Video Loading

Good evening! We're live tonight from the John Smith's Stadium for the 2016 Examiner Business Awards.

Follow us as we crown our winners across 10 categories before announcing who has won Business Person of the Year.

Tonight's host is BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration, and referee Graham Poll is also here at the stadium as tonight's guest speaker.

Good luck to all our fantastic finalists — read all about them here:

And don't forget to join in the fun on social media by tweeting your pictures using the hashtag #EBA16.

Send us a snap and we'll use them in tonight's blog!

That's all from us!

We’ve had a fantastic night at the Business Awards - congratulations again to all of our winners.

Full coverage in tomorrow’s paper and at Examiner.co.uk.

Thank you and goodnight!

GALLERY: All of tonight's winners

WATCH: Nick Glynne accepts Business Person of the Year

Business Person of the Year: Nick Glynne, Buy It Direct

A HUGE congratulations to Nick Glynne, managing director of Buy It Direct!

Nick Glynne, Managing Director, Buy it Direct
Nick Glynne, Managing Director, Buy it Direct

A woof of approval!

Here's a clue..

Apparently, our winner went from working behind the camera... to selling cameras!

Can you guess who it is?

Congrats Cotton!

Total surprise

The winner has no idea they have been chosen!

Time for the final award of the night!

Drum roll please...

Our final award is Business Person of the Year.

No nominees for this one - just one winner!

Business of the Year: John Cotton Group!

Congratulations to John Cotton Group Limited!

John Cotton of John Cotton Ltd. Nunbrook Mills, Mirfield.
John Cotton of John Cotton Ltd. Nunbrook Mills, Mirfield.

More about our winner:

A family-owned company is celebrating a century of excellence in the textile industry.

John Cotton Group, founded in 1916 and based at Huddersfield Road, Mirfield, is a leading manufacturer of pillows, duvets and mattress protectors – with the goal of perfecting its products to make sure the public get a good night’s sleep.

Its home textiles division specialises in making pillows and duvets as well as items such as mattress toppers with operations in Mirfield, Wigan, Poland and China. The site in Mirfield supplies more than 40% of the UK’s pillow and duvet needs.

The group’s non-woven division specialises in bed and mattress components for a wide range of bed manufacturers as well as making insulation products used in DIY and construction and sound insulation used in cars.

John Cotton owns filled bedding brands Slumberdown and Snuggledown and at the Mirfield site alone employs more than 620 people.

During its centenary year, the group set a target of raising £100,000 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Macmillan Cancer Support, Kirkwood Hospice, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and York Cancer Care. The events, including a bike ride from Poland to Mirfield, meant the target was hit in just six months.

More winners

Time to celebrate!

Penultimate award now!

Our penultimate award for the evening is Business of the Year.

Business of the Year nominees Valli Opticians (top left), Specialist Glass Products Ltd and John Cotton Group
Business of the Year nominees Valli Opticians (top left), Specialist Glass Products Ltd and John Cotton Group

The nominees are:

  • Specialist Glass Products Limited
  • John Cotton Group Limited
  • Valli Opticians

Read all about them here

International Business of the Year: Pet Brands Limited

Congratulations to Pet Brands Limited!

Pet Brands Limited
Pet Brands Limited

More about our winner:

A company providing pet products has expanded to open offices in China and India as well as a warehouse in Asia.

Birstall-based Pet Brands Ltd designs, develops and manufactures pet accessories and treats and holds a vast range of exclusive licences, such as Hello Kitty, Me to You and RAC Pets in Transit.

The business, which was acquired in 2009 by brothers Sunny and Ravi Sharma and has 32 employees, has now registered and established 34 trademarks and patents and develops products under private label for national retailers.

The business has increased sales year-on-year. It was 22nd in the list of the fastest growing export companies for 2015 by the Sunday Times and 35th in the 2016 Sunday Times Export Fast Track ratings. It has also won an award for being the top performer in Yorkshire.

The company acquired its multi-million pound headquarters Gelderd Road in February this year – a year in which export sales have risen by 62% – with the firm entering new markets including Japan and South Korea. Pet Brands Ltd now trades in 58 countries while sales of licensed products are also increasing in countries such as China and Brazil. It also holds 34 trademarks and patents covering countries from the USA to Australia.

Proud moment

Next: International Business of the Year

Our next award is International Business of the Year.

Leach director Jim Parkin (left) with managing director Richard Leach
Leach director Jim Parkin (left) with managing director Richard Leach

The nominees are:

  • Pet Brands Limited
  • Leach (pictured)
  • Lancereal Limited

Read all about them here

SME of the Year: The Pink Link!

Congratulations!

The Pink Link's managing director Richard Allen with sales and commercial director Vicki Davenport (right); sales, marketing and charity co-ordinaor Beverley Sheldon and company mascot Pinky Lynx at the firm's 25th anniversary celebration
The Pink Link's managing director Richard Allen with sales and commercial director Vicki Davenport (right); sales, marketing and charity co-ordinaor Beverley Sheldon and company mascot Pinky Lynx at the firm's 25th anniversary celebration

More about our winner:

It’s been a massive year for Oakes-based logistics business The Pink Link.

The family-owned company, originally known as SBH Express Services, is celebrating 25 years in business. The firm, which employs 45 people, marked the occasion with a family fun day at its Crosland Road headquarters.

The Pink Link attributes its success to providing its customers with “an unrivalled degree of personalised service”.

Its drive to put service excellence at the heart of its business became a reality in 1996 when The Pink Link became part of the Palletways (UK) Ltd national distribution network.

The firm has also attained ISO9000 and achieved Platinum Status within Palletways over the past seven years in recognition of a consistently excellent performance, compliance and commitment across a set of key measures – and it enjoys a high client retention rate.

Embracing information technology through Palletways has played a key part in enhancing operational efficiency while an online track and trace system provides customers with access to information about the progress of their consignments at the click of a mouse.

The Pink Link has also relaunched its European service in association with Palletways, since when it has seen a significant increase in demand from customers shipping to 18 countries including Poland, Czech republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia.

Director Vicki Davenport has been shortlisted for two national awards recognising her contribution to UK business – featuring in two categories of the Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards.

The firm also rates CSR highly – raising thousands of pounds for local charities.

Vicki said: “Having traded successfully for 25 years, the business is still ambitious and determined to keep investing in fleet, IT, staff facilities and people.”

Just to say...

The lovely staff at the John Smith’s Stadium were kind enough to bring the Examiner editorial team, covering tonight’s awards, some dessert and coffee!

Lush.

Dessert at the Examiner Business Awards 2016
Dessert at the Examiner Business Awards 2016

Next up: SME of the Year

Our next award is SME of the Year.

Dan Bamforth, managing director of Towndoor, Meltham.
Dan Bamforth, managing director of Towndoor, Meltham.

The nominees are:

  • Karmelle Ltd
  • Towndoor Ltd (pictured)
  • The Pink Link Ltd

Read all about them here

Young Business Person of the Year - Simon Iwaniszak

Congratulations to Simon, of Red Kite Games!

Red Kite Games: (bottom from left) Andrew Wiley, Jonathan Lilley, Anthony Morris, (top from left) Aidan Ward and ?MD Simon Iwaniszak.
Red Kite Games: (bottom from left) Andrew Wiley, Jonathan Lilley, Anthony Morris, (top from left) Aidan Ward and ?MD Simon Iwaniszak.

More about our winner:

Simon Iwaniszak has built a video game development company that has quickly built up an enviable reputation in the industry.

He launched Red Kite Games in 2012 aged 27 with an initial team of three developers. Now the company, which is based at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre in Huddersfield, has more than 15 employees and has developed award-winning video games for a variety of different platform holders, studios and publishers in the UK and overseas as well as releasing its own video games worldwide.

Simon has assembled a team which includes personnel who have been instrumental in producing some of the biggest titles of the past 20 years for the likes of Rockstar, Activision, Sony, EA, Codemasters and Sumo Digital.

He said: “I have managed to build a team who have a vast experience and skill set, working in crucial roles on award-winning titles such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption.

“Red Kite Games continues to work on big IP and multi-million dollar franchises and has helped to deliver seven different video games over the past 12 months.

“In collaboration with GameDigits, a fellow Yorkshire video games studio, we successfully released Dream Machine on IOS, Android and Windows.

“The video game received critical reviews of four stars and above.”

Simon said the company continued to provide opportunities for young graduates, offering full-time employment with three new hires who graduated from the University of Huddersfield. During term time, Simon gives the university half a day of his time each week to work with staff and students.

Simon said the company also prioritised staff welfare to ensure a healthy work-life balance by operating flexi-time, encouraging staff to keep fit.

He added: “I’ve managed to grow Red Kite Games to the biggest video games developer in Huddersfield and we continue to expand.”

Next award: Young Business Person of the Year

Our next award is for Young Business Person of the year.

Young Business Person of the Year Simon Simon Iwaniszak of Red Kite Games (with colleagues, top left), James Howard of Yorkshire Payments Ltd and Katie Mallinson of Scriba PR
Young Business Person of the Year Simon Simon Iwaniszak of Red Kite Games (with colleagues, top left), James Howard of Yorkshire Payments Ltd and Katie Mallinson of Scriba PR

The nominees are:

  • Katie Mallinson: Scriba PR
  • Simon Iwaniszak - Red Kite Games Ltd
  • James Howard - Yorkshire Payments

Read all about them here

Round of applause for Hands Off HRI founder Karl Deitch

He’s at the awards tonight!

Save HRI campaigners outside 10 Downing Street with the petition against closure. Campaign founder Karl Deitch (centre) with campaigers and three MPs - Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney (right), Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff (second right) and Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman next to Karl.
Save HRI campaigners outside 10 Downing Street with the petition against closure. Campaign founder Karl Deitch (centre) with campaigers and three MPs - Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney (right), Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff (second right) and Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman next to Karl.

Welcome back!

We’re back to it - hope everyone enjoyed their dinner!

Cream cracker challenge!

WATCH: The story so far

Badum-tisch

#selfie

5 more awards to go!

Group shot!

'All that is good about local businesses'