2014 National Business Award finalists announced

Some of the shortlisted finalists include WPP, OVO Energy, Bulldog Skincare for Men, IKEA and Belu Water. They represent categories including the Smith & Williamson Entrepreneur of the Year, Santander Small to Medium-Sized Business of the Year and the Inflexion International Growth Business of the Year.

Geographically and industrially diverse – the finalists cover activities including retail, advertising, technology and energy. While just over 40 per cent are based in London and the South East, the majority are spread across the UK – with Bristol, Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge and Stoke-on-Trent particularly well represented.

Of the businesses shortlisted, 24 per cent turnover under £5m, 26 per cent turnover between £5m and £25m, 15 per cent over a billion and 10 per cent not for profit organisations. The smallest business recognised has a turnover of just £23k with the largest reaching £20 billion. The multi-nationals shortlisted for the QBE FTSE 100 Business of the Year collectively generate £60billion of revenue globally. With finalists overall employing over 850,000 people, the smallest has just one member of full time staff while the largest employs around 165,000 people globally. They have all been selected for the shortlist based on strict criteria focusing on customer service, ethics, innovation, growth, leadership, financial performance and staff engagement.

Dame Helen Alexander, Chair of Judges for the National Business Awards said: “These finalists represent some of the most innovative and inspiring businesses, entrepreneurs and social enterprises the UK has to offer. In my role as Chair of Judges I’m always interested to see what the finalists are doing differently to stand out in their fields, and this year we have some fantastic examples of success. I’m looking forward to seeing them through the ‘Dragon’s Den’ style judging events.”

Alex Evans, Programme Director of the National Business Awards said: “The diversity and quality of this year’s finalists have firmly established the National Business Awards as the talent scout for UK plc, with market leading household names recognised alongside the best emerging business brands. With a variety of industries represented, these recovery-leading businesses have demonstrated the return on investment in people, innovation, customer service and leadership.”

Finalists will make live presentations to a multi-disciplinary panel of judges who will decide the overall winner for each award category, to be announced at the National Business Awards ceremony this November.

The Leader of the Year finalists and Decade of Excellence winner will be announced over the coming months. The Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year finalists were announced last month following a judging event in Liverpool; they include Emma Cerrone, Free:Formers, Alistair Smit, The Magic Thermodynamic Box, Ben Weaver, Outlook Publishing Ltd, Kathryn Birch, Translive Global and Jay Radia, Yieldify. A public vote to decide the winner will close on 31st July. Videos of the five finalist pitches can be seen at www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk/Content/Finalists.

Visit www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk for a full list of all finalists and to book a table at the ceremony.

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