Companies large and small, from across the Black Country and south Staffordshire, showed why this remains the beating heart of the UK's business community.
At the end of a night of high drama the biggest award of the evening went to Wolverhampton's Marston’s Beer Company, declared the Business of the Year at the sold-out black tie event at Wolverhampton Racecourse.
The company, which has been brewing Banks’s ale at the Park Brewery since 1875, has now grown to operate half a dozen breweries across the UK. The company’s visibly moved managing director, Richard Westwood, said: “It’s all down to our people, they are at the heart of what we do.”
In front of an audience of around 400 at the racecourse, event compere Alan Dedicoat – TV’s famous ‘Voice of the Balls’ on the National Lottery programmes – described it as an evening “to celebrate everything that is great about business, here in the Black Country and south Staffordshire”.
But there was also time to think about the wider community, and for those in need. A raffle collection for a string of top prizes helped raise £2,840 on the night for the chosen charity: the Beacon Centre for the Blind.
WATCH: Take a look at the highlights from the Express & Star Business Awards 2017
More than 30 companies had won through as finalists for the 11 awards up for grabs at the event, but competition was fierce.
One of the toughest for the judges was selecting the winner of the evening’s only individual award, for Business Person of the Year.
It went to Henry Carver, head of Wolverhampton’s Carvers Building Supplies. The judges said: “Carvers was destroyed by fire five years ago and Henry Carver’s exemplary leadership has produced a business that is now bigger and better than ever in a tough marketplace.”
In a moving tribute to his workforce, Mr Carver told the audience: “I am only here because the people I employ are better than me.”
Follow the links to see full coverage and video of each of our winners:
Today we profile each and every one of these outstanding winners.
Graeme Clifford, print managing director at MNA, publishers of the Express & Star, said: “The Express & Star is proud of the business community across our circulation area. We want to say a huge thank you to all our sponsors for making this possible. We look forward to doing it all again next year.”
The event was sponsored by Altodigital, ArchOver, Aspray24, BDO, Black Country Chamber of Commerce – The Platinum Group, Carvers Building Supplies, City of Wolverhampton Council, Higgs & Sons, Jaguar Land Rover, UTC Aerospace Systems and associate sponsors Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton Racecourse, event production company Yarrington and Star Employment Services.