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Museum wins Black Country business award

The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley has won an award as the best large business in the area.

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It was also announced as social enterprise or charity of the year at the annual Black Country Chamber of Commerce Awards, which were held last night at Wolverhampton Racecourse.

Another charity, Sandwell Women's Aid, was another big winner as it was revealed as small business of the year.

Chamber president Ninder Johal told the 400 guests: "I would like to congratulate all our winners and thank the many more businesses who have taken part in the awards this year. Our judges were very impressed with the high standard and diversity of award entries. They had some very difficult decisions to make. It was great to see so many people celebrating Black Country business success."

The Black Country Living Museum in Tipton Road, which opened in 1978, has grown to become one of the UK's top five open-air museums and the leading authority on Black Country heritage.

It has welcomed more than eight million visitors since it first opened.

Judges said that the museum, which combined passion and enthusiasm with a firm business approach had turned itself around, moving from loss to profit through an innovative and passionate approach to business.

Sandwell Women's Aid, which supports women, children and men who have been victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, child sexual exploitation and international human trafficking, was said to demonstrates a commitment right across the board, resulting in a strategy to be the very best in everything it does.

The Express & Star was one of the finalists in the community champion award, sponsored by Wolverhampton-based Paycare, but lost out to The Midcounties Co-operative.

The customer service award was won by Klick Business Solutions from Kingswinford, which impressed the judges with a back to basics approach to customer service.

The innovation award, sponsored by the University of Wolverhampton, went to security systems company Assa Abloy in Willenhall, who were said to be at the forefront of product innovation.

There were two awards for Dudley College, which triumphed in the international trade and service firm of the year categories.

It picked up the international trade award for demonstrating massive growth with a clear strategy and proven delivery and its professional commitment to international development.

Oldbury's Futura Group was recognised as manufacturer of the year for its outstanding performance in sales turnover, profit, innovation and investment in the business and people. Judges said they were a serious player both in the region and throughout the world.

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