Commercial law firm Muckle LLP has topped a record year by being crowned regional Company of the Year at the North East Business Awards.

The win tops a stellar year for the Newcastle company, which only this week posted record results for a second year running, having expanded into new areas of operation. Muckle pipped Teesside technology firm razorblue and Wootzano, a Sedgefield robotics company, to the top prize, which was the penultimate trophy handed out at a black tie ball held at Hardwick Hall, near Sedgefield. More than 300 people had gathered for the key event in the North East business calendar.

The night was the first for a new-look North East Business Awards, held in conjunction with our sister publication the Gazette, and headline partnered by Sage UK and in association with Middlesbrough College Group. Sub-regional winners in 10 categories were revealed in July and each of those winners from Tyneside and Northumberland; Sunderland, County Durham and South Tyneside; and Teesside went head-to-head last night for the overall regional prize.

Read more: Newcastle law firm Muckle LLP highlights second year of record results

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Other winners on the night included Fairgrieve Compression Moulding, winner of the small business of the year award, Zentia, winner of our very first made in Britain award, and B A Joinery, which took home the growth award. For the first time, the business awards also shone light on a number of individuals including May James, of May James Ltd, who won the rising star award, and Paul Fiddaman of Karbon Homes, who won the business person of the year trophy.

Meanwhile, the event also hailed the unwavering commitment to the business community by James Ramsbotham, former CEO of the North East England Chamber of Commerce and now the chair of Newcastle Building Society. Mr Ramsbotham was given the outstanding contribution award.

Hundreds of businesses had entered this year’s event, and there were also prizes awarded on the night for outstanding contribution to North East business and the Prince’s Trust Young Achiever. The event, hosted by former athlete and presenter Iwan Thomas, was opened by Journal editor Graeme Whitfield, who highlighted the region’s undimmed resilience in the face of continuing challenges.

He said: “These are not easy times to do business. After Brexit, and Covid, and the cost-of-living crisis, there are always challenges out there. But that makes it even more important to celebrate the work of great companies around the North East, and that’s why we’re here. As the one person who read every single entry to this year’s awards - and there were lots - I know the companies represented tonight are resilient, innovative and just really good at what they do.

“And as a region, the North East continues to do brilliant things. We are leading the way in the push towards net zero, and it was heartening last night to see Nissan confirm its commitment to electric vehicles. There are cranes on the skylines of our biggest towns and cities and Greggs is slowly but inexorably taking over the UK, one vegan sausage roll at a time.

“Devolution in the North of Tyne and the Tees Valley has brought obvious benefits in recent years and by next summer the expanded North East deal means that the whole of the region will have devolution in place. This won’t solve all our problems overnight and the North East faces huge social challenges in many areas. But devolution is an opportunity to forge our own future and it is an opportunity we must not drop.”

Full list of winners

Global Britain Award – Reproflex3

Environmental and Sustainability Award, in partnership with SSE Energy Solutions – Clearly Drinks Ltd

The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever, in partnership with The Prince’s Trust – Amber-Ray Jamieson

Innovation Award, in partnership with Newcastle University – Wootzano Ltd

Growth Award, in partnership with Northumbrian Water – B A Joinery

Best Place to Work, in partnership with Nifco UK – Muckle LLP

Rising Star, in partnership with Egger (UK) Ltd – May James, May James Ltd

Made in Britain Award – Zentia

Business Person of the Year, in partnership with Middlesbrough College – Paul Fiddaman, Karbon Homes

Small Business of the Year – Fairgrieve Compression Moulding

Business of the Year, in partnership with Sage UK – Muckle LLP

Outstanding Contribution Award, in partnership with Karbon Homes – James Ramsbotham CBE