It was quite a week standing on my feet: two closing speeches at Esomar, the world research conference in Nice, and in Paris for an alumni event at the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools Insead, followed on Friday night being ringmaster for the Be Inspired Business Awards staged by the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and rigorously supported by the Lancaster University Management School where I am Honorary Professor of Creative Leadership.

It was a home turf event though I did underestimate my “sure I’ll help out” offer. This was no walk in the park: 1,000 passionate people in the audience, a stage in the round, almost three hours on show, over 140 finalists from 1,231 entries and 19 award winners. Phew!

The North West is a proud region full of enterprising businesses and exporters. Among my favorite winners were:

  • Chelsom of Blackpool who won both Creative Business of the Year and Exporter of the Year – since 1947 Chelsom has designed and created quality decorative hotel lighting, cruise ship lighting and lighting for commercial contracts worldwide (if you’ve been to Ian Schrager’s Berners Tavern you’ll know the sort of ambience they create);
  • Business Woman of the Year: Janet Thornton, Inspired Energy (Kirkham), the fastest growing energy consultancy in the UK with over 1500 clients and over 7.6 billion kWh managed annually.
  • The Foxton Centre (Preston) who won Most Inspiring Business of the Year. They have been working with rough sleepers, street sex workers, young people, people with alcohol abuse issues and other people in the community who need our support for over 40 years.
  • Lancastrian of the Year: Eric Wright, Eric Wright Group (Bamber Bridge), a leader within the building industry with services from construction and civil engineering, to property development and facilities management.

See write-ups of the event by Norman Tenray and Simon Dalley.

Take it away North West!

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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