Awards championing our local businesses beating the double dip

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AS THE economy slips into a double dip recession, it is more important than ever to recognise and reward those businesses that are thriving despite the turbulent times.

And so this newspaper is proud to launch the Business Matters Awards this week, championing best practice and celebrating success in our local economy.

These awards were initially launched by the West Sussex County Times five years ago, and it is now the right time, due to their enormous popularity to extend them across our sister titles into Crawley, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and Lewes.

Editor-in-chief Gary Shipton said: “We established these business awards in Horsham and they have proved an incredible force for helping business raise its profile and celebrate success in difficult economic times.

“It seems appropriate therefore to extend them to other neighbouring communities.

“We have some fantastic firms based here that have some tremendous stories to tell.

“Never has there been a better time to share this good news and to encourage other businesses to grow, to settle here and fulfil their potential.

“This newspaper is delighted to play its part and we hope many firms will support us and each other by taking part.”

Nominations are now open for the inaugural Business Matters Awards, the headline sponsor for which is JSPC Computer Services.

The black tie ceremony, which will include evening entertainment, will take place at the Copthorne Effingham Hotel, Copthorne, West Sussex on July 20, compered by TV celebrity Fred Dinenage.

“Awards like these do so much good in the community,” said Fred.

“Thanks to newspaper business awards, I have got to meet businesses which are doing so much good work, and have become very innovative to remain successful when trading conditions are so difficult.

“Without awards like these, who would get to hear of some of the amazing work locally?

“When businesses and newspapers can work together like this, everyone wins. I’m a big supporter of these awards. They are a fantastic addition to life in local business.”

To enter your business or nominate another, fill in the form on this page and return to the address provided, or enter online at

For tickets to the exclusive event please contact Jeanette Hockley on 01243 534140

Businesses interested in further information regarding sponsorship should contact Shirley Coller on 07912 671001 or email

Download an entry form

The Categories:


The winner of this award will have shown determination, drive and passion to start and grow a successful business during tough financial times. The winner will have also demonstrated their vision to succeed and overcome many obstacles along the way.

Small Business (up to 10)

This award is open to all businesses with less than 10 employees that can demonstrate exceptional performance, growth and market leadership. 

Medium Business (10-50)

We are looking for smaller businesses which compete with the ‘big boys’ in every way – except size. The winner will need to demonstrate a good team spirit among the employees and a strong customer service ethos. Large Business (50+)

The winner will have a well-deserved excellent reputation in the community, a record of innovative measures to enhance employee relations and demonstrate a commitment to never fail to deliver on its promises and to meet – and exceed – customer expectations.

Overall Business of The Year

This prestigious award will be given by the judges to one of the winners from the business categories above. The company that carries off this award will be chosen on the basis of being the best business that has most impressed the judges that do the best for their clients, staff and community.

Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure

Award to a business that has best demonstrated exceptional financial returns, innovation, strong growth and market leadership in the field of tourism, leisure or hospitality activities.

Employer of the Year

Award for a business that has great staff relations, good staff retention, with excellent training and who cares for their employees. The best company to work for! Employee/Team of the Year

Award for an exceptional individual/team whose efforts and determination has made an exceptional contribution to a business resulting in a positive gain for the organisation

Young Business Person

By a young age, some people in business have made an indelible mark in their company in the local market, or in their trade on a national scale. The winner will be someone who can demonstrate exceptional achievement or performance within their industry.

Education and Training

Entrants for this category must be able to demonstrate how their business has improved through the training and development of staff. Judges for this category will be looking for what methods of training were offered and how the objectives were met.

Place to Eat

Restaurants, take-aways - all have a chance to be nominated in this category. We’re looking for the a worthy eatery providing great customer service from a quality environment with, of course, consistently fine food. Have fun making your choices!


Award for the retail business that can best demonstrate strong growth, an innovative approach to customer and employee relations together with creativity to enhance sales. This category is open to local independent retailers and to local units of national chains providing they can show how they have impacted on the local community and economy.

Manufacturing & Construction

Award to a company that has best demonstrated exceptional financial returns, innovation, strong growth and market leadership in the field of manufacturing and/or construction.

Going Green

Award for a businesss or organisation, irrespective of its size or sector, that can demonstrate environmental awareness and responsibility in all aspects of its work and output.


The winner – either a company or an individual - will demonstrate an exceptional ability to think outside the box, whether it is discovering better ways to work, discovering a ground-breaking product, or showing outstanding marketing abilities.

Business Personality

Outstanding businesses often require outstanding individuals with larger-than-life personalities who show drive, commitment and enthusiasm and never settle for second best, either with their products or in their relations with staff and customers. We are looking for an individual who shows tremendous commitment and innovation, with outstanding leadership and vision and the drive to deliver.

Customer Service

Award for a company who exceeds customer expectations in its service. Customer service is an essential part of any successful business. This award aims to reward and recognise a company, individual, or team, for their outstanding achievement in providing exceptional customer service. 

Lifetime Achievement

This is an award to an individual who, in the opinion of the judges, has demonstrated an unrivalled record of achievement in the area for many years, showing outstanding performance within their industry, a commitment towards their staff and who demands – and delivers - exceptional customer service.

Readers Choice

Our panel of judges always find it a tough task selecting the winners. It’s impossible to please everyone and the standard of businesses entering is always exceptionally high. So the onus will be on you to vote for your No1 business from our selected shortlist.

Our sponsors

James and the team at JSPC are delighted to be sponsoring the Business Matters Annual Awards

“It is an honour to be able to work with and support other local businesses,” said the IT services firm’s managing director. “Despite the tough economic times, it is great to see so many businesses here doing well!

“JSPC are a family run business based in Sompting. We are specialists in Education and support many West Sussex Schools. We also offer an excellent service to corporate and private clients.

“We can offer a tailored business model that strives to seek optimum efficiency and robustness within the corporate sector. We have developed a reputation for being an efficient and reliable IT provider with the ability to meet the IT needs of a wide range of corporate clients.

“We provide the day-to-day mechanics and technical support structures to meet daily demands within the business environment. Our solutions provide you with an efficient, cost effective and results driven IT, providing you with the perfect IT model for optimum performance and reliability.

“Taking a holistic approach we’re able to help you with the implementation of IT projects where requirements and priorities may change from department to department.

“Whether it is simple product supply or a complex IT overhaul JSPC has the expertise and resources to provide you with the most sophisticated systems and technologies that are affordable and accessible right now. JSPC are always looking to work with more local businesses and we will always strive to find the best solutions for you.”