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Bristol and Wiltshire firms celebrate wins at FSB South West Small Business Awards

6 March 2023
The Business Magazine article image for: Bristol and Wiltshire firms celebrate wins at FSB South West Small Business Awards

Bristol and Wiltshire firms are celebrating after claiming titles at the FSB South West Small Business Awards.

The UK’s first women’s urinal business snagged two titles. PEEQUAL, set up by Bristol University graduates Hazel McShane and Amber Probyn, won both the best Business and Product Innovation prize and the best Start Up award.

Meanwhile Devizes-based chartered accountants Charlton Baker scooped the FSB Larger Small Business title, Swindon's Top Professionals Access Limited won the new Diversity and Inclusion award, and Dan Yates from Warminster-based Greener won the Young Entrepreneur title.

It was the second consecutive year that the FSB Young Entrepreneur accolade had come to Wiltshire following the success of gardener Alfie Jones, of Royal Wootton Bassett in 2022.

For PEEQUAL, the awards are the latest boost to their acclaimed and growing business which has captured widespread national media interest and already seen the company’s unique women’s urinal in operation at a number of key festivals including Glastonbury, Wilderness, Green Man, and Shambala.

“We are so grateful to have won these awards as we are determined to let people know what we are doing and having other businesses and the FSB champion us like this really helps us to get our message out.

"You have to have a really strong belief when you start a business that what you are doing is right and these awards, judged by people who really know what it is like, will help to validate that belief,” said Amber.

Scott Sartin, for Charlton Baker, said their award meant they were able to continue their ambition to change the perception people have of accountants and accountancy.

“We are genuinely ecstatic and blown away to win this and we certainly didn’t expect it,” he said.

“We have set out a vision to change the face of accountancy and redefine what we do and how we do it. Hopefully this award shows that people are able to see what we are trying to achieve.”

And Sebastian Kopanski of Top Professionals Access Limited, also expressed his delight at claiming the first ever South West FSB Diversity and Inclusion title for his work helping people with sensory or neurodivergent conditions.

“I am delighted to be a winner because my efforts to make the world more accessible and inclusive were recognised. Moreover, I believe that the award recognises people living with various conditions and disabilities, their challenges and their drive to live independent, thriving and fulfilling lives,” he said.

Dan Yates – who started his business to help SMEs find sustainable supply chain support - said he was delighted to be recognised by his business peers.

“When you start a business you don’t tend to lift your head up and wonder how you are seen. To win this means we must be doing something right in our aim to make sustainability simpler and easier for small businesses.”

All the winners will now go forward to the FSB South West Small Business Awards national final in Birmingham in May.

Lee Nathan, the FSB Regional Chairman for the South West who is based in Bristol, said both the quality and quantity of the region’s entries this year had stunned the judges.

“Entries flooded in from all across our area from Cornwall, Dorset, Wiltshire, Bath, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Devon and even picking regional shortlists for the categories was a nightmare for our judges let alone actually picking the winners.

“This was our unique chance to showcase what we all truly believe – that the South West has the best, most innovative and most creative small businesses in the whole of the UK,” he said.

Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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