Bristol Business Awards: Night was a celebration that showed a city which has come of age, writes Phone Box Millionaire

Awards of any description matter. Just ask a schoolchild whether that gold star they got for geography made them feel good. I bet the answer will be a resounding yes!

I again attended the Bristol Post Business Awards last Thursday. A black tie do where last year I was stunned to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, something that I’m very proud of and which I took to show my Dad who was buried in Canford Cemetery in Westbury on Trym 30 years ago. He didn’t ‘actually’ say so but I know he was watching and would have patted me on the back had he lived to see it.

This year the same award was deservingly won by the team from Aardman Animations rather than an individual.

We were lucky enough to sit with directors, staff and guests of Lloyds Bank who have been big supporters of these awards and are working hard to become part of the SME (small, medium size enterprise culture) nationally.

Understanding the needs of small business is essential if financial institutions are to help grow our enterprise culture even further.

Enterprise and the many brilliant Bristol and West Country businesses associated with this particular award event deserve the accolades they get because it is recognition by their peers that they have done something exceptional. They have created businesses, not that just benefit themselves but society also.

Businesses like CR Windows, an old economy business with cutting edge focus on customer service. Deservedly another winner at this annual celebration of enterprise.

Who can deny that Aardman have created a truly international brand from right here in Bristol?

Hargreaves Lansdown were other worthy winners. Another fantastic brand with deep rooted Bristol credentials. There are so many others in this great city of ours.

Look up and down the river when standing outside M Shed and it gives the impression of a city which has come of age. A city with a real future. A genuine European city with its own unique identity. European Green Capital, something and somewhere to be truly proud of. Its varied culture and acceptance of ethnic minorities.
The wonderful jerk chicken served in genuine Jamaican restaurants, Polish delis, Chinese and Indian food that we all love so much creates a cosmopolitan Bristol which would have been unrecognisable by my Dad but is understood and enthusiastically supported by his son.

Yes, Bristol is a special place made even more so by the growing sense of community felt by its citizens.
This feeling is supported by its local newspaper and a council that understands the importance of enterprise.

People often ask me in my role as Ambassador and Entrepreneur in Residence at The British Library in London what my understanding of a social enterprise is. My answer is always the same.

Every business that shows enterprise and pays its employees the living wage rather than the minimum one, and treats them fairly is a social enterprise whether official designated so or not.

Stephen Fear started his first business from a phone box in Bristol. He is Entrepreneur in Resident at the British Library and chairman of Fear Group.

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