A SUITABLY sparkling occasion was enjoyed by almost 400 people to celebrate the Silver Anniversary of the Press Business Awards.

Rapturous applause echoed from York Racecourse throughout Thursday evening as 16 awards were handed out in recognition of entrepreneurial success across York and North Yorkshire.

The last quarter of a century has seen the event grow from a small prize giving in the reception of The Press, to a larger affair at the Merchant Adventurers Hall, before taking the form of the region's largest dedicated awards for businesses of all sectors across North Yorkshire.

Alongside individual honours, such as the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Barry Dodd, the Business Personality of the Year Award, given to Rachel Goddard, and the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, presented to Ashley Hyde, award categories paid tribute to business of all ages and sizes, inviting entries from varying sectors, including the new Corporate Investment Award, won by Finance Yorkshire and People Development Award, presented to DE Ford.

The crown of Press Business of the Year was presented to the evening's Dare to Export winner MooD International.

York Press:

The software developer this won its third Queen’s Award for Enterprise, while also earning a top 10 listing in the Sunday Times SME Export Track 100, which put it at number one in Yorkshire.

From its base at York Science Park MooD provides a combination of software and consulting that allows large organisations to create models of their business to enable better management.

In just four years MooD has grown revenues by almost 60 per cent.

To accommodate this growth MooD has increased its workforce from 74 in 2011 to 93 at present, including taking on 44 new, highly skilled staff in the last 12 months alone, marking a 50 per cent increase in numbers.

Judges described the scale and speed of MooD growth both internationally and domestically as dramatically impressive, with the company boasting brand names across the world finance and IT sectors.

Campbell Harte, service delivery lead at MooD International, said: "This award is huge recognition of what we do. As a business we invest massively in York, our core business is based here. A lot of our development comes out of this city.

"It has been a really defining year for us. We have taken big decisions in terms of investment in our products and our software, and we have had huge wins in terms of key strategic partners.

"The most important thing for us is that it is sustainable growth.

"We have been here since 1997, it's not a fad, it's the result of an awful lot of hard work and an awful lot of investment."

Another big award on the night was the Lifetime Achievement Award, present to Barry Dodd, an OBE and CBE recipient, and Lord Lieutenant for North Yorkshire, as well as chairing the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership.

Collecting his award, Mr Dodd said: "This award could not have come in a more important community to me than the York business community.

"The Press do a great job in being behind these awards. They help to drive up the efficiencies and drive up the performance of business in this area."

For the first time in many years the Business Awards saw a cash prize of £5,000 handed out after The Press teamed up with Business Support York and North Yorkshire to run the Business Booster Competition as a special addition to the anniversary proceedings.

Following a much praised three-course dinner from the Racecourse's hospitality team, The Press invited Lesley Batchelor OBE, director general of the Institute of Export onto the stage as guest speaker.

York Press:

Ms Batchelor, who lives in York, said: "It's different doing business internationally, and that hasn't changed in the 80 years the Institute of Export has been around.

"The EU is our trading rock, and very very useful trading rock for us as just under 50 per cent of the UK's exports go to Europe, and we should never forget that.

"Germany and Ireland are big markets for us. The US is also up there, and then China is next, but the EU makes a good first starting point whenever you are going anywhere.

"Eleven per cent of businesses grow as soon as they go into international markets. Of the companies that started exporting six years ago, more than 50 per cent have stopped. That could be for a number of different reasons, they might be finding the currency exchanges difficult. Don't ever struggle, there are lot of ways of mitigating those risks.

"You have got something unique, you have got something that is British. The British brand is huge, we are very popular.

"Exporting is a very rewarding thing to do. Don't do it because its good for the Government, do it because its good for your business."