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Meet the judges for the CoventryLive Business Awards 2021

Everyone can agree that the past 18 months haven’t been easy. However, with staying home came the resurgence of supporting local and we really saw Coventry join and collaborate together as one huge community.

Combining the inspiring success of businesses and people across the region, being the City of Culture for 2021 and the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, it seems like there really is no better city to be working in.

The 2021 awards will celebrate the achievements of a host of different businesses operating in a very diverse range of sectors alongside our stand-out achiever, Company of the Year for 2021.

To celebrate, the CoventryLive Business Awards 2021 is rewarding all of the hard work, ingenuity and resilience of local entrepreneurs and businesses. A night hosted by the brilliant Emma Jesson, filled with anticipation and fun, the event is set to be one to remember.

If you would like to be part of the special event at the Coventry Building Society Arena on Thursday, October 14, click here for tickets.

If you have any questions or to enquire about sponsorship please email [email protected]. Follow the hashtag #CovLiveBusinessAwards for updates on social media.

There were hundreds of brilliant entries for this year’s awards, making the judges lives even more difficult when they had to shortlist from many remarkable success stories.

Ajay Desai, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

Once again, Ajay Desai was one of the judges this year, bringing his experience as trade director of Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to the panel. The organisation is supporting the event by sponsoring the International Export and Trade Award, but Ajay was also delighted to be involved in judging and see so much local success.

He said: “It was a great to see applications across a diverse set of sectors and quality of companies that applied. The awards are an encouragement and acknowledgement of the hard work our companies in Coventry and Warwickshire have put in to be as successful as they are.”

Kurt Pollard, Barclays

Barclays is the sponsor of CSR Project of the Year and business banking regional manager Kurt Pollard joined the panel of judges to help choose our winners. He has vast experience with major banks and challengers, with a bounty of technical and service knowledge which has grown during his 15 years in finance.

Kurt said: “Covid-19 has created an unprecedented social and economic impact in the UK, with many experiencing greater hardship due to the crisis. As a bank we have been doing all we can for our customers, clients and colleagues, and have partnered with a number of charities, so that collectively we can ensure that we support as many people as possible in the communities in which we live and work.

“We’re proud to be sponsoring the CSR category at this year’s CoventryLive Business Awards to profile businesses which are also demonstrating support for their local communities.”

Meet the judges for the CoventryLive Business Awards 2021
Ajay Desai, trade director of Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, and Kurt Pollard, business banking regional manager of Barclays
Leigh Hunt, CityFibre

Another sponsor this year is CityFibre which is sponsoring the Company of the Year award. Regional partnership director and city manager for Coventry, Leigh Hunt is passionate about the future development of Coventry and connectivity of the Midlands.

While judging, she experienced first hand the tenacity of local businesses and people. She said: “One thing stands out in all of the awards entries this year, and that is the resilience and determination of everyone involved in these businesses. We have just been through the most difficult period imaginable, and that has impacted on us all both professionally and personally. However, every one of our entrants has moved forward during this period and some have shone brightly amid the gloom.”

Marc Reeves, Reach plc

The theme of inspiring conviction and commitment to the region and its communities was reiterated by regular judge Marc Reeves, Midlands and Wales’ marketplace publisher for CoventryLive owner Reach plc.

Marc said: “What was remarkable as we went through the nominations was the sheer resilience and energy of all the businesses which entered. Despite the most extraordinary challenges, businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire continued to demonstrate the qualities they are well known for – creativity, innovation and focus.”

Meet the judges for the CoventryLive Business Awards 2021
Leigh Hunt, CityFibre regional partnership director and city manager for Coventry and Marc Reeves, Midlands and Wales marketplace publisher for Reach plc

This year’s categories and sponsors are:

  • CSR Project of the Year, Barclays
  • Covid Defiance Award
  • Green Business of the Year, Coventry City Council
  • International Trade and Export Award, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce
  • New Business of the Year, Askews
  • Professional Services Firm of the Year
  • Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya Award for Manufacturer of the Year
  • Property and Construction Business of the Year
  • Retail Business of the Year
  • Small Business of the Year
  • Third Sector Organisation of the Year
  • Company of the Year, CityFibre

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