A business which grew from selling paper bags out of car boots to having an £18.5 million turnover was last night named the 2016 Leicester Mercury Business Awards Company of the Year.
Management from Clifton Packaging collected the accolade in front of almost 800 guests at a black tie ceremony at Leicester's Platinum Suite.
Clifton was picked as the best of the best, thanks to the comprehensive way it has met the demands of its clients as it continues to grow.
Mainly focused on the food industry, the Meridian Business Park group's packaging has been used by some of the UK's biggest multi-nationals – including brewing giant SAB Miller, Renshaw Simply Melt and the Weight Watchers brand.
The company – which employs 75 people – is run by respected businessman Shahid Sheikh, and was launched in 1981 after the family fled to the UK from Idi Amin's brutal regime in 1970s Uganda.
Janine Edwards, principal partner of St James's Place Wealth Management, led the Company of the Year judging team.
She said: "Picking from the finalists was extremely difficult.
"They were all winners in different ways and all should be very proud to have made it as far as they did – especially as Qualvis Print and Town and Country Petfoods had both entered for the first time.
"Clifton Packaging won overall as they were the perfect mix of success in their industry, growth, innovation, vision, employee engagement and development and community support."
The owners of Bruntingthorpe proving ground, C Walton, were named Small Business of the Year; Payment Assist was New Business of the Year; Tinku Durrani, of Universal Flexible Packaging, was Business Entrepreneur of the Year; and Narborough Hall won the Sales and Marketing Award.
Nova Laboratories won both the Excellence in Science and Technology Award and International Trade Award; Harborough Market was Retail Business of the Year: boat maker Rib-X won the Excellence in Manufacturing Award; and Sublime Science was handed the Services Award.
The other winners were Maber, who was named Creative Industries Business of the Year; Hinckley & Rugby Building Society, which got the Contribution to the Community Award; Alex's Wish, which got the Not-For-Profit Organisation Award; and EMH Group which got the Apprentice Employer of the Year.
A special Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Ian Mattioli, chief executive of Leicestershire Wealth Management Company Mattioli Woods.
The Leicester Mercury ran the awards for the fourth year running again in partnership with branding agency Champions (UK) Plc, based near Loughborough.
Champions managing director Matthew Hayes said: "Expectations for the evening were high – but it certainly didn't fail to deliver.
"It is always a pleasure being so closely involved with these awards and we want to congratulate both the winners and the finalists of each category.
"I did not envy the sponsor's job of choosing the winners, but the eventual winners showed exceptional innovation, and true success over the past 12 months and it is a great comfort knowing that these businesses work among us."
Chris Darlington, partner at accountants Mazars, said they chose Tinku Durrani as Executive of the Year because of his "all round" drive and vision.
He said: "His achievements demonstrate a single-minded determination to succeed, a total commitment to the product, market and customer – customers must always come first – and some sound commercial and financial acumen and judgement."
Mercury managing director David Simms said: "There is no doubt that the winners are all fantastic success stories."
Source : leicestermercury.co.uk