THE finalists for the 2015 CN Group Business Awards have been chosen, and the judges say the standard is higher than ever.

The annual awards celebrate the achievements and enterprise of Cumbrian businesses and are run by CN Group, publisher of the Times & Star.

They will be presented at a gala dinner at Carlisle Racecourse on October 21.

The judges have met to pick 43 finalists, revealed today, and 15 winners, whose identity will be kept under wraps until the awards night.

They range from small firms such as Chimney Sheep, the Maryport business that developed a range of draught excluders for chimneys made from Cumbrian Herdwick wool, to industrial heavyweights including Iggesund Paperboard and Oxley Group.

Marie Whitehead, director of CN Events, who chaired the judging panel, said: “Once again the task of judging has been both rewarding and challenging as the quality of entries rises each year.

“It is highly encouraging to see so many businesses investing in their products, their staff and their premises to make sure the business offer in Cumbria remains strong and vibrant.”

The other members of the panel were Paul Ashley, chairman of Clark Door in Carlisle; Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce; Danny Martin, head of brand and communications at Westmorland Ltd; and Julian Whittle of Cumbrian Newspapers.

The awards are sponsored by Cumbria Business Growth Hub and Rural Growth Network.

Some businesses are in contention for more than one prize.

Chimney Sheep is shortlisted under innovation, environmental awareness and new business.

The new Lakes Distillery at Setmurthy, near Cockermouth is also a contender in the innovation and new business categories.

One business already knows it has won. AWS Power, at Linstock near Carlisle, is the only entry shortlisted in the agribusiness category, introduced this year.

The judges felt the category was still building up potential but AWS was a worthy winner, doing a great job in bringing anaerobic digestion technology into the farming marketplace.

All the shortlisted businesses receive two complimentary tickets for the awards dinner.


Training and Development: Livingstone Surface Treatments, Egremont; Margrange Electrical, Whitehaven; Stone Eden Training, Aglionby.

Exporter of the Year: Enesco, Carlisle; Hawkshead Relish; Playdale Playgrounds, Haverthwaite.

Community Involvement: Net Development, Kendal; REACT Engineering, Cleator Moor; Theatre by the Lake, Keswick.

Innovation: Chimney Sheep, Maryport; Oxley Group, Ulverston; Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite.

Environmental Awareness: Chimney Sheep, Maryport; Iggesund Paperboard, Workington; Nurture Lakeland, Kendal.

Agribusiness of the Year: AWS Power, Carlisle.

Tourism and Hospitality: Lakes Lodges, Hawkshead; Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite; Walby Farm Park, Carlisle.

New Business of the Year: Chimney Sheep, Maryport; The Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite; World of Ukes, Carlisle.

Service Business of the Year: Baines Wilson, Carlisle; North Associates, Carlisle; Prima Uno, Cleator Moor.

Manufacturing Business of the Year: Iggesund Paperboard, Workington; Oxley Group, Ulverston; Innovia Films, Wigton.

Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media: Armstrong Watson, Carlisle; Enesco, Carlisle; Sally's Cottages, Keswick.

Customer Service Excellence: Enesco, Carlisle; Sally's Cottages, Keswick; Wild River, Calthwaite.

Rising Star: Sam Morris, Askins & Little, Carlisle; Rachel Parker, Parkers Riding School, Cockermouth; Stephanie Tootill, Playdale Playgrounds, Haverthwaite.

Businessperson of the Year: Mark Telford, Forth Engineering, Maryport; Sally Fielding, Sally's Cottages, Keswick; Islam Pearson, EcoLogicLiving, Carlisle.

Social Enterprise: Amy's Care CIC, Wigton; Happy Mums' Foundation, Carlisle; West House, Workington.