A range of borough businesses have been honoured for their work in the community after receiving help to set up.
Individuals and businesses who had received support from Ixion were invited to the inaugural Ixion North East Enterprise Awards at the Village Urban Resort at Cobalt Business Park.
His Grace the Duke of Northumberland was among the guests to hand out the awards, which went to a community interest theatre group, care provider, computer centre and sound deadening company.
The Duke said: “Small businesses play a key role in the economy of our region and Ixion provide vital support, helping many of them to start up, survive and thrive.”
John Govett, chief executive of Ixion Holdings, said: “We recognised some outstanding small businesses all brought to fruition with the help and support of Ixion business advisers in the north east.”
Red Diamond, a community interest theatre company, won the Community Impact award. Set up by Alison Stanley and Tracy Cadman it offers performing arts to all members of the community, regardless of age, ability or disability.
Alison said: “We are so excited and proud of our award. It is fantastic and reassuring to know we are doing something right.
“Thank you for all the support we have received, it’s been invaluable. Our award has given us the push to pursue our goals.”
Jon Mentell, who started Your Computer Centre in North Shields, took home the Challenger Award.
Jon, who had seen two previous businesses collapse due to franchisor failure, said: “I am ecstatic at winning this award.
“It is only at times like this that you reflect on the journey we have been on and realise what we have achieved so far despite all the sleepless nights and worry.”
The Innovation award went to SoundDampedSteel.com, owned by Les Thompson on Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate.
Using a small redundancy package and a pension encashment in 2013, he invested in machinery and a website to sell his products online.
Les said: “Thank you Ixion for your help & support. I am delighted to have received the prestigious innovation award, it will certainly help the growth of my business.”
Garry Dawson’s business CD Heritage Ltd, of Whitley Bay, won the Outstanding Product category.
The business works with the UK’s cultural and heritage retail sectors, creating original artwork or accepting high resolution images from clients and then translating these across a wide range of retail products.
The Outstanding Service award went to Bluebird Care North Tyneside, started in 2013 by Julie McLellan.
Providing domiciliary care offering high quality care to adults in their own homes, they offer a wide selection of services which are totally bespoke from shopping and domestic calls to end of life care.
Julie said: “Bluebird Care North Tyneside are thrilled to have won the award for outstanding service as we pride ourselves on quality for our customers. Thank you to the Ixion team at the Business Factory for helping us on the way.”
Runners up were Whitley Bay Skate Club, The Chocolate Smiths, Green Frog Developments, Happy Planet Creative Arts and Dream Pop Bakery.
Special awards were given to North Tyneside Council Adult Learning Alliance and Dave Stewart of Avanta, whose support has helped Ixion achieve its success in the region and North Tyneside in particular.