THE North-East boasts some of the UK’s best known private businesses, with a heritage dating back hundreds of years in some cases, writes Lee Stamp, head of PwC’s private client team in Newcastle.

These businesses were founded by entrepreneurs, who spotted an opportunity and exploited it.

At PwC we feel it is only right to celebrate those companies who have been leading the way in helping to rebuild the UK’s economic health. We are therefore supporting the UK Private Business Awards for the fourth year running.

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The Private Business Awards are a national initiative, sponsored by PwC and in association with HSBC Private Bank and Ford Sinclair. They recognise the most successful companies and individuals in the private sector.

Nominations for the awards are now open and we would urge private businesses across the North East to share your stories and nominate yourself in one or more of the ten categories, including Private Business Woman of the Year, Family Business of the Year and Venture Capital Backed Business of the Year.

Last year saw some of the North-East’s leading private businesses shortlisted. Gateshead-based Express Engineering, one of the UK’s largest contract manufacturing solution suppliers to the oil and gas market, made the shortlist in the Employer of the Year category. In the last five years the business has continued to invest, more than doubling both its manufacturing floor space and staff numbers.

Sheffield Forgemasters, one of the UK’s leading heavy engineering firms, was also shortlisted for Employer of the Year, as well as the company’s CEO, Dr. Graham Honeyman triumphing and taking home the award for CEO of the Year.

Dr Graham Honeyman said: “I hope by winning it will act as an incentive for other North-East firms to enter. These awards give private businesses the opportunity to share their successes and gain recognition for their innovative work on a national stage, and pitch themselves rightly alongside some of the UK’s leading brands.”

The awards will be judged by a panel of business leaders, including Angus Thirlwell of Hotel Chocolat, Mark Pears of William Pears Group and Sir Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse.

The nomination period runs from 21 January to 28 February 2014. The deadline for submitting a full entry form is 25 April 2014. The awards shortlist will be announced on 4 June 2014 and the winners of the Private Business Awards will be announced at a gala dinner on 10 September 2014.

To find out more about the awards or to nominate a business, visit