see some of these come to the fore at East Midlands Chamber’s Business Awards.

“The Leicestershire Business Awards has shone the spotlight on some well-deserving winners from my hometown’s thriving entrepreneurial community, but I’d also like to congratulate the finalists for their outstanding entries too as we had some really strong competition across many categories this year.

“Metalfacture is a very worthy winner of the Leicestershire Business of the Year and shows just what can be achieved by having the boldness of ambition to diversify into new products and markets.

“British manufacturing’s badge of quality will be at the heart of our economic recovery and post-Brexit global trading relationships, so it’s really encouraging to see one of Leicestershire’s own flying the flag across the world, from Japan to the USA.”

For more information on the Leicestershire Business Awards, visit www.emc-dnl.co.uk/businessawards2021/leicestershire.

 

Winners of Leicestershire Business Awards – headline sponsored by Mazars

From left: Metalfacture founder Ben Jones-Fenleigh with Bob Johnson and Steve English, partners at Leicestershire Business of the Year sponsor Mazars

 

Business Improvement Through Technology – Sponsored by De Montfort University

Winner

Due Diligence Checking

 

Finalists

Kitking

North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College

Steps Conductive Education Centre

 

Community Impact Award – Sponsored by emh group

Winner

Zinthiya Trust

 

Finalists

Alex’s Wish

Charity Link

Hope Against Cancer

Shama Women’s Centre

 

Outstanding Growth Award – Sponsored by Morningside Pharmaceuticals

Winner

Metalfacture

 

Finalists

Loughborough Finance for Sport

Jake & Nayns

Myonex

Pattersons Commercial Law

 

Environmental Impact Award – Sponsored by Cambridge & Counties Bank

Winner

Abacus Flooring Solutions

 

Finalists

Go Travel Solutions

Michael Smith Switchgear

PacWolf

 

Commitment to People Development Award – Sponsored by De Montfort University

Winner

Precision Facilities Management

 

Finalists

Alex’s Wish

Noble Events

Pick Everard

REAL Education

 

Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Loughborough College

Winner

James Cook – C S Ellis Group

 

Finalists

Millie Clayton – Almac Group

Emily-Rose Moore – Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council

Chloe Grantham – Paragon Sales Solutions

Alice Deeping – Unsworth Sugden Group

 

Entrepreneur of the Year – Sponsored by Leicester Business Festival

Winner

Brij Thankey – Precision Facilities Management

 

Finalists

Jaz Kaur and Narinder Nijjar – Fraser Stretton Estate Agents

Satwinder Sidhu - Paradigm Wills and Legal Services

Navroop Kaur – Prime Casual

Alex Slack – The House of LM

 

Education and Business Partnership Award – Sponsored by Blueprint Interiors

Winner

MIRA Technology Institute

 

Finalists

De Montfort University – Small Business Leadership Programme

Loughborough College

North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College

REAL Education

 

Excellence in Customer Service – Sponsored by ER Recruitment

Winner

Furnley House

 

Finalists

Glenfield Electrical

Growth Partners

Kazzoo

Paradigm Wills and Legal Services

 

Excellence in International Trade – Sponsored by HSBC

Winner

Metalfacture

 

Finalists

A Mistry

Worldwide Express (UK)

 

Small Business of the Year – Sponsored by PPL PRS

Winner

Your Tender Team

 

Finalists

Arthur Civil Engineering

Charnwood Regency Guest House

Precision Facilities Management

We Love Surveys

 

Excellence in Innovation – Sponsored by RSM

Winner

Structural Adhesives

 

Finalists

Access Rating

Penny Price Aromatherapy

Printvision (UK)

 

Excellence in Collaboration – Sponsored by Fraser Stretton Estate Agents

Winner

De Montfort University – Round-tip Knives

 

Finalists

Alex’s Wish

Creative62

Joined-Up Working Associates

Leicestershire Cares

 

Business of the Year – Sponsored by Mazars

Winner

Metalfacture

 

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