INNOVATION, enterprise and commitment were celebrated at the Halton Business and Tourism 2014 awards.

Judges commended a record number of ‘excellent entries’ as the winners were announced at a gala dinner, attended by 240 guests.

Paula Cain, chief executive of Halton Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise said: “The awards seem to grow year on year, the volume of entries, quality of applications and the number people attending the gala dinner.

“It is now seen as a significant accolade for businesses to win one of the awards and all the finalists should be proud of their achievements. Halton is a vibrant area and the awards demonstrate this.”

Mantar Engineering, which provides specialist services to the air cargo and logistics sector, won business of the year.

This Runcorn company has secured two key contracts since it started in 2011.

It is launching a new facility at London Heathrow and regional contracts in Glasgow, Newcastle and Dublin are planned.

The firm’s 11 skilled staff pride themselves on providing first class service to their blue chip customers.

Managing director and founder, Natalie Robinson, aged 38, said: “We are delighted to have won business of the year. We are just at the beginning of our journey and are proud to be a growing british manufacturer.

“The award reflects the unending commitment from our team and I would like to thank them all.”

Curiosity Bookshop in High Street, Runcorn won retailer of the year for embracing new technology.

Liz Howard, who founded the business 24 years ago, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to bits.

“We sell e-books on the Internet and have kept up with technology.

“We compete with Amazon on price and have customers all over the country and as far as Australia and Malta.

“We regularly help schools replenish their new libraries and work with councils.”

The bookshop is a specialist supplier of first edition signed copies.

Catalyst education manager, Phill Day won the visitor inspire award.

Catalyst trustee Dr Diana Leitch, said “Phill has devised and led hands-on workshops and scientific demonstrations to 31,250 visitors. Innumerable comments compliment the wonderful way he can relate to all ages.”

Exporter of the year went to Ineos ChlorVinyls.

Toni Coppock, export and excellence manager, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised for the significant contribution we make to the local, regional and national economy through sales generated by our export business.”

Business of the Year
Mantar Engineering

Retailer of the Year
Curiosity Book Shop

New Business of the Year
Advice Media

Apprentice/Young Person of the Year
Michelle Wynn, Evolution Dental Studios

Entrepreneur of the Year
Aldo do Leonibus, Inventya

Exporter of the Year
Ineos ChlorVinyls Ltd

Positive Environmental Impact
Arvia Technology Ltd

Visitor Inspire
Phill Day, Catalyst Science Discovery Centre

Outstanding Customer Service in the Visitor Economy
Sally Jones, Holiday Inn

Business Improvement District
James Troop and Co

Innovation Award
Aerelink Limited

Customer Focus
JDC Ceramics & Bathrooms Limited

Chairman’s Award for Manufacturing
Acal Energy Limited

Special Award for Regional Significance and Local Impact
Jaguar Landrover