Home Business Awards & Achievements Entrepreneurial awards recognise North East business talent

Entrepreneurial awards recognise North East business talent

L-R: Graham Sleep, Toby Bridges, Tony Cleary, Lorna Moran OBE, Dan Martin

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum has recognised the founder and chairman of a regional recruitment specialist with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lorna Moran, chairman of Northern Recruitment Group (NRG), was one of several North East business leaders honoured for their success and dedication at its 16th annual North East Entrepreneurial Awards.

Hosted by local sporting legend Steve Cram CBE, and delivered in partnership with Fairstone Group, the North East Entrepreneurial Awards celebrates the region’s most aspirational and inspiring business leaders.

Lorna Moran began her working life as a recruitment consultant before founding Geordie Job Finders in 1976, which later became NRG. The Newcastle-headquartered company provides specialist recruitment solutions throughout a range of sectors.


With Sir Peter Vardy, Lorna also founded the Entrepreneurs’ Forum in 2003 with the aim of providing inspiration and a helping hand to established North East entrepreneurs.

Lorna, who was awarded an MBE for services to employment creation and an OBE for services to enterprise promotion, said: “As one of the original founders of the Forum 16 years ago, I am delighted that it has not only survived but thrived and continues to be very relevant today.

“For me, it confirms that entrepreneurs are coming together to listen to inspirational success stories, encourage and mentor each other and share ideas creates an organisation like no other for the region.

“On a personal level, working with many inspirational members of the Forum helped me enormously in growing my own business NRG.”

Tony Cleary, founder of the family owned Lanchester Group, was named Entrepreneur of the Year. Founded in 1980 by Tony and his wife Veronica, Lanchester Group has grown into one of the UK’s leading suppliers of quality wines and spirits.

The Emerging Talent Award, open to those who have built up a business of outstanding potential, trading for six years or less, went to Dan Martin, CEO of Consett-based Elmtronics. Since it was formed in 2014, Elmtronics has grown to become the UK’s largest independent supplier and installer of electric charging points.

The Scale-up Award, which acknowledges those business owners who have led their company to achieve 20 percent plus annualised growth in either turnover, profit or employee numbers for the past three years, was presented to Toby Bridges, Executive Chairman of Killingworth-based supply chain management company, The NBT Group.

The Mentor of the Year title was presented to Graham Sleep of IA Growth who was recognised for his ongoing support to fellow entrepreneurs’ businesses, with those who had worked closely with him describing him as a ‘fantastic mentor’ and a ‘great visionary’.

Jonathan Lamb, Chief Executive of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “We received extremely strong nominations throughout each of the five award categories which showcases the depth and calibre of entrepreneurial talent within this region.

“Each of our award winners has played a huge part in creating innovative businesses which have delivered both jobs and prosperity to the North East. They are shining examples of this region’s entrepreneurial spirit and I hope their example will inspire a new generation of business leaders.”

The event was also a major fundraiser for COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas), with guests supporting the charity to the tune of nearly £5,000.

Since the Forum’s launch, over £500,000 has been raised to support local and national charities.

The awards celebration kicked off a new season of Forum events which includes events with Dean Benson of Visualsoft, Jason Maguire of Frank’s the Flooring Store, Dr Tony Trapp of OSBIT, and the Forum’s annual autumn conference, Fortune Favours the Brave.

The 2019 Entrepreneurial Awards were supported by Fairstone Group, Ward Hadaway, North East Growth Hub, IA Growth, Malhotra Group, Brewin Dolphin, Ithica Films and Westray Recruitment.

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