Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards recognise enterprise, innovation and excellence

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Recognising and rewarding the city’s enterprise, innovation and excellence is back in business, with the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards planned to become an annual event.

More than 500 people packed the ballroom at The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at stadium:mk on Thursday for a night of celebration and surprises hosted by BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull.

Highlights included the naming of elevating work platform manufacturer

Niftylift Ltd as Business of the Year and a special Lifetime Achievement Award to the team principal of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team Christian Horner.

His appearance on stage followed a dash across Milton Keynes after the presentation of the Freedom of the Borough to Red Bull by Milton Keynes Council earlier in the evening.

The Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Brian White, and Council Leader, Councillor Andrew Geary, attended the start of the Business Achievement Awards, were driven back to the Civic Offices for the Freedom ceremony and then back to stadium:mk to be part of the biggest night in the business community.

Guests were welcomed by Dr Philip Smith, chairman of Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership, who with Nicholas Mann, managing director of full service agency Interdirect, reinstated an annual business awards event in the city.

Mr Smith said Milton Keynes was leading the UK out of recession and is the envy of the region.

“I think we can be permitted to pause and celebrate and reward success,” he said, adding that the evening would be low on speeches but high on entertainment and having fun.

He thanked the awards’ sponsors and the more than 100 business who submitted entries.

Christian Horner accepted the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for the major contribution he and Red Bull had made in advancing engineering and technology in the city while promoting Milton Keynes on the national and world stage.

Mr Horner joked about his casual attire at the black tie event saying it was ‘an Australian-style DJ’ and that he hoped the Freedom of the Borough meant no more parking tickets. The comment was reference to a Citizen story about a Red Bull car which was ‘slapped with a parking ticket’ when displayed at the Civic Offices ahead of the event.

Niftylift Ltd was named ‘winner of winners’ as Business of the Year sponsored by The Open

University. The firm was founded in 1985 and moved to Milton Keynes with just two employees. It now employs more than 250, designing, developing and manufacturing their distinctive green elevating work platforms and with a global customer base.

The award winners were:

> Community Impact sponsored by MK Business Leaders Partnership - MK Dons Sports and Education Trust

> Construction & Built Environment sponsored by Milton Keynes Development Partnership - Places for People

> Design & Creativity sponsored by MK Dons - Walters Snowdon Advertising

> Retail Business sponsored by centre:mk Milton Keynes - John Lewis

> Logistics & Distribution sponsored by DHL - Worldwide Logistics & Distribution

> Hospitality & Leisure sponsored by Milton Keynes College - The Stables

> Professional Practice sponsored by Sheen Kay Sheens MK - PJ Care

> International Trade sponsored by Evolution - Niftylift Litd

> Environmental & Corporate Sustainability sponsored by Cranfield University - Milton Keynes Council

> Enterprise & Innovation sponsored by PriceWaterhouseCoopers – Klood/

Between awards Bill Turnbull kept the audience laughing with anecdotes from his broadcasting career including some on-air gaffes. He also joked with MK Dons’ chairman Pete Winkelman about the time he visited stadiummk and was the victim of a dive-bombing pigeon!

Entertainer Graham Jolley amused and intrigued by doing some amazing tricks with numbers, watches and some snooker balls.

Among the guests was Robert Rusin who designed the distinctive award trophies sponsored by Destination Milton Keynes.

Closing the evening, both Nicholas Mann and Dr Philip Smith took to the stage to explain how, in partnership, they had tried to do something different with the event and had succeeded, producing a fantastic night for Milton Keynes.

In his closing speech, Nicholas said: “We intend to make it even better for next year.”

For slideshow click here