Enterprise and effort were rewarded when the winners stepped up to take the applause at last night’s Examiner Business Awards.
The cream of the local business community assembled at the John Smith’s Stadium to celebrate the success of companies and individuals at the ninth Examiner Business Awards.
Trophies and certificates were presented to the winners of 10 keenly-contested categories recognising outstanding achievement in areas such as exporting, innovation, community activity and the environment.
Other trophies included ones for new businesses, employers, small and medium-sized enterprises, creative companies and inspirational young business people.
Sectors represented by the winners – drawn from a crop of high-calibre entries – included manufacturing, recruitment, retailing, training, property development and food production.
The biggest round of applause on the night went to businessman Zeb Pervaiz, director of the highly successful Huddersfield-based SKA Textiles, who was named Business Person of the Year.
The award was presented by Steven Bonfield, partner of law firm Chadwick Lawrence, which sponsored the category and is sponsor for the overall awards.
Steven said Zeb was a man with a self-confessed “addiction” to the textile industry, adding: “Zeb got his first ‘fix’ as a youngster, spending his spare time with his father and grandfather on the factory floor of the family-run business.
“Today, his passion and ambition is the driving force behind the firm which has married the town’s traditional textile heritage with modern, state-of-the-art technology. It’s a winning combination.”
Guests heard how Zeb revamped SKA’s St Thomas’ Road site to improve efficiency and production – also investing in new dyeing machinery, a new finishing plant and boosting SKA’s capabilities in colour matching and fabric testing.
The firm counts major names including the Arcadia group, Debenhams and M&S among its clients, boasts some of the most up-to-date equipment in the UK and supplies special yarns for the automotive, aerospace and medical sectors to name a few.
Zeb has also played a key role in developing property. Last year, he refurbished the former Thatcher’s furniture store to Thread Works, a 40-bed en-suite development providing top-class student accommodation.
Receiving the award, Zeb said: “This is not an award for myself, it’s an award for all the people behind me.
“I may be the main driving force in the gearbox but without my team I would not be where I am today.”
Earlier in the evening, the sell-out audience heard from guest speaker David Dein, former vice-chairman of both Arsenal FC and the Football Association. During a career at the pinnacle of the sport, he has also served as chairman of the powerful G-14 group of European football clubs and in 2010 was president of the England World Cup bid for the 2018 finals.
David told his capacity audience about the inception of the Premier League when just five clubs got together in a room and changed the game plan for football at a time when hooliganism was making the headlines – and made it the envy of the world.
He added: “We wanted to have the best show in town and last season more than 1,000 goals were scored. Every stadium was full despite the TV coverage and one in four spectators were female.”
He spoke about innovations in the game such as goal-line technology and ‘invisible paint’ which forces the players to get 10 yards back at free kicks which he had been championing since 2011.
It was used in this year’s World Cup and has now been adopted by the Premier League since the start of this season.
The 2014 competition drew many dozens of top-notch entries – posing a difficult task for the judging panel.
Other winners taking to the stage last night included Meltham and Mirfield-based contract fabrics manufacturer Camira Group Ltd which won the Fantastic Media Business of the Year Award and quirky cakes maker ProperMaid, which took the Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd SME of the Year Award.
Dave Henderson, of Direct Telecommuinications Systems Ltd, was named Kirklees College Young Business Person of the Year while Huddersfield process design specialist Manrochem Ltd lifted the trophy as HSBC International Business of the Year.
The Stafflex Community Award went to Huddersfield Town for its work through initiatives such as the Early Kick off breakfast clubs and its support for charities including Yorkshire Air Ambulance while the Kirklees Business Hub New Business of the Year was named as online childrenswear retailer IndiaCoco.
Slaithwaite-based Daval Furniture won the University of Huddersfield Innovation and Enterprise Award for its revolutionary furniture design and production system which allows bespoke items to be made “at volume”.
Wesco Aircraft Europe Ltd was named Walker Singleton Employer of the Year for its commitment to staff training and improvement.
The awards evening included a raffle for the West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice which raised around £1,500.
It was hosted by BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration.
Harry said: “These awards are the highlight of the year for business in Kirklees.
“They get better and better and it’s a real privilege to be involved in them.”