Inspiring entrepreneurs and outstanding community organisations were recognised at the first Budleigh Business Awards on Thursday, July 4.

Winners and runners-up in seven categories were announced at a ceremony at the Holt Bar & Terrace, with the awards presented by the Mayor of Budleigh Salterton, Caz Sismore Hunt.

The winners were:

Solopreneur of the year: Mercado Café and Deli.

Judges said: “This person is succeeding, despite some of life’s challenges. Starting out with a very small budget and working around her own disability to bring her vision to reality, she’s brought another great business to the town.”

Other finalists: Magic Touch Healing Therapies, Bliss Skin and Beauty.

Sustainability award: Love Budleigh.

Judges said: “Despite working on an absolute shoestring of a budget, Love Budleigh is spreading the sustainability message to their audience and helping others to be more considerate of the environment as they go about their daily activities, with their promotion of sustainable tourism.”

Other finalists: Mercado Café and Deli, Pooh Cottage Holiday Park.

Retailer of the Year: Rowan Tree Gifts; special mention, Pebble of Budleigh.

Judges said the winner ‘showed ‘initiative and versatility’ and ‘their passion for the business came through in the application’. 

Other finalists: Fifty Degrees Clothing, Pebble of Budleigh, Shaldon Bakery

Best Small or Medium Enterprise: Georgie Porgie Puddings

Judges said: “The owner has demonstrated the most incredible tenacity, starting his journey at the tender age of 13, sweeping floors in the Budleigh Pate factory, and culminating 30 years later with an amazing retail and online business making back on the very spot where it all started with a brand new kitchen and shop.”

Other finalists: Pebble of Budleigh, Otter Valley Funerals, Launchpad, Rowan Tree, Milena’s

Employer of the Year: Pyne’s Farm

Judges said: “The member of staff who nominated the winning employer has been working for them since he was 14, and has been encouraged by his employer to further his education beyond his own expectations. This employee has been offered mentoring and support over so many years, that clearly goes over and above the average employer, and he is now also pursuing a path in local politics, guided and encouraged every step of the way by his employer and now friend.”

Other finalists: Brook Kitchen, Bay Court 

Best Charity, CIC or Community Group: Seachange

Judges said: “Seachange is at its heart, a community support charity. It embodies all things charity, and as they say in their application, they enable the residents of Budleigh and elsewhere to live longer, better lives. And they do this in so many varied and worthwhile ways.”

Other finalists: Music Festival, Launchpad, Love Budleigh 

Best of Budleigh Award: Budleigh Library

Judges said: “They offer so many services to residents, across so many different disciplines. They offer support and a social hub for the young to the elderly as well as their core offering. The evidence supporting their application was outstanding, so well done to them for preparing such an excellent application.” 

Other finalists: Shaldon Bakery, Love Budleigh, Milenas

Jen Mills, part of the Budleigh Business Award team said: “It was a great night and a rare opportunity to celebrate the diverse selection of organisations based in Budleigh. A big thank you to the Town Council and our sponsors for making the night happen – and to local band Mantis for playing a fab set. We are a lucky town in many ways, but seeing all the people have invested their time, money and futures into the local economy was fantastic.”