The Knavesmire last night (Thursday) staged one of the hottest events of the York business calendar on what was perhaps the coldest night of the year.

Hundreds donned their finery for the 2023 Press BusinessiQ business awards, which showcases the best of business in York and North Yorkshire.

The popular Press business awards date back more than 30 years and have established a benchmark of entrepreneurial excellence in the region.

The overall winner in the awards, whose headline sponsor was Hiscox Insurance, was IQ Engineers, which provides water and sewage engineering services.


Founded in 1996 by Mick Strodder and Rachel Lewis, the company operates from its offices and a factory in the Northminster Business Park.

IQ Engineers also won our Large Business Category, which was sponsored by YO1 Radio.

Small Business of the Year went to the thriving Ainsty Ales and Taproom based just outside York at Acaster Malbis. This category was sponsored by Hethertons Solicitors.

Ainsty Ales was created in 2014 by former York policeman Andy Herrington, who in addition to producing excellent beers, is also noted for his support for the Coptoberfest Beer Festival in Copmanthorpe.

York Press: Andy Herrington of Ainsty Ales, winner of the Small Business CategoryAndy Herrington of Ainsty Ales, winner of the Small Business Category (Image: Pic supplied)

New Business of the Year (sponsored by solicitors Lupton Fawcett) went to Homestead Kitchen of Goathland.

Chef Peter Neville and his partner Cecily Fearnley opened their restaurant in November 2021, gaining a top reputation for using organic vegetables and other locally sourced ingredients.

The Socially Responsible Business of the Year (sponsored by York St John University) went to Home Instead York.

The growing business provides home-based care services to the elderly, but also has other initiatives such as a companionship café, to help  elderly people get online.

Employer of the Year (sponsored by City Cruises) was Onebright, a leading provider of private outpatient mental health services in Holgate.

Personality of the Year (sponsored by York Race Course) went to Sarah Czarnecki.

York Press: Sarah Czarnecki is Business Personality of the YearSarah Czarnecki is Business Personality of the Year (Image: Pic supplied)

Sarah is a well-known York hotelier, who this year became President of the York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and more recently, also Director of the Business Clinic at York St John University.

The award for Business Innovation (sponsored by University of York) went to First Bus, which has been rolling out electric buses across York and North Yorkshire.

Family Business of the Year (sponsored by the Shepherd Group) went to JW Myers Monumental Masons, who make headstones, gravestones and other monuments.

The Potions Cauldron won Retail, Tourism and Leisure Business of the Year category, which is sponsored by York Data Services.

The Potions Cauldron is based in Shambles and its wizards make drinks and other magical products. The five year-old business has also expanded to Blackpool and Edinburgh.

York Press: Phil Pinder and Ben Fry of the Potion's Cauldron, who won in the Retail, Tourism and Leisure CategoryPhil Pinder and Ben Fry of the Potion's Cauldron, who won in the Retail, Tourism and Leisure Category (Image: supplied)

Manufacturer of the Year (sponsored by Parsons Accountants) went to Sheppee International of York, an 80-year-old business that makes equipment to help make glass products.

Finally, Apprentice of the Year (sponsored by Merchant Adventurers Hall) went to Debbie Bullock of Aviva.

York Press business editor Darren Greenwood said: “I come across many awards that serve businesses.

“The number and variety of the businesses that have taken part in our awards, some well-known, others less so, just confirm the premiere role of LocaliQ business awards in our region.

“Our judges have once again done an exceptionally thorough job in assessing the winners, who all have great stories to tell.

“We are grateful to them, our sponsors, and to the firms themselves for entering, as without them all, there would be no York Press business awards.”

  • Further details of the awards will be published in Saturday's York Press.
  • There will also be a 16-page awards supplement published in the issue of Wednesday December 6.