BUSINESSES bucking the trend to boost profits, sales and jobs took centre stage at an awards event in Huddersfield.
More than 200 leading figures from the business community attended the 17th annual Business of the Year Awards run by Huddersfield law firm Eaton Smith.
And a firm making and supplying high-class horse trailers for some of the world’s leading showjumpers galloped away with the top honour at the event, which was held at the Cedar Court Hotel, Ainley Top.
Tom Janion, managing director of Meltham Equi-Trek was presented with the award by Kirklees mayor Clr David Ridgway and Eaton Smith partners Andrew Sugden and Deborah Melluish.
Runners-up were Shepley-based camper van conversion firm Wellhouse Leisure and Lockwood glazing specialist Novaglaze.
They were judged the award winners from 12 monthly recipients of the Eaton Smith Business of the Month competition.
Mr Janion said Equi-Trek, which employs about 170 people, had begun exporting to Australia and New Zealand and was looking further ahead to trading in the USA.
The family-run company, which lists top eventers Nicola Wilson and showjumpers Michael and John Whitaker and Robert Smith among its clients has also launched Moto-Trek to provide trailers for the motor sports industry.
Mr Janion said winning the award was down to the hard work of the company’s employees.
He said: “Everyone tends to moan about how hard things are in the economy. But the finalists here prove that there are still opportunities out there and things are not all doom and gloom.”
Wellhouse Leisure was recognised for its success in teaming up with major manufacturer Hyundai while Novaglaze was commended for success in its niche market supplying curved glass and investing in new equipment.
Other finalists included companies in sectors as diverse as manufacturing, marketing, recruitment and health and safety.
Guests at the awards also heard from Oliver North, managing director of Brockholes-based firefighting equipment supplier North Fire, which was named Business of the Year in 2011.
He said: “Huddersfield is a cracking place for business. Having read about the achievements of the monthly winners makes me glad that we entered the competition last year!”
Since winning the award, North Fire has boosted turnover from £690,000 for the whole of its last financial year to £1.7m for the first six months of the current financial year.
Mr Sugden said: “Despite these times of austerity, there are green shoots of recovery and we can be positive about the future.
“Honest endeavour and good practice, commitment and flair can buck the economic trend and show that growth is achievable.”
Guests at the award ceremony included Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney and representatives of government export support arm UKTI and the Lockwood-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, which partners Eaton Smith in the competition.