On Friday 21st October, over 400 guests attended the second North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards at the Rum Warehouse.
Hosted by The Guide’s Jay Hynd and Claire Simmo the awards were an evening of positivity and celebration, shining a light on the achievements of LGBTQ+ Businesses, allies of the community and individuals who deserved recognition.
The awards, which recognised business excellence and personal achievement were sponsored by TalkTalk, Chillimix Holidays, Pipsqueak Portraits and The Guide Liverpool.
The overall winner on the evening was Jamie Christon, chief executive at Chester Zoo who was recognised as an inspirational leader having led the Chester Zoo organisation through a period of ambitious change and growth including a brand new hotel and wedding facility at the zoo. Under his leadership, Chester Zoo has been crowned the best large visitor attraction in the UK.
Jamie, who is openly gay, has held a number of c-suite level positions for some of the country’s top businesses during his career. He has been responsible for modernising workplaces and has implemented game-changing diversity and inclusion strategies. At Chester Zoo, he actively promotes employees being able to be their true selves at work, offers support for employees from minority communities and he is working to increase Chester Zoo’s reach to marginalised communities particularly in the North West.
Other winners on the night included Paul Kallee-Grover of Ki Partnerships who took home the Outstanding Achievement Award, The Hive by VH Interiors for Best Small Business Award and Homes for Students for the Investment in People Award.
Katie Isaacson, director at event management company Cool Breeze who produced the awards with founder Drew Cockton, said
“Huge congratulations not only to the well-deserved winners but to all of the finalists taking part in this year’s awards. The LGBTQ+ community is a major economic driver in the North West, these awards celebrated business and personal success but also innovation, strength, tenacity and community spirit.”
Category sponsors supporting the awards were: Westminster Associates, Everton Football Club, Homes for Students, Growth Platform, MSB Solicitors, The Metro, Mason’s, Maddison J Creations, Morecrofts, Cosmetic Perfection and Wild Thang. Staging and AV production was looked after by Proud House Events
The full list of winners and finalists is:
Young Person in Business, sponsored by Everton.
WINNER: Joshua Lloyd Griffin
Liam Mitchell, Mr Tumble Liverpool
Luke Davies, Polari
Oliver Jude, Oliver Jude Clothing
Best New Business Award, Sponsored by Maddison J Creations
WINNER: Adam Sutton Estates
Billie The Brand Store and CiCi Morcroft
LGBTQ+ Ally Award, Sponsored by MSB Solicitors.
Dobie Optimum Fitness
Dolphin Health Club
Entrepreneurial Spirit, Sponsored by Westminster Associates.
WINNER: Oliver Jude, Oliver Jude Clothing
Outstanding Personal Achievement Award sponsored by Owen Drew.
WINNER: Paul Kallee-Grover, KI Partnerships
David Griffiths, Allport Dental
Joshua Kelly, Hair Choice
Lee Chambers, Essentialise
Community Impact Award, Sponsored by Homes for Students.
WINNER: Adam Brown Dance Company
Sort Your Fit Out
LGBTQ+ Hospitality Award, Sponsored by Chilli Mix Holidays.
WINNER: Craig Cavanagh, Alma De Cuba
Box Leisure Recruitment
Best Small Business, sponsored by Growth Platform.
WINNER: The Hive by VH Interiors
Little Bear’s Fudgery
Red Floral Architecture
Unit3 Design Studio
Best Employer Award sponsored by Mason’s.
Heritage Great Britain
Diversity and Inclusion Award sponsored by Cosmetic Perfection.
WINNER: BT (BT consumer- BT/EE/Plusnet) part of BT group plc
Homes for Students
Investment in People Award, Sponsored by The Guide Liverpool.
WINNER: Homes for Students.
Best Customer Service Award, sponsored by Wild Thang.
WINNER: Dolphin Health Club.
Best Social Media Award and is sponsored by Pipsqueak Portraits.
WINNER: Hair Choice.
Overall Winner of LGBTQ+ awards and is sponsored by TalkTalk.
WINNER: Jamie Christon Chief Executive, Chester Zoo.
The North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards were founded by entrepreneur Drew Cockton who passed away suddenly on Saturday 22nd October 2022.
Drew believed in diversity and inclusivity in all businesses, he dedicated himself to building deep rooted relationships, promoting the ideology that the world would be a better place if we all lifted each other up and was at the forefront of encouraging everyone to be their authentic selves. Drew’s infectious passion, entrepreneurial spirit, his love of bringing people together and his huge charitable heart will be truly missed. His legacy will continue through the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards, all of the organisers and sponsors are proud to have supported him.
Through his work, Drew has raised tens of thousands for charities, a Just Giving page has been set up in his name to continue this with contributions being donated to the charities that Drew held dear. To make a contribution visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/drewcockton.