All our entries are independently judged by a carefully selected panel of industry experts and insiders.

Judges will score and pick the shortlists in each of the 20 categories from information provided and research done on the individual entries.

Lisa Baker

Editor, HR News |

Following a career of Entrepreneurship, Lisa Baker is the founder and Editor of HR News, and also works as Head of Marketing for Activ People HR. Lisa has a law degree and is a keen commentator on HR issues.

Professor John Davies

Associate Dean Enterprise and Industry Engagement, Salford Business School |

After working in technical and management roles in both SMEs and multinationals in chemical processing and building service industries for 13 years, John joined the University of Salford in 1992.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI), a Chartered Quality Professional (CQP), former Chief Examiner for the CQI, and Chair of the CQI's Northern Region.

John's current areas of research activity are the implementation of Quality Systems, Models and Techniques in a range of organisational contexts, Service Quality, Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Development, and Knowledge Transfer between HEIs and SMEs. He is a member of the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Quality, TQM Journal, Quality Assurance in Education and the International Journal of Lean Six Sigma. He has published over 55 refereed papers and has a successful record of PhD completions under his supervision.

He has extensive experience in working with organisations through funded projects in business process development, quality and performance improvement, is a Judge for the Salford Business Awards and a Juror for the North of England Excellence Awards.

Jon Fairburn

Professor of Sustainable Development, Staffordshire University Business School |

I am active in teaching, research and knowledge transfer. I have had a particular interest in recent years in EU projects and have participated in three large funded projects (two on energy and one on innovation support measures) as well as a range of smaller ones.  I am also the faculty co-ordinator for the ERASMUS programme.

More recently I have been working on rural business and rural tourism issues, this includes sitting on the Economy Themed Action Group for the Staffordshire Rural Forum. 

Apart from teaching undergraduate and postgraduate teaching my main duties are consultancy for the university. Clients include the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Agency, Scottish Executive as well as a range of regional clients.

Kevin Feddy

Former Business Editor, Manchester Evening News |

Kevin Feddy is a vastly-experienced and respected journalist who worked on daily newspapers for more than 25 years.

He spent most of his newspaper career at leading regional title the Manchester Evening News, where he was business editor until 2013 before he established his own public relations, copy writing and media training agency.

In total, he worked for more than 12 years on the MEN’s business desk, building a fantastic network of contacts.

Rianna Fulam

Staff Writer, Executive Grapevine |

After graduating with an English degree from the University of Sheffield, Rianna joined Executive Grapevine as an intern in 2014, before moving to Japan to teach English for a year. 

On returning to Executive Grapevine in 2016 as a Reporter, Rianna now works across all three brands, delivering content relevant to HR, Recruitment and Business leaders.

Her role ranges from interviewing professionals for in-depth features about industry trends, reporting on national news and supporting the launch of Business Grapevine.


Mandy Garner

Editor, |

Mandy Garner is Editor of which promotes best practice in gender diversity and flexible working. She has worked for over 25 years as a journalist, working for the BBC, Times Higher Education, Community Care magazine and for the University of Cambridge. She also worked for six years as a researcher for the writers' organisation International PEN for their Writers in Prison Committee.

Philip Hargreaves

Head of Access to Finance, Business Growth Hub |

Philip has worked in commercial and corporate banking for the past 35 years. He is now responsible for the Hub’s Access to Finance Team, together with the North West Business Angels and the Grants Advisory Service.

Working closely with partners in the business and professional communities, Philip and his team are passionate about supporting local SMEs who are looking to grow.

Chris Marsh

Director, UKFast |

Chris has worked in the tech industry in Manchester since 2000 and is now Director of Partner Development at UKFast and a member of the Manchester Digital Council.

His days consist of assisting to build the brand at UKFast and helping businesses which they are working with.

Chris also sits on steering committees to help industry sectors at Pro Manchester, he is an ambassador for Forever Manchester, a mentor with the Business Growth Hub, helps to run a Code Club to teach primary school children how to use IT skills and a school governor.