Judging Panel 

We have developed our judging over 15 years and our judges, all top business people within their chosen arena, have cited our awards as both the most transparent and professionally executed.
Each application is scored by at least 4 different judges from a panel of up to 22 judges, all applications are seen by different members of the judging panel.
The judges meet over several hours and score not only their own sponsored category but several others too, this ensures transparency.
The first page of questions is designed to give the judges a real feel for your business, followed by several questions that are scored from 1 to 5. It is worth noting that although all judging is computer based please ensure you upload images or screen shots of all important pages.
There are no site visits or presentations involved.
The finalists are chosen by adding all the scores and up to 8 entrants can make it through to the final, however if scoring is low, less entrants make it through.
Should you wish to read our Top Tips, please click HERE


Jane Kirwan 


Jane Kirwan has been Service manager at the Kettering Branch of Stanair Industrial Door Services Ltd since 2016. Originally from Sussex she settled in Leicestershire with her husband in 1990.

To Jane the most important part of business is the people. Her team  – internal and external  –  are key to the success of the level of service they maintain and she feels that it is important that this is communicated to them Without the engineers working as a team and to their full potential the results would certainly be very different. She is a people person with her strength being in customer service.

Jane enjoys a full life outside of work which involves holidaying with a group of friends and family, singing and amateur dramatics.


David Addison

Technocopy Solutions

David qualified as a chartered accountant in 2003 and after spending 11 years in practice moved into industry to work for one of his clients.

After a stint in the retail sector and a spell in logistics and transport, David joined Technocopy in 2016 and is enjoying being part of such a special business.

A keen sportsman, David played rugby to a decent level in his former years, and now enjoys getting out on his road bike and going to the gym.

As a father to four girls and with two dogs, there’s never a dull moment in the Addison household.

Shelley Thompson

PCS Business Systems

Shelley is the UK Sales Manager for PCS Business Systems. Having started off as an Account Manager in 2005, Shelley now has over 18 years of IT sales experience.

PCS Business Systems are an IT Managed Service Provider based in Kettering, they offer managed IT support and solutions to businesses both locally and nationwide.

Supporting small and medium business in the local area is high up on Shelley’s list of priorities because many of PCS’ customers fall into this category, so, she understands the obstacles and challenges they face as a business.

Since Shelley moved in to her UK Sales Manager role, she has continued to be involved with the sales cycle by working alongside her team on projects.  Shelley has an extent amount of knowledge on the services that PCS offer and uses this to help drive the business in the right direction.


Julie Barnes – Ward 

Business Times

Celebrating 25 years in business this year, publisher of Business Times Julie Barnes-Ward was pleased to be invited to take part in the judging of this year’s awards. ‘It was great to see so many different types of firms from across the county enter the various categories, it was interesting having an insight into some of the individuals and their companies.As well as the less exciting pastimes of reading, gardening and being a taxi service for my teenage son, I have been known to have slightly more exciting challenges in the form of wing walking and hot air ballooning. I have been lucky enough to fly balloons at various locations around the world including Dubai, Albuquerque and a flight across The English Channel.

David Bacon 

Borneo Martell Turner Coulston LLP

David is Senior Partner at local solicitors’ firm Borneo Martell Turner Coulston LLP.  He qualified a solicitor in 1980 and then set up home with his family in the County.  Since then he has built strong local business and personal connections.

David deals with a variety of commercial work for businesses including mergers and acquisitions, commercial contracts and intellectual property.  He is also still instructed on a number of property and commercial disputes.

As many of David’s clients over the years have been local SMEs and the Firm itself has just under 50 staff in total, he understands all too well, the challenges and opportunities that SMEs face.  He is a great believer in offering a high standard of personal service to clients and giving straightforward, practical advice to clients, many of whom are part of his local community.


Jason Lancaster 

Northampton College

Jason Lancaster is an experienced manager in the further education and skills sector. He has managed a range of training provision for young people and adults in FE colleges around the country including in engineering, construction and business.

He now provides consultancy support to colleges and training providers to help address their ongoing improvement.


Malcolm Johnston

Northamptonshire Growth Hub

Malcolm lives in Northampton and is Interim Manager for SEMLEP’s Growth Hub making him responsible for Northamptonshire Growth Hub and Velocity Growth Hub.

A passionate advocate for enterprise and an experienced general manager, Malcolm has spent more than 15 years in senior roles in the business support sector in the East of England, Yorkshire and the East Midlands. Malcolm has successfully led front line teams delivering government, EU funded and commercial contracts.  

Prior to moving to Northampton Malcolm ran his own manufacturing SME and went on to develop a successful track-record as a business consultant and adviser working with a diverse range of SME clients, both in the UK and in Europe, helping them to improve their operational efficiency and effectiveness. Malcolm has a wife and son and enjoys hill walking and travel. 


Nicola Richards

Operations Director

Current Status: ‘Available’

Nicola is the Operations Director at SilverDisc, where she started her marketing career in 2005.

SilverDisc is a full service digital marketing agency based in Kettering dedicated to helping businesses to realise their online growth potential.

Nicola’s experience spans most of the services that SilverDisc provides but her specialities include web project management, conversion rate optimisation and usability. She has worked with clients from small start-ups to large corporations and uses her knowledge and experience to support her clients in achieving their online marketing objectives.


Jodie Bayes

Area Manager

Having started her career with Regus in October 2016 Jodie has had extensive experience within the Northampton and Buckinghamshire Centres working as the Area Manager for Northampton, she is involved with several networking groups to support the local the start-up community which makes up a large proportion of the Regus client base. Jodie also facilitates a number of networking events within the Regus centres as a platform for local business to meet with like-minded individuals and look for new ways to help their business grow.

June Cory

My Mustard

June Cory has a career spanning almost thirty years in media management, sales and training. She fell into selling newspaper advertising space and not only did she love it, she was really rather good at it. After thousands of deadlines, hundreds of targets and a few awards she moved into management & training for industry names including Newsquest & Yell.com.

After managing a specialist digital project team in 2006, June understood that the ability to target an audience, measure results & truly control spend would redefine advertising for local businesses & swapped the ink in her veins for zeros and ones and launched My Mustard, an online advertising agency in 2007.

A highly enthusiastic on and offline networker June is a Google Partner, the ex-Vice President of the St Albans Chamber of Commerce, hosts A Little Bit Of Networking in Hemel Hempstead and talks about Google at various forums. She drinks a lot of coffee…..

Andrea Smith

Franklins Solicitors LLP

Andrea is Head of Business Services for Franklins Solicitors LLP managing and working with a team of lawyers in various disciplines including Corporate, Commercial Property, Employment and Intellectual Property. With over 16 years of experience she holds in-depth knowledge and understanding of company structures, how a business operates, the general duties of directors and shareholders, company compliance requirements and acquisitions and disposals. Andrea knows exactly what it takes and how hard one has to work to start-up and grow a business from a legal perspective in the current market.

As well as growing up in Northamptonshire and working in the town, Andrea also sits on the board of directors of Northampton Town Centre Limited responsible for implementing the business plan, vision and objectives for Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID).

Andrea is passionate about delivering excellent service to clients and in her spare time is working on a digital solution that will make legal documentation affordable and accessible to start-up’s and entrepreneurs.

Jamie Gayton

Aspectus Financial Consultancy

I have been in the Banking and Financial Services since leaving school at the age of 16, and enjoy the face-to-face interaction with clients, along with undertaking a number of senior management roles.

I have been a judge at the Midlands Family Business Awards in the past, and can honestly say it’s one of the most rewarding experiences. To meet passionate business owners with the courage to back their beliefs, take the challenge to go it alone and build their company, is very inspirational; in my eyes, every one of them is a winner.

Outside of work, I ‘enjoy’ going to the gym where I meet my personal trainer who keeps me on track, as well as going cycling and playing a round of golf (but only in the good weather!). I’m also a keen Leicester Tigers supporter and hold a season ticket.

Parm Bhangal

Bhangals Construction Consultants

Current Status: ‘Available’

Parm Bhangal is an entrepreneur and qualified Quantity Surveyor, specialising in quantity surveying, estimating, project management, construction and property. He has worked within the construction industry for over ten years and has been the Managing Director of Bhangals Construction Consultants for eight years and My Build Estimate for four years respectively.

He has created massive success from his philosophy of outstanding client service and he has maintained fantastic client relationships over many years because of his extreme attention to detail and his ability to save people money on their construction costs.

With over a decade of experience in this industry, it has allowed him to carve out an outstanding reputation in the industry. Parm is passionate about business; he is keen to share his knowledge and enthusiasm to help train the workforce of tomorrow and is looking forward to celebrating the achievements of other local individuals and businesses.

Tony Knaggs

Goodwill Solutions Learning Academy CIC

Current Status: ‘Available’

Tony has spent over 15 years managing various European support programmes to UK employers and has extensive experience in Business Development, Entrepreneurship and Government Funding.

I am a highly motivated individual who always relishes a challenge. I enjoy working with teams and by myself and am continually looking for ways to improve processes and create new business ideas. I am always open to new challenges so just let me know if you have any that i may be able to help with !

I have a successful track record of achieving results by implementing effective business development programmes and delivering both top and bottom-line improvements through the achievement of multiple operational goals in the Educational Skills, Pre-employment, Financial and Logistics service sectors.

Management experience at a senior level – incorporating: sales planning, team building, customer services, direct and e-marketing, process mapping, all aspects of finance, sub-contractor negotiations, partner relationship building and business modelling. Strong interpersonal, presentational, man-management & communication skills. Commercially very astute and highly customer focused. PC and IT literate. Technically proficient in creating business/operational models in order to identify and deliver real business improvements.