2023 Oldham Business Awards launch marks 15TH anniversary

THE 2023 Oldham Business Awards are officially underway!

And this year marks the 15th anniversary of the awards which has become one of the biggest events of its kind in the Greater Manchester region.

Not only recognising and rewarding excellence and entrepreneurialism among the business community, the awards also celebrate the contribution Oldham businesses make to the social fabric of its communities including raising over £50,000 for local charities during its tenure.

With the application process declared open on May 15, businesses and entrepreneurial individuals across the borough are now invited to enter the prestigious event – honouring home-grown wealth creation, innovation, inspirational leadership, skills development, environmental aspects and a whole host of other worthy attributes.

Last year’s winners take to the stage at the QE Hall to celebrate their success including Special Recognition Award recipient Frank Rothwell. Photo by Mike Lawrence

The launch kicks off a four-month nomination and judging process which will culminate in a glittering gala dinner on September 22 at Oldham’s iconic Queen Elizabeth Hall.

This year’s host is yet to be announced but the event is renowned for attracting celebrities from the world of TV and broadcasting. In recent years it has been graced by comedians / actors Romesh Ranganathan, Rory Bremner, John Culshaw, John Thompson and TV presenter Louise Minchin.

This year’s milestone anniversary sees a brand-new category, Workforce Health and Wellbeing, added to the 11-strong line-up which includes Business of the Year over £5M, Start-up Business of the Year, Community Engagement and the Supporting Young People Award.

The Foresight team with their Supporting Young People Award – left to right, Nick Butterworth, Taylor Hodgkinson, Grigory Derkats, Ged Tod, Jim Caffrey, Craig Barratt, Jack Healy, Tom Gabbat, Danny Martin. Photo by Mike Lawrence

The award recognises a business’s effective and impactful commitment to the health and wellbeing of their workforce, actively fostering an environment in which employees can flourish and succeed.

It will be sponsored by Oldham Community Leisure (OCL).

Stalwart sponsors who have supported the event since its inception in 2008, continue their support including Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers, New Image and Oldham Council.

Get Oldham Working and Rowan Ashworth Ltd are this year’s headline sponsors alongside Oldham Council.

Oldham-based agency Cornerstone Design and Marketing – shortlisted as a finalist in the 2018 and 2019 awards – is this year’s media and marketing partner and continues its ongoing website sponsorship.

Frank Rothwell receiving his Special Recognition Award from Oldham businessman, philanthropist and stalwart OBA supporter, Sir Norman Stoller, with ITV’s Caroline Whitmore. Photo by Mike Lawrence

The awards are always a highlight in the borough’s social calendar, annually selling out to around 600 guests, who enjoy a drinks reception, a pre-show casino, awards ceremony and dance-fuelled after-party.

There’s also entertainment featuring an exciting mix of performances from young people representing the borough.

Last year’s event was particularly special, seeing a welcome return following a three-year break due to Covid restrictions.

Highlights included the presentation of the prestigious Special Recognition Award to Oldham Athletic Football Club co-owner and chairman Frank Rothwell, a long-standing supporter and founder of the multi-million-pound company Manchester Cabins.

One of the event’s chosen charities is Mahdlo Youth Zone – a charity dedicated to providing fun and affordable opportunities to those aged eight to 19 and disabled young people and adults up to 25.

The Oldham Business Awards at the QE Hall.

The award’s other worthy cause is Dr Kershaw’s Hospice which provides free specialist end-of-life and palliative care for adults with life-limiting illnesses in and around Oldham.

Speaking on behalf of 2022’s Supporting Young People Award winner, Foresight IT Services, director Craig Barratt said as an Oldhamer born and bred, hailing from some of the town’s most deprived areas, winning the award was both personal and aspirational.

“I was born in Glodwick, my parents are from Limeside and Alt Estate and because of my own background, I can relate to how hard it can be to get a job, let alone a well-paid job, and that is the main aspiration when you don’t have qualifications and the same opportunities,” said Craig.

“Because of my own personal experience, I’m very big on supporting young people in Oldham and try to employee as many people from Oldham as possible, whether that’s through the apprenticeship route, college leavers or people struggling to get into a career.

“It’s about trying to give people tangible skills towards a long-term career in an industry that’s typically higher paid. We try to employ local and upskill people to reach a higher salary which isn’t just great for them, it goes back into the Oldham economy and keeps the Oldham pound ticking over.

“People in Oldham struggle to get good jobs unless they have a decent background and qualifications. I didn’t have a lot of qualifications leaving school, my aspirations were quite low until I started working at PC World on Elk Mill and understanding that my transferrable skills such as communication were valuable.

“So, winning this award is great recognition of what we’re trying to achieve. Yes, it’s given us more exposure among other businesses and customers but it really says everything about the focus of what we do.

Judging begins in July and, following a rigorous selection process, the steering group panel visit shortlisted businesses ahead of choosing three contenders for each category.

The steering group also selects three nominees for the non-entered Special Recognition Award, choosing candidates who they feel have gone above and beyond across a series of criteria.

Local businesses can find out more about being part of this spectacular celebration and enter the awards through the official Oldham Business Awards website 

They can also keep up-to-date with the latest Oldham Business Awards news on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn

The deadline for nominations is June 23.

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