THE 'best and brightest' of the business world have been celebrated in the annual Cherwell Business Awards.

Local entrepreneurs, groups, and companies have been heralded as leading the way for business in the community and 11 winners were crowned for their efforts this month.

In front of almost 250 guests various firms were celebrated across categories including the Established Business Award won by Nicholson Nurseries, Innovation Award won by MH Development Engineering, and Micro Business Award won by Bicester Property Services.

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Among the winners was Bicester-based accountants Digital Accounting who was named as 'one to watch' after winning the New Business category.

The award judges highlighted the 'passion and energy' of directors, and noted its 'meteoric growth'.

Company owner Anna Nikolovska said: “We’re thrilled to have been named best New Business within the Cherwell district and thankful to everyone who has supported us.

"I can’t believe just two years on we are running an award-winning business."

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Other winners on the night included 9-2-3 Jobs taking home the small business award, Coles Bookstore winning the retail business award, sustainable business award going to ACE Training and Consultancy, Assure UK winning the Apprenticeship and Training Award, ARCh bagging the charity and community award, and taking home title of Business Person of the Year was Bicester Heritage director Daniel Geoghegan.

The winners were whittled down from 30 finalists, and hundreds more applicants, by the various judges before being crowned on May 10, at Heythrop Park.

The event, sponsored by Cherwell District Council, also held a raffle, using prizes donated by sponsors and supporters, which raised over £1,350 ARCh based in Bicester.

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An overall winning category was also presented and taking home the title was Mr Geoghegan of Bicester Heritage.

He said: "The Cherwell Business Awards stand out in recognising and celebrating business achievement each year; not only was it an honour to be nominated for Business Person of the Year, but tremendous to win such a competitive category.

"Being awarded Overall Winner from amongst such worthy nominees was a fabulous endorsement by our business peers, one which represents the strength of the team at Bicester Heritage and our success so far.

"Our thanks go to all judges and sponsors for making the Cherwell Business Awards such a successful night, and we look forward to playing our role in the dynamic Cherwell business environment in the years to come."