Winners Celebrate a Year of Success at MKBAA 2020

In the week that the severity of the spread of COVID-19 within the UK became apparent, we caught up, via email and conference call, with some of the winners of this year’s Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards to find out what winning means to them and how they hope it will impact the future of their business.

SBD Automotive, winners of Milton Keynes most prestigious award for Business of the Year, is made up of a global team of specialists who have focused exclusively on automotive technology for more than two decades. David Bell, CEO, told us: “The theme of this years’ awards was the health and wellbeing of people and MK. This is what encouraged us to enter. We were very surprised to win our category and to win the overall award for best business was really incredible.”

When asked about the impact David hopes the awards will have on his business, he said: “For me, the main impact is to show the great work that all of our staff do and for them to feel proud that their efforts make a difference and are being recognised.”

Jo Green, Director of Safety Centre (Hazard Alley) spoke to us about winning this years’ Innovation Award: “We’re known for our children’s interactive safety learning village, but we also offer health and safety training courses for local businesses and the income generated helps subside the children’s safety education programme, so being highlighted through the awards is hugely important.”

Winners of the Business Impact in the Community category, MyMiltonKeynes, the Milton Keynes Business Improvement District, which gives businesses within the Central Milton Keynes area the power to get together, decide what improvements they want to make in their city centre and how they will be managed, were “absolutely ecstatic!” to take home the trophy.

Melanie Beck, CEO, explains: “It was great to once again see so many business people, from the diverse and vibrant business community in Milton Keynes, celebrating one another’s achievements – the network in Milton Keynes really do know how to support and collaborate, particularly in the current circumstances.”

The health and wellbeing theme dominated conversations throughout the night at MKBAA2020, with the increasing prevalence of mental and emotional support in the workplace highlighted by speakers and key guests alike.

Winners of the Design & Creativity Award, Cygnus, commented: “The importance of health and wellbeing in the city was delivered throughout the night and an overall atmosphere and sense of celebration was thoroughly felt and enjoyed. The event was professional and probably the best we have experienced in the six years

we’ve attended.”

Olivia Sugden, Chief Executive of Ride High, a local charity that transforms the lives of disadvantaged children by giving them the opportunity to learn to ride and look after horses and ponies, explained the impact that she would like to see as a result of their Charity of the Year Award win. She said: “Ride High is the perfect partner for companies looking for CSR opportunities, as we can provide a diverse and rewarding experience right in the heart of Milton Keynes, so it would be the icing on the cake to make new connections and create a ‘win, win’ for businesses that would like to partner with us!”

Following its large redevelopment in 2019, MK Gallery was thrilled to pick up the award for Culture & Arts. Billie Passchier, Events and Marketing Manager, explains: “MK Gallery is an educational charity and we depend on support from local businesses and individuals to deliver our work with schools and community groups​ across the city. We worked very hard to open the renovated building in 2019 and so to get the recognition of this award is fantastic.”

Finally, we spoke to Xero, winners of the Technology Business Award, who said: “We were absolutely ecstatic when we heard that we had won. It’s great to win awards, but even more so to be recognised in your local business community. There were many admirable businesses in the running, and we are honoured to have

been selected.”

Chair of Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership and organiser of the awards, Nicholas Mann, said: “It’s been fantastic to hear from just some of our 2020 winners and I would like to once again say a huge congratulations to all of our finalists and winners of this year’s awards. Thank you to our amazing sponsors, from our headliners Shoosmiths, KPMG, The Open University and Milton Keynes Council, special recognition award sponsors Hillier Hopikins and Barclays to all of our category sponsors and event sponsors, including All Things Business for sponsoring this years’ VIP Reception.”

MKBAA 2020 Winners:

Professional Services: Sponsored by dbfb

Cook Investment Group

Charity of the Year: Sponsored by Bletchley Park

Ride High

Business Impact in the Community: Sponsored by NiftyLift

My Milton Keynes

Leisure & Entertainment: Sponsored by Milton Keynes Community Foundation

Willen Lake

New Business: Sponsored by Cranfield University

Spotless Garments

Design & Creativity: Sponsored by MKBLP


Small & Medium Business: Sponsored by SJD Electrical

SBD Automotive

Customer Service: Sponsored by Holiday Inn Milton Keynes

Acorn Early Years Foundation

Culture & Arts: Sponsored by David Lock Associates

MK Gallery

Technology Business: Sponsored by Integral Powertrain


Entrepreneur of the Year: Sponsored by Keens Shay Keens

Tref Griffiths

Health & Wellbeing: Sponsored by Mazars

Personal Group

Innovation: Sponsored by Suzuki

Safety Centre (Hazard Alley)

Business of the Year Award: Sponsored by Hillier Hopkins

SBD Automotive

Lifetime Achievement Award: Sponsored by Barclays

Dame Cleo Laine DBE, Founder of The Stables