Innovation and community spirit alive and kicking in Lancashire say BIBAs judges

Judges of the Innovative Business and Community Business of the Year awards in this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, say they were stunned by what they found while probing the competition’s entrants.

Innovation is the lifeblood of businesses. From introducing new products and services, to new ways of working, thinking differently is what helps get ahead of the competition and has also been responsible for significant societal change.

Take the Spinning Jenny, for instance. A key development in the Industrial Revolution, it was invented by James Hargreaves in Lancashire. This spinning frame allowed multiple spindles to be operated by a single worker, significantly increasing the efficiency of textile production and accelerating the mechanisation of the spinning process.

Soon after, Preston-born Richard Arkwright developed the water frame in Lancashire, a spinning machine powered by water. This invention also played a significant role in the mechanisation of textile production.

More recently, Lancashire has been home to the continuous development of nuclear fuels at the Westinghouse site in Lea, along with the Eurofighter Typhoon made by BAE Systems.

As well as these well-known household names, a host of other Lancashire businesses continue the tradition of innovation, with eight making it into the finals of the BIBAs in the category of Innovative Business of the Year. They are: Melling Performance Springs, Levity Crop Science, ULSOCO Un Limited, TransformHub, IoT Horizon Ltd, Adlington Welding Supplies Ltd (Adlington Group), Airframe Designs, Hercules Resin Tools.

Denys Smith-Hart, founder of InterSys Micronics who is sponsoring the award again this year, led the judging panel and said: “Being a judge for the Innovative Business of the Year award in Lancashire’s BIBAs has been a brilliant experience again.

“Despite having judged this award before, the calibre of the entrants this year really exceeded my expectations, showcasing the remarkable innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in our area.

“It’s inspiring to see the incredible ideas, ground breaking solutions, and forward-thinking approaches displayed by these businesses. Selecting a winner has been a challenging task, given the exceptional talent and ingenuity on show.”

Lancashire is also home to more than 4,000 charities plus countless other third sector organisations like Community Interest Companies (CICs) and Social Enterprises.

These all exist to meet needs that would otherwise go unmet by businesses, local councils and central government.

Many look to provide relief for those in poverty, whilst others are local community groups, or provide employment support, or healthcare services. They range from major regional, national and international organisations with substantial turnovers to small-scale groups that are operated on much smaller budgets and between them employ tens of thousands in paid and voluntary roles.

Demonstrating an unwavering commitment to making Lancashire a better place for everyone, eight such organisations have made it into the finals of the Community Business of the Year award in the BIBAs this year, they are Rainbow Hub NW Ltd, Inspire Youth Zone, Lancashire BME Network Ltd, The JJeffect CIC, Recycling Lives Charity, DEPHER CIC, The Boathouse Youth, HAPPA- Horses and Ponies Protection Association

The award is again sponsored this year by the Lancashire Post, Preston’s daily newspaper that has itself been at the heart of the community since 1886. Helen McVey from Pendleside Hospice who helped to judge the entries, and also a previous winner of this category said: “It’s been a real privilege to judge the Community Business of the Year award, which honours the efforts of charities and voluntary organisations in Lancashire.

“The dedication and selflessness demonstrated by these organisations in serving our local communities is genuinely remarkable. The impact they have made in improving lives and addressing pressing social issues is nothing short of inspiring.

“Seeing the innovative programmes, tireless advocacy, and transformative initiatives undertaken by these community-driven businesses has reaffirmed my belief in the power of collective action and the incredible potential we have to make a positive difference when we come together. It’s really important that we recognise and celebrate the invaluable contributions these organisations make to the fabric of Lancashire, it’s just a shame there can only be one winner.”

The finalists in these categories now have an excruciating wait on their hands, only discovering if they’ve scooped an award on Friday 15th September at the ceremony in Blackpool.

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Innovation and community spirit alive and kicking in Lancashire say BIBAs judges
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