Echo Business Awards 2015: Small to Medium Sized Business of the Year

Brighouse Echo Business Awards 2015: Small to Medium Sized Business of the Year. From the left, sponsor Melanie Brooks from Kirklees College, winner James Howard from Yorkshire Payments, and host Clare Frisby.
Brighouse Echo Business Awards 2015: Small to Medium Sized Business of the Year. From the left, sponsor Melanie Brooks from Kirklees College, winner James Howard from Yorkshire Payments, and host Clare Frisby.

The Small to Medium Sized Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Kirklees College, brings in firms which have a turnover of less than £5 million and fewer than 50 employees.

The judges were looking for small companies which had a spark of innovation and an appetite for success.

Vice Principal of Kirklees College, Melanie Brooks, presented the award to the winner - Yorkshire Payments.

Part of the Direct Card Solutions group, the business was founded in 2011 by James Howard, who has grown the company to include a 12-strong team which boasts a collective 30 years’ industry experience.

It has established its market position by gaining independent license from Visa and MasterCard, which has been achieved through a rigorous process in which the firm has had to compete with a number of large corporate banks.

Director James Howard said: “Before the awards I must admit my thoughts were really about our two apprentices. They’ve both done amazingly so far and I really wanted them to do well in the Apprentice of the Year category - they are the future of the company. I must admit I never expected us to end up winning in both categories. It’s a real honour being based here in Brighouse, to receive this recognition. It means a lot to our team.”

Other nominations in the category included Faith PR, BPM Tech and the Lenny Agency.

Faith PR is one of West Yorkshire’s fastest growing PR and communications agencies, having grown its turnover fivefold in the past three years. It has outgrown two offices in the past 20 months - which has seen it move back to Brighouse.

BPM Tech is an IT recruitment specialist formed in 2012 when directors Matt Robinson and Ben Whiteley had their Eureka moment when working for one of the UK’s leading recruitment agencies. They thought they could build an IT recruitment company that was more efficient and more effective.

The Lenny Agency was founded in 2009 by Emma and Craig Leonard, and is a full service agency that offers PR, design, digital and photography. The agency has always called Brighouse home. Its turnover and profits continue to experience steady growth, having experienced an increase in turnover of 15 per cent in each of the past three years.