Companies awarded for doing the business

Lynn Shepherd, of Oxford Instruments, with her award

The Aspire Oxfordshire team celebrate

Kriss Akabusi with a guest

First published in Headlines Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Business Editor. Call me on 01865 425460

THE top boss of a successful telecommunications company was today adjusting to his new role as Oxfordshire Business Person of the Year.

Brendon Cross, managing director of Witney-based STL Communications, landed the individual prize sponsored by finance firm Shaw Gibbs at the Oxfordshire Business Awards and immediately dedicated the honour to his staff.

Mr Cross said: “I am overwhelmed. It is not about me but everyone that works for me – it is all about them.

“This is the direct result of huge efforts by everyone at STL. It is fantastic to be recognised by your peers especially in the face of such strong competition.”

STL was started in 2005 by Mr Cross after he sold his previous telecoms business Spire Telecom and has enjoyed major growth over the past seven years, employing more than 40 staff.

The overall Allmakes 4X4 Oxfordshire Business of the Year was hi-tech engineering firm Oxford Instruments based at Tubney Woods, near Abingdon.

The first commercial spin-out from Oxford University, it was rewarded for its impressive turnaround from being a loss-making firm making redundancies seven years ago to a global company that last week unveiled a 60 per cent rise in its pre-tax profits to £42m.

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Communications director Lynn Shepherd said: “This has been the best year we have had and the award just finishes it off.

“Although we are a global company, we were born in Oxford and we are very proud of our roots. Our staff will be absolutely delighted – it will give a real boost to everyone in the office.”

More than 500 people attended the celebration at the Four Pillars Hotel, in Sandford-on-Thames, with a total of 16 awards handed out to companies and individuals from across the county.

Guests heard from former Olympic athlete Kriss Akabusi, who was guest speaker and compere for the evening.

The winner of The Oxford Times Charity and Community Award was Aspire Oxfordshire, based in Oxford, which helps homeless people and those with a history of addiction back into the workplace.

Chief executive Jenny Fox said: “This means so much to the whole organisation. It will raise our profile and enable us to help more people living on the edge of society get back into work.”

Chipping Norton Theatre claimed the Four Pillars Cultural Events and Tourism Award which was described as “fantastic and amazing” by head of operations Amby Hitchcox. She added: “We have worked very hard and I am hugely proud of our success.”

And Jonathan Tibbetts, of Banbury-based auto parts distributor The Tibetts Group, won the Shaw Gibbs Young Business Person of the Year.

He said: “In the past eight years since I took over, the whole team has been amazing. It’s great to take this back to Banbury.”

The awards have been running for 18 years. Organisers hailed this as the most successful yet with more than 250 entries. Awards chairman Paul Lowe said: “It was a great 18th birthday party. The ceremony was brilliantly presented by Kriss Akabusi who energised the large audience.

“Every one of the finalists should feel justifiably proud of their efforts.”

* For the full roll of honour and more pictures, see today's Oxford Mail

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