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Business Achievement Awards

Business Achievement Awards 2015

The University of Wolverhampton was proud to host its second Business Achievement Awards (BAA's) on 1 July at the Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton.

High climbing businesses, organisations and big achievers were all part of the celebrations at this prestigious event.

The bi-annual awards, hosted by the university, provide the opportunity to acknowledge both individuals and organisations that have demonstrated business excellence in a number of categories from business innovation and partnerships, to graduate employment support and alumnus' contribution to society. Nominations were made for the graduates, organisations, employers, alumni and graduate start-ups that deserved recognition for their contribution to business, enterprise and the economy.

A carefully chosen judging panel, made up of representatives from within the university and also the broader business community, selected the winners with the exception of the Graduate Start-up of the Year. This award was voted for by the audience on the night, with the winner taking away a well-deserved prize of capital investment in their business. 

The winners in each of the seven categories were:



Business Innovation of the Year

Odour Services International Limited

Strategic Business Partner of the Year

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

Graduate Employer of the Year

Enterprise Rent-a-car

Graduate Employee of the Year

Leirom Puno

Alumnus of the Year: Leadership

Ian Powell

Alumnus of the Year: Contribution to Society

Lisa Potts

Graduate Start-up of the year

Sensory Wise Ltd


Congratualtions to all of the winners, and also the runners-up on the night - all of whom demonstrated excellent innovation, dedication and business acumen.
For more information on the award categories and the shortlisted finalists, see the list below:


Business Innovation of the Year

This award recognised a distinctive innovation that has been successfully implemented within a business and has transformed the way the company works.

This year's finalists were:

  • Integrated System Technologies
  • Odour Services International Limited
  • Severn Partnership - Seeable LLP

The winner of the Business Innovation of the Year award was Odour Services International Limited.

Specialising in the field of odour and air pollution treatment, Odour Services International (OSIL) is committed to developing innovative technologies and lower cost, sustainable solutions. An improvement to take the highly successful biological treatment LavaRok® system to the next level was identified as a strategic requirement for the business. OSIL collaborated with the University to expand the current knowledge base and set up laboratory facilities to develop a new generation of non-chemical systems. The programme has enabled the strategic positioning of OSIL as the UK’s leading odour control specialist, generating a bottom line increase of £1.2 million profit. The advancement also creates the potential for OSIL to design bespoke biofiltration systems, which the market requires to meet specific odour problems.

Congratulations to everyone at Odour Services International Limited.



Graduate Employee of the Year

This award acknowledged a graduate of the University of Wolverhampton for the significant impact and contribution they have made within a business or organisation.

This year's finalists were:

  • Abbie Crane
  • Sarah Moorhouse
  • Leirom Puno

The winner of the Graduate Employee of the Year award was Leiron Puno from Fabweld Steel Products Ltd.

Fabweld Steel Products Ltd (FSP) required a high calibre design graduate to assist with their objective to design a range of high security access covers for the French water industry. Leirom Puno, recruited via the KEEN Project, initially joined the team for nine months but has had his contract extended by 12 months following outstanding work. Leirom identified how products could be improved with multiple prototypes; working with fabricators and the technical team, he developed a range of products, including a unique locking device. FSP has since delivered in excess of £50,000 of high security products into the French water industry, increasing turnover and expanding its product portfolio. 

Congratulations to Leirom for the recognition of his hard work.



Graduate Employer of the Year

This award celebrated the efforts of a business or organisation that actively recruits University of Wolverhampton graduates, providing them with relevant work experience and the opportunity to further develop their professional skills.

This year's finalists were:

  • Hill & Co.
  • Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car

The winner of Grauate Employer of the Year was Enterprise Rent-a-Car

Enterprise Rent-a-Car (ERAC) has a fundamental local focus despite its position as a global organisation with more than 7,000 airport and major city locations. Its graduate scheme allows graduates to learn all aspects of the business, working their way up to branch manager in as little as two years. ERAC also offers current students the opportunity to carry out a 12-month placement or summer internship. The University of Wolverhampton is ERAC’s largest recruitment source in the West Midlands; every year, the company employs a number of graduates on its management trainee programme and 20 of our graduates are currently working for ERAC in the West Midlands region.

Congratulations to everyone at Enterprise Rent-a-Car and thanks for all the support you provide to our graduates.




Graduate Start-up of the Year

This award celebrated an outstanding graduate start-up, created in the last three years, that has successfully gone on to trade and grow within that time. The winner of this category was presented with a £3000 investment into their business to allow them to continue growing and developing.

This year's finalists were:

  • Vital Oven Cleaners
  • VOiD Applications
  • Sensory Wise Ltd

The winner of Graduate Start-up of the Year was Sensory Wise Ltd.

Lucy Taylor established Sensory Wise with the intention of raising awareness of a disorder that has directly impacted her family. Founded in September 2014 after Lucy joined the SPEED Plus programme, Sensory Wise’s primary purpose is to raise awareness of sensory processing disorder (SPD) by providing expert advice, information and resources to families, schools and educators. It helps to improve circumstances for families with children who have SPD and other complex needs by bringing toys, equipment and educational resources closer to the children that need them.

The decision to take the business online has positioned Sensory Wise as a sound and sustainable enterprise, as competitors have traditionally focused on retail only. The online Sensory Wise Shop offers sensory gifts and tools to benefit families and children. Lucy plans to apply for trademark registration and to locate premises wherein she can permanently hold stock, including Sensory Wise branded products following initial discussions with manufacturers. She also plans to grow the education side of the business with organised events and workshops. In Lucy’s own words: “I now have the confidence in my abilities and the worth of my business to make the most of this opportunity.”

Congratulations to Lucy Taylor and all associated with Sensory Wise Ltd. We look forward to following your continued success in the future.


Strategic Business Partner of the Year

This award celebrated a business that has worked collaboratively with the University of Wolverhampton and has demonstrated that they have contributed to the vision and values of the University.

This year's finalists were:

  • Glancy Nicholls Architects
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
  • Carillion PLC

The winner of the Strategic Business Partner of the Year award was Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club.

Uniting two of the city’s largest organisations, this effective partnership has two clear objectives: Wolverhampton Wanderers’ expanding Graduate Internship Programme, which places University-sourced interns within its Academy and marketing departments; and the publicity of the University to regional and national audiences via stadium-based branding opportunities, as well as its positioning as the title sponsor of the Club’s outstanding Academy. This mutually beneficial relationship has resulted in exposing the University to a wider audience, broadening the Club’s scope to engage with potential partners, and delivering significant time savings for permanent staff through the Academy internships, which meet the University’s objective to remain in line with latest research.

Congratulations to our partners, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.


Alumnus of the Year: Leadership

This award acknowledged an alumnus of the University, who has gone on to make an important contribution to a business, industry or community through innovative leadership.

This year's finalists were:

  • Mike Foster
  • Jo Lopes
  • Ian Powell

The winner of the Alumnus of the Year: Leadership award was Ian Powell from PricewaterhouseCoopers

Re-elected as Chairman for a second term in 2012, Ian Powell remains dedicated to embedding corporate social responsibility within PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). He is one of five members of PwC’s Network Leadership Team, and is responsible for the Central Cluster which accounts for half of PwC’s worldwide revenues. Under Ian Powell’s chairmanship, PwC is committed to tackling social exclusion and alleviating UK unemployment through partner projects such as Brigade, a social enterprise bistro offering work experience and qualifications to people at risk of homelessness via its six-week ‘Freshlife’ programme. Ian’s focus on employability has resulted in a year-on-year increase in graduate entry positions, filling 1,300 positions last year. The UK practice employs 18,000 staff with revenues of £2.8 billion in the UK.

Congratulations to Ian Powell for his outstanding leadership achievements.



Alumnus of the Year: Contribution to Society

This award recognised an alumnus of the University who has made a notable contribution to society by overcoming personal adversity and/or improving the lives of others.

This year's finalists were:

  • Victorine Ngamsha
  • Jack Guishard
  • Lisa Potts

The winner of the Alumnus of the Year: Contribution to Society award was Lisa Potts.

In 2001, alumna Lisa Potts founded Believe to Achieve (B2A), a charity aiming to tackle low self-esteem in Wolverhampton children. B2A was set up in response to research that children with low self-esteem are more likely to have poor social skills, underachieve in school, and get involved in crime – and that these factors are all too common amongst Wolverhampton’s young people. The charity has grown substantially since 2001 when it served just two schools, and offers services including peer mentoring, therapy sessions and workshops. Qualified nurse Lisa has received 19 awards in the past 20 years, including the prestigious George Medal, and is highly regarded for her philanthropic work and tireless efforts to enhance self-esteem in the children of Wolverhampton.

We thank Lisa Potts for her efforts to improve children's lives in Wolverhampton and congratulate her on recieving this award.