THEY’RE the best in business.
That’s the team at Hart Biologicals, who were crowned as Hartlepool’s champions of industry last night.
Nearly 400 people watched as the winners of the Hartlepool Business Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony in the Borough Hall.
Managing director Alby Pattison looked stunned as he took to the stage – cheered every step of the way.
He said: “This is a very big surprise.
“It is certainly the last thing I expected from tonight as there are so many good businesses in Hartlepool.”
Every prizewinner was greeted warmly but there was rapturous applause as the team from Hart Biologicals got on the stage en-masse to be declared overall winners.
The company, based on the Queens Meadow Business Park, is a specialist in diagnostics for the medical sector.
Mr Pattison added: “It is so fantastic to be recognised.”
But the Business of the Year title was not the only one to be collected by the 10-year-old specialist medical firm.
It also won the Innovation and Technology sector on a night when 11 awards were handed out.
The number of entrants for this year’s awards were up by 12 per cent on last year, with 73 companies entering compared to 66 last year.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright was the guest speaker for the night and told the town’s entrepreneurs: “I have been inspired by tonight. In difficult economic times, you are providing hope.
“You have drive, passion and creativity. The message that I have taken from tonight is that Hartlepool is well and truly open for business.”
Awards organiser John Megson said it was down to a superb support network that the awards were continuing to thrive. He praised the “tenacity” of the business people of Hartlepool for surviving and thriving in difficult economic times.
On an emotional night, the category winners covered a wide spectrum of business life in Hartlepool from the traditional Retailer of the Year through to the victors in the Innovation and Technology section.
Each firm was roundly acknowledged on a night when other winners were honoured in sectors covering community, tourism and leisure, most promising new business, service, manufacturer of the year, exporter and environment.
The winner of the Hartlepool Mail-sponsored Community category was Gus Robinson Developments Ltd. The award was collected by Judith Robinson who said her late husband Gus, who founded the firm, “would have been amazingly proud”.
Eight other category winners also collected prizes.
● See Tuesday’s Hartlepool Mail for a 12-page supplement filled with reactions from the winners.