Finalists Revealed, WOBA Class of 2014

Kelly Lea, WOBA

Wednesday February 5th 2014

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Entrants to the West Oxfordshire Business Awards 2014 gathered to discover if they had been shortlisted as a WOBA finalist at a vibrant Entrants’ Celebration event hosted at AirTanker in Brize Norton on Tuesday 4 February 2014.

The 33 finalists were selected across 11 award categories and the winners will be announced at an Awards Gala Dinner on 14 March 2014. Finalists include:

  • Huffkins – a renowned group of bakery and tea rooms that also claims to make David Cameron’s favourite cake (CETA Large Business Award)
  • Witney Lakes Resort – part of the District’s business community for 20 years and has evolved from a golf club to create a successful resort (Heythrop Park Leisure, Tourism and Hospitality Award)
  • Ross & Ross Food – artisan producer of potted meats and terrines sold in Harrods and Harvey Nichols and also the creator of the unique ‘Man Box’ a picnic box for men complete with a locally brewed beer (Hexagon Micro Business Award and Witney Business & innovation Centre New Business Award)

Commenting on becoming a WOBA finalist, Ross Bearman, Director of Ross & Ross Food said:

It’s amazing to be nominated for two categories. We are only two years old as a business and year one was particularly challenging considering we were starting-up a high end food business during a recession. We hope that recognition from WOBA will provide a platform to build on our success to help ensure Ross & Ross Food work as a growing business.

The number of entries has increased for the fourth consecutive year with the Hexagon Micro Business Award receiving 35 submissions, unprecedented for a new category. The STL Employer of the Year Award is also a new category for 2014, which sees Audley Travel, Torchbox and Wise Investments shortlisted.

Once again, we are thrilled by the number of entries received and have been taken by surprise at the popularity of our new categories. The judging process was extremely challenging this year with strong contenders for each award. We would like to congratulate all the finalists and encourage everyone who entered to take advantage of the networking opportunities available through the WOBA community. We would also like to thank AirTanker for hosting a brilliant Entrants’ Celebration event. Jo Sensecall, spokesperson for the WOBA organising team

AirTanker was independently shortlisted for the CETA Large Business of the Year Award. The company delivers aircraft, infrastructure and training in support of Voyager, the RAF’s new generation of multi roll tanker transport (MRTT), the UK Armed Forces and their global partners.

AirTanker is committed to playing its part within the community and where there are opportunities to work with local businesses, we are committed to taking them. It was a pleasure to host WOBA last night at such a well-supported event and we are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Large Business of the Year Award.Dave Mitchard, Managing Director, AirTanker Services

WOBA will host a glamorous Awards Gala Dinner at Heythrop Park (Friday 14 March) where category winners will be announced in addition to the overall winner of the prestigious Coutts Business of the Year Award.

The Coutts trophy, designed by students from Abingdon & Witney College and made by Brian Overton of charity and training centre Synolos, was revealed to all who attended the Entrants’ Celebration event at AirTanker.

2014 WOBA trophy. Picture: Ric Mellis

The WOBA charity for 2014 is Inclusive Care & Education (ICE), winner of the 2013 Polythene UK Charity & Community Award. ICE runs a variety of activities for disabled young people and those with additional needs at its centre in Carterton.


Notes to editor:

Photo caption: Delighted WOBA finalists gather by RAF Voyager, the largest aircraft in the RAF fleet, at the WOBA Entrants’ Celebration event held at AirTanker, Brize Norton.

For further information contact:
Kelly Lea, M: 07988 195 262, E:

2014 WOBA Finalist

CETA Large Business Award

  • AirTanker
  • Data Plastics
  • Huffkins

Strategic Mentors Small Business Award

  • CDO
  • CQR Consulting
  • Crocodiles of the World

Hexagon Business Centres Micro Business Award

  • Community Buying Unlimited
  • Ross & Ross Food
  • Woozelbears

Witney Business & Innovation Centre New Business Award

  • 123ICT
  • Cotswold Tailor
  • Ross & Ross Food

Ridgeway Business Person of the Year Award

  • Jon Cox – Adventure Plus
  • Robert Drake – CDO
  • Topsy Taee – Huffkins
  • mark-making* Social Media Award
  • Feathered Nest Inn
  • Just Fabrics
  • SpecialEffect

STL Communications Employer of the Year Award

  • Audley Travel
  • Torchbox
  • Wise Investments

Heythrop Park Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality Award

  • Four Pillars Witney
  • Hacketts
  • Witney Lakes Resort

Blenheim Palace Rural Business Award

  • Aston Pottery
  • Cogges Heritage Trust
  • Crocodiles of the World

Polythene UK Charity and Community Award

  • Base 33
  • ICE Centre
  • Synolos

Owen Mumford Innovation Award

  • Ice Oxford
  • Smooga
  • Sonnox

Coutts Business of the Year Award (The winning business from each category is automatically considered for the overall award).