North East


The North East FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards in 2019 were a great success, both for FSB and for small businesses across our Area - and our 2020 Awards look to be even better!  Three of our North East winners went on to win at the UK Finals in 2019 which raised awareness of them at a UK level and generated publicity which money really cannot buy!

Our finalists for 2020 have now been announced and will be invited to attend our area finals event on the afternoon of Monday 16 March at the tremendous Newcastle Eagles Community Arena where the ‘best in class’ across all categories for the North East in 2020 will be crowned.  Win there and you will be through to the UK finals for a shot at the UK title in your chosen category or categories.

We know that there are some shining stars out there in the North East business community, but there are also others not yet on the radar who deserve the limelight.  We look forward to welcoming our finalists at the ceremony in March and giving them the recognition they deserve.

TICKET SALES OPENS 5 FEBRUARY 2020 (closing date for tickets 28 February 2020)
TICKET COST FOR ATTENDING AREA FINAL £45 per person (includes 2 course lunch) 


Date: Monday 16 March 2020

Venue address:
Newcastle Eagles Arena, Eagles Community Arena, Scotswood Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 7AF

Registration from 12.00 noon.
Lunch and awards ceremony from
12.30 to 4.00pm and networking
up to 5.00pm

Dress code:
Business Attire



EVENT HOST: Charlotte Windebank

Charlotte is a trustee of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and co-founder of FIRST (, a skills provider and network of services committed to connecting young people, professionals and startups to their wider business community. She is the contract manager for FIRST’s education and business engagement activities and works with universities, colleges and schools to deliver business skill programmes to equip learners with the confidence they need to kickstart a career or business. She directs the If We Can You Can Challenge: a startup business competition that works in partnership with national and local, private and public sector organisations to engage and give much needed publicity to early stage businesses across the North East: Charlotte also sits on the North East Women’s Leadership Advisory Board for Newcastle University Business School where she influences, shares best practise and disrupts the status quo for women to advance as leaders.



Our 2019 winners were:

Employer of the Year winner:
Bright & Beautiful

Community Award - Area only winner:
Green Shift Educational Services Limited 


Micro Business of the Year winner:
Sagetech Machinery LTD

Family Business of the Year winner: 
DRAKE - The Bookshop


Scale-Up Business of the Year winner:
Flame Heating Group

Ethical - Green Business of the Year winner:
Green Energy Consulting


Start-Up Business of the Year winner:
Leda Transport Solutions Ltd

Young Entrepreneur of the Year (aged 30 and under) winner:
Bumble and Bloom Media


International Business of the Year winner: 
Crafter's Companion

Digital Innovation Award winner: 
Ocucon Ltd


Business & Product Innovation Award winner: 
AVID Technology Group Ltd

Business & Product Innovation Awards

B&B Attachments Ltd
Established for 40 years, B&B Attachments Ltd is the leading fork lift truck attachment company in the UK and Ireland. B&B pride itself on providing the most comprehensive range of attachments available from one provider. This includes solutions for ancillary systems, such as cameras and weighing systems from leading manufacturers, such as KAUP, Liftek and MoTec, whist also designing and manufacturing bespoke, specialist attachments in-house for customers with unique requirements.

Marmax Products Ltd
Marmax Products Ltd manufacture a range of outdoor products; from picnic benches and seating, play equipment and planters, to fencing, boardwalk and dog agility equipment, all made from 100% recycled plastic, which was once milk containers. The products are maintenance free, do not rot, corrode or splinter and are guaranteed for a minimum of 25 years. To date, Marmax Products have saved over 1/2 billion milk containers from landfill and our oceans; and this number is increasing year on year.

Evolution Forwarding Ltd
Evolution Forwarding, founded by husband and wife team Terry and Amanda Goldspink, are a small privately-owned UK freight forwarder, that predominantly provide niche services based around the movement of dangerous goods. The dangerous goods sector is not the easiest market to stand out in, but it is one of the most important. What they do can impact the safety of crews, passengers, the general public and the environment. With legislation becoming more stringent, the products they move are often avoided by the general logistics community.

International Business of the Year

Solar Solve Ltd
Solar Solve, established in 1988, manufactures the world’s leading brand of high performance retractable anti-glare roller screens for windows on ships, in crane cabs and ATC towers. The original company was founded by the current Chairman John Lightfoot MBE and wife Lilian in 1975. Exports account for +80% of sales to more than 100 countries including Japan, S.Korea, China, USA, Netherlands and Singapore. The SOLASOLV brand is the only brand of anti-glare screen worldwide to be Type Approved by Lloyd's, DNV-GL, ABS and RINA. Solar Solve is certified to ISO 9001:2015. 168,000+ screens have been supplied to 17,500+ vessels to-date.

ZeroLight is a 3D visualisation specialist offering a globally scalable, cloud-based car-configuration and content-creation platform that establishes competitive advantages by enhancing digital touchpoints throughout the automotive shopping journey. Optimised for efficiency and speed to market, this agile platform uses cloud-based rendering to scale the company’s industry-leading 3D visualisation technology worldwide via solutions that drive engagement, higher specification sales, and lower content-production costs. These award-winning solutions are currently in use by multiple automotive OEMs around the world, including Audi, Lamborghini, and Cadillac, with several more soon to be announced.

Environmental Award

Cross Lanes Organic Farm Ltd
Cross Lanes Organic Farm is a family run business with organic restaurant, farm shop and butchers supporting local producers. The business is run and built entirely on ecological and sustainable principles with organic, local and green thinking at the heart and decision of everything. Working in conjunction with the Soil Association and Pasture for Life Association, high product and environmental standards are ensured. Meat is sourced from the family farm, where Simon Hare is working with nature through holistic management and regenerative agriculture practices increasing biodiversity and wildlife, benefitting the environment.

Plastech Innovation
Plastech Innovation Ltd, the first student spin-out of Durham University, is developing patentable technologies to transform post-consumer, post-industrial and pre-manufacture waste plastic into plastic aggregates for use in concrete and other construction materials. Their technology is a market-disruptor, enabling construction companies to partially replace sand in traditional building materials, primarily concrete. Their plastic aggregate reduces CO2 emissions from the transportation of heavy natural aggregates and the production of energy intensive comparative lightweight natural aggregates. Utilising a waste material that partially substitutes sand provides a solution to global construction-grade sand shortages, whilst also providing additional socio-economic and environmental benefits.

Co-wheels Car Club
Co-wheels is a national car club operator run as a social enterprise based in the North East of England. As the largest UK car club operator, Co-wheels provides low emission, hybrid and fully-electric cars across 60 towns and cities as well as fleet management solutions for the public sector to help them to reduce their grey fleet and the associated costs. Trading as a social enterprise means a commitment to improve society and the environment by focusing on helping members to save money, reduce car ownership and create a cleaner environment by making lower impact transport options available to everyone.

Marmax Products Ltd
Marmax Products Ltd manufacture a range of outdoor products; from picnic benches and seating, play equipment and planters, to fencing, boardwalk and dog agility equipment, all made from 100% recycled plastic, which was once milk containers. The products are maintenance free, do not rot, corrode or splinter and are guaranteed for a minimum of 25 years. To date, Marmax Products have saved over 1/2 billion milk containers from landfill and our oceans; and this number is increasing year on year.

Northumberland Honey Co
Northumberland Honey Co are commercial beekeepers and mead makers. They produce arguably the most sustainble sparkling alcohol. The traditional method Sparkling Mead. Production follows the same principles as Champagne, however instead of using grapes, honey is used to ferment, and as beekeepers the company are increasing bee numbers by 3,000 for every bottle consumed. This whole process has virtually zero waste products and is actively benefiting pollinators and the environment. Northumberland Hoeny Co are the first to have developed this product in the UK which is also low in sugar and calories. Benefiting you as well as the environment.

Micro Business of the Year

Taylored Fit Physio
Taylored Fit Physio is a state of the art physio and wellness centre providing physio, health and wellness treatments. Now located in a beautifully converted chapel it is owned by physio Vicky Smith, who started in 2014 from a spare room in her home. Her £250,000 investment has led to five staff being employed and 400+ people coming to a rural County Durham village each week for treatments and exercise classes. Taylored Fit Physio has rejuvenated not only the health of clients but also the local economy as clients regularly visit other independent traders in the village.

Railview Limited
Railview is a High-Tech SME based in rural Northumberland specialising in ground penetrating radar systems. They have developed a radar system that uses rotating radar to visualise the subterranean environment looking at assets in order to monitor their condition. Effectively X-ray specs for infrastructure. Railview can collect data 360°. Collecting data in 3D rather than in a plane using control software to accurately control the transmitter and receiver. From the data received their algorithms produce 3D images of the subsurface infrastructure assets. Railview won the North East Innovation Awards in the Category “Idea of the Year - 2019” for this innovation.

The Wonderful Wig Company
The Wonderful Wig Company was set up after the founder’s own cancer journey. She realised the hair loss community was not adequately supported and set about changing the world of hair loss. They provide exceptional wigs and support to anyone facing any type of hair loss, winning contracts with the NHS and other GP's, trusts and organisations all over the country. They are disrupting the hair loss industry with their innovative, modern approach to business and hair loss. They don't just give people back their hair, they give them back their sparkle and help them face the world again.

Start-Up Business of the Year

Myndr Ltd
Myndr is a real time, data-driven mental health and wellness support platform founded by peers with real lived experience. Myndr uses user interaction and feedback to help users with similar symptoms explore and use interventions that have worked on other users with similar lived experience. Users receive targeted content based on their input and relating to the problem they are addressing through podcasts, videos, online courses and personal stories from their strategic partners in wellbeing, low mood, stress, anxiety, addiction, health and sleep. The more users interact with Myndr, the more Myndr learns and feeds back, empowering change.

Ricochet Technologies Ltd
Ricochet is a lead development platform for SMEs, using Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to increase effectiveness and efficiency by automating tasks and assisting sales teams with lead generation, research and qualification.

The Algorithm People
The Algorithm People specialises in optimising fleets of vehicles. Its algorithm-based software helps vehicle operators to increase vehicle utilisation, reducing costs and cutting emissions. It can reduce total fleet mileage by up to 20% and improve productivity by up to 30%. The software can also identify where ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) can be introduced into an organisation in the most cost-effective way; and optimise those ULEVs to deliver the best possible environmental and financial return on investment. In early 2020 the company will launch My Transport Planner, a unique, pay-as-you-go scheduling solution with full ULEV compatibility.

SUB 10 Ltd
SUB 10 design and create concise, functionally discrete digital learning units. Each unit is 10 minutes or less, allowing them to build a larger curriculum and to bring learning into the workflow. SUB 10 design highly creative experiences using emotive cues and storytelling techniques to support learning, using immersive technologies such as VR and AR to increase the engagement and knowledge retention where applicable.

LRD Associates Ltd
LRD Associates is a small and rapidly growing design and build company based in Corbridge, Northumberland and provide a one stop shop for design, planning and construction solutions. LRD associates is run by husband and wife team Daniel and Lucie Armstrong with Daniel heading up the project management and Lucie the business management and design. They work alongside their partner company Daniel Armstrong Associates which means they can also provide an integrated Design and Build approach providing 3D modelling to give clients a clearer visual of their dream home.

High Growth Business of the Year

Voltsport Ltd
Phil Eagleton became CEO of VoltSport in 2015 after many years as a Senior Software Engineer with his greatest strength as an all round electronics, software and innovator at Sevcon. He saw the need for smaller, industrial customers and hobbyists who needed expertise and assistance in the design and integration of electric vehicles. The planet needs us to become zero emissions, but it cannot just be for large scale companies: we all need sustainable, zero emissions vehicles and technology.

Hive HR
Hive (HR) was formed in 2015 to help employers create more engaging, productive, and fulfilling work experiences for their people. How? By removing barriers to employee-employer conversations; and increasing their frequency. (Goodbye, annual surveys! Hello, always-on feedback!) Hive’s technology replaces annual surveys and suggestions boxes for organisations - enabling them to have an ongoing conversation and deeper connection with employees.

Sweetdreams Ltd
Sweetdreams Ltd is an ambitious, family-run confectionery manufacturer run by husband and wife team Matthew and Cath Stephenson. Their company produces a distinctively different range of chocolate products from their North East headquarters as well as creating the wonderfully quirky, completely unique and nostalgic Choc Nibbles and Choc Lick range of sweets. In addition, Sweetdreams operate a market leading traditional panning and coating operation, serving the B2B food and confectionery industry.

TaperedPlus Ltd
TaperedPlus is a national leader in providing quality flat roof design and building services. They are experienced and expert consultants delivering quality, whatever your market or project size – domestic, commercial and industrial. They use cutting edge design technology and revolutionary roofing materials to ensure a high quality finish.

Family Business of the Year

Solar Solve Ltd
Solar Solve manufactures and exports specialist anti-glare roller sunscreens for ships as a navigation safety aid. The original domestic window blind company was founded by the current Chairman John Lightfoot MBE and his wife Lilian in 1975. In 1988 the business name, status and product range were changed to focus on the marine industry. Their twin children, David and Julie, were involved from an early age and helped out during school holidays. David continues to provide ICT expertise as a consultant and Julie provides all of the other skills needed to run this highly successful enterprise and is Managing Director.

DC Handrails & Ironwork Parts Ltd
DC Handrails & Ironwork Parts was founded in 1997 by current Managing Director Dave Collins and has grown to be recognised as the UK's leading supplier of Ironwork Parts and handrail components. A family run business, their reputation for excellent service and extremely competitive price has earned them a unique respect within their industry. Their customers know how hard they work to bring them the best range of products at the best price. They also know that they are there to support them in a demanding industry. This unique understanding of their customers’ needs forges strong bonds and close relationships.

Beckleberry's Ltd
Beckleberry’s is a proud father and sons business that began life back in 1996 when Peter (eldest son) decided that a traditional university life wasn’t for him, and Ian (father) was wondering how best to spend his redundancy monies. Both shared a deep-seated appreciation of ice cream and top-notch puds and their proud Northern roots and both were keen to tap into the region’s proud manufacturing traditions to create something tangible. In 2014 younger brother David joined the family business as Head of Technical.

Sweetdreams Ltd
Sweetdreams Ltd is an ambitious, family-run confectionery manufacturer run by husband and wife team Matthew and Cath Stephenson. Their company produces a distinctively different range of chocolate products from their North East headquarters and as well as creating the wonderfully quirky, they produce completely unique and nostalgic Choc Nibbles and Choc Lick range of sweets. In addition, Sweetdreams operate a market leading traditional panning and coating operation, serving the B2B food and confectionery industry.

Young Enterpreneur of the Year (aged 30 and under)

Mary Lynch - Onist Food Limited
ONIST was founded by registered nutritionist Mary Lynch, 4 years ago (when she was 25). Mary previously worked for Jamie Oliver as a senior nutritionist and after leaving, studying food policy and working in the industry she became frustrated with the lies in the industry. Their current product range, The Avocado Chocolate Pudding, contains just avocados, dates, cashew nuts, cocoa and water. It’s almost three quarters of your daily amount of fibre and tastes totally indulgent. And for every pudding you buy you are buying a healthy breakfast for a child in need in The Gambia and Uganda.

Shainy Moscovitch - CP12 Energy Ltd
To be a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry brings on a lot of mixed reactions, but to be 23 years old with an 8-month-old baby, makes everyone wonder how it could be done. The answer is simple, CP12 Energy is driven by a passion to change the gas sector for the better. For the three short years CP12 Energy has been trading, the positive changes it has created is significant. To witness that on a day to day basis is what keeps up the determination to continue, despite the odds.

Chloë Clover - Wander Films
Wander Films create high impact and engaging video, helping businesses Beat the Scroll™ on social media. Wander Films are a video marketing and video production company that specialise in Epic Vlog™ packages and Intro Vids™ among other video services. The team are young, creative and know what it takes to get noticed online (spoiler, we don’t do boring!).

Ben Fielding - Fair Custodian
Ben Fielding is one of the cofounders and the CEO of Fair Custodian. He has recently completed his PhD in artificial intelligence and machine learning and has previously worked as a freelance consultant on commercial machine learning projects. Fair Custodian is improving the way our personal data is managed by providing businesses with a multi-user SaaS platform for routine and one-off GDPR compliance activities through audited document repositories, data registers, task management, and administration automation.

Wellbeing Award of the Year

ASIC UK and ASIC Global
ASIC is an independent UK quality assurance body specialising in the institutional accreditation of education providers worldwide. Operating in over 60 countries, ASIC work with institutions, and governments, to improve the quality of their education provision. In the UK ASIC is a UKVI (part of the Home Office) approved body for the Short-term study visa. Globally, ASIC accreditation is an internationally renowned benchmark demonstrating that an institution meets the highest standards of education, welfare, and best practice. As of the start of 2020, they work with 330 institutions, making them one of the world’s largest international accrediting bodies.

Crystallised is a six-year-old, female-founded, female-powered agency in Newcastle. It works with organisations with a social conscience that make a social difference. This includes arts, heritage and culture organisations, local authorities, charities, not-for-profit organisations, and creative social enterprises (including tourism). Crystallised helps its clients to reach their audiences by identifying what they want to achieve and figuring out what they need to do to get there. That could involve helping clients to make a profit, increase awareness, have a social impact, improve visitor numbers, create a sense of place, a movement, convey their purpose - or all of these things.

Explain Market Research
Explain Market Research has been providing market research to clients across the UK since 1993, in sectors including utilities, healthcare, finance and social housing. The agency is proud to be a company partner of the Market Research Society (MRS), an organisation which shares the core values of professionalism, excellence, and effectiveness. Explain collaborate closely in partnership with their clients, to deliver independent research and engagement which drives change and shapes business plans and strategies. Explain has been awarded ISO9001 accreditation to verify the high level of quality management procedures in place, and the Cyber Essentials accreditation for data security.

ZeroLight create unique buying experiences for customers in the automotive industry, developing interactive and engaging experiences ranging from web configurators, VR, AR and 3D products. ZeroLight began trading in 2014 with 11 members of staff and has since become the world’s leading provider of visualisation and virtual reality software for the automotive industry, having won numerous awards for innovative technology. In the last six years they have grown to over 90 employees, and the need for comprehensive policies in areas such as Mental Health and Wellbeing became a high priority for the Talent Development Team.

Community Award - Area only

Digital Voice for Communities
Digital Voice offers digital inclusion courses for people who haven’t had the opportunity to learn how to go online or use digital technology (e.g. teaching elderly people to use tablets to stay up-to-date and keep in touch with their families and teaching refugees essential IT skills for the workplace). DV's approach is very hands-on and allows people to learn at their own pace, with a lot of individual support. DV also aims to get people beyond this level of basic skills and help them find their creative voice using digital media.

SOS Group Ltd (Smart Office Systems Ltd)
SOS Group launched in 2002 and is a supplier and service provider of digital office equipment, related software products and office furniture. They are proud to count some of the biggest names in sport and industry as clients – and have always encouraged and helped others to pursue their ambitions. With strong roots in their local community, and wherever they have clients, they are fast approaching a total of £250,000 donated to support charities, talented young individuals and community organisations since they set out in business and have a truly ‘hands on’ approach to their community and social activities.

The Wonderful Wig Company
Nicola Wood is a hair and wig enthusiast looking to change the wig game for good. She wants to help sufferers of hair loss look and feel fabulous again. As a hairdresser, she gets to make people feel better for a living. It is a lovely job to do, but for women losing their hair, this experience is often a negative one. She knows this situation all-too-well, having been diagnosed with cancer herself in 2016. She wants to give someone back and to improve wig services in the North East.

Digital/e-commerce Business of the Year

Fantasy Prints Ltd
Established in small shop premises within Berwick in 1992, Fantasy Prints has evolved and grown with its clients into a multi-unit, multi service business providing a comprehensive range of products and services to thousands of local and national companies. With a team of 26 across 7 departments the company combines creativity, technical expertise and sound business skills to deliver a wide range of marketing, design, print, signage and clothing solutions to businesses across a diverse range of industries. The company has shown consistent growth, expanding to meet its customer’s needs whilst maintaining its sharp focus on quality, price and service.

Poptop is the UK’s fastest growing online events booking platform. Poptop was founded in 2014 by two entrepreneurs and relocated to Newcastle upon Tyne the year after with the support of Northstar Ventures. Poptop has scaled up steadily over the past 5 years into a profitable business that now employs almost 40 people at its offices in Newcastle and Kiev, Ukraine.

globalbridge is an online platform that allows young people to build a digital profile to showcase their full range of talents, skills, qualifications and aspirations, before connecting them with opportunities in education, employment, and training. They level the playing field of opportunity by ensuring their users are exposed to a broad range of future pathways that match their interests and talents. They remove many of the barriers to access that exist today.

Self-Employed/Sole Trader of the Year

Plantpot’s nurseries
Tamasine’s passion has always been working with children since the age of 12. When the time was right after travelling the world and often working in childcare settings along the way, she opened up her own playgroup to work around her home life (mother of three boys!) Her business grew organically and last September she opened her little dream Montessori full day care nursery in Jesmond - they offer forest school learning, tennis lessons by qualified coaches, Montessori teaching and Spanish. Tamasine enjoys watching her boys play a range of sports, family time, food and the cinema.

The Culture Vulture
The Culture Vulture is a professional cultural adventurer and creative champion; shaping, shaking up, supporting, developing, evolving the Northern landscape. A freelance entity specialising in marketing, PR, audience development, social media management, event and project management and they’ve developed a core, talented network for freelance professionals that they collaborate with and unite for larger scale projects and tenders. They have an exciting portfolio of past, current and future clients and projects - alongside their own Culture Vulture led work including projects focused on the indie sector, young people, creative careers, mental health and work that engages particular audiences. #bighair #evenbiggerideas

Novellus Aesthetics
At Novellus Aesthetics, Dr Steven encourages you to strive to be the best you can be, to reach your full potential. He works to help you become the best version of you. His medical training has helped him to understand the complex psychology and emotions surrounding beauty and self-esteem. Dr Steven's aesthetic training with the best teachers from across the world gives him a full range of safe techniques at his disposal. He strives to provide the best in natural, safe, reliable aesthetics procedures, helping you to look good and feel even better.

SDS Livestock

The core of the business is deadweight marketing of Primestock. SDS Livestock are one of the main procurement agents in the North East for Dunbia Group. They are very proud of their working relationship with them and also Supermarkets such as Sainsburys. Store and Breeding stock are also sold. They also offer advice on breeding programmes and anything else that may be of benefit to their farming customers. Alongside commercial stock sales they also work with clients to source and sell pedigree breeding stock.

Taylored Fit Physio
Vicky was a physio with 22 years’ experience when she left secure employment in 2014 to start Taylored Fit Physio. As a sole trader, she kept the risk low and used a spare room in her family home to treat clients. In 2018 she increased her risk significantly by investing £250,000 to convert an abandoned chapel into a state of the art physio and wellness centre providing physio, health and wellness treatments and services such as hypnotherapy. Vicky now employs 5 staff, has 15 self-employed practitioners and has a weekly footfall of 400+ people. She continues to be self-employed.