Held on International Women’s day, the theme for Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards (MKBAA) 2018 was International Trade, deliberately chosen to reflect the fact that the UK is about to leave the European Union and achieve Brexit.

The big winners of Milton Keynes’ most prestigious awards were Aero Tec Laboratories, who picked up Business of the Year, as well as a category award for Innovation and Technology; Roger Bowden, who was presented with the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, and Media Hawk, who received MKBAA’s themed award for International Trade.

The awards, which celebrated the great work achieved by businesses across Milton Keynes, saw more entries and a bigger, better and more glamourous awards evening than ever before.

Aero Tec Laboratories (ATL) manufactures composite bladder devices and fluid transfer systems for Racing Cars, Aircraft, Space Craft, Defence Vehicles, Submersibles, Marine Craft and Industry. Proudly remaining a world leader in Fuel Cell Design and Technology, ATL holds an impressive list of valued repeat customers, including the supply of every Formula 1 team for over two decades. The judges were unanimous in awarding ATL the title of Business of the Year 2018.

MKBAA Business of the Year, sponsored by The Open University, is chosen by the judges from the winners of each of the twelve categories and is the highest accolade any business in Milton Keynes can achieve.

The MKBAA Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Barclays, was awarded to Roger Bowden, founder and chairman of Niftylift for his active outreach and the kind of homegrown success story that makes headlines.

Category winners on the night included:

The Winners

Business Impact in the Community – sponsored by Association of Milton Keynes Hoteliers
Destination Milton Keynes

Best Use of Social Media – sponsored by Evolution International
To be decided on the night

Charity of the Year – sponsored by Bletchley Park
Milton Keynes Dons Sports & Education Trust

Customer Service sponsored by Freeths
Mirus IT Solutions

Small Business of the Year – sponsored by Geoffrey Leaver
Sweat Yoga and Pilates

Leisure, Entertainment & Arts sponsored by DP Associates
The Parks Trust

New Business – sponsored by BSI
Beer Bear

Design & Creativity – sponsored by Niftylift

Innovation & Technology – sponsored by University of Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes campus
Aero Tec Laboratories

Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Keens Shay Keens
Theresa Pope – Dandi Patch

Professional Services – sponsored by dbfb Communications
Howes Percival

International Trade – sponsored by Mazars

The awards were once again organised by Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership (MKBLP), in association with full service marketing agency Interdirect and event management experts Evolution International.

Chair of MKBLP, Dr Philip Smith MBE said: “This year’s awards represented a celebration of the success of the fantastic business community we have here in Milton Keynes, and also looked at the bigger economic landscape and how many businesses are starting to grow and adapt to the imminent Brexit.

“Milton Keynes has some fantastic business clusters, such as financial services, logistics; digital, media and communications and business services. The challenge going forward will be to grow our non-EU export markets at the same time as taking maximum advantage of whatever trade deal is negotiated with the European Union post Brexit.

“Now in its fifth consecutive year, Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards continues to go from strength to strength, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors as without their support this celebration of business success in our city would not be possible.”