TECHNOLOGY and packaging specialist Ant Group was last night named Business of the Year at the 2011 Anglian Business Awards.

The awards, organised by the East Anglian Daily Times for the 14th time this year and supported for the third year running by Choose Suffolk as main sponsor, were announced at a gala dinner ceremony at Trinity Park, Ipswich, hosted by BBC television and radio presenter John Humphrys.

Ant Group, based on the Claydon Business Park at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, won the Medium/Large Business of the Year category, sponsored by Trebuchet, and then beat off competition from 12 other category winners to claim the overall title.

The group’s companies include Antistat, which specialises in high-end technology-led packaging solutions, electrostatic discharge consumables and clean room supplies, and Cyberpac, which supplies specialist packaging to the creative industry.

Also forming part of the group are Acupaq, a manufacturer of component processing and packaging consumables for the electronics, automotive and biomedical industries, and Cygna, which supplies computer parts, sub-assemblies and complete units to major IT service suppliers

Runner-up for the Business of the Year award and winner of the Small Business of the Year title, sponsored by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, was Ipswich-based web design and marketing agency Crafted Media.

And third overall was The Hearing Care Centre, based in Ipswich and operating from 14 centres across Suffolk, which won the category for Outstanding Customer Service, sponsored by UK Power Networks.

The Business Person of the Year award, sponsored by Birketts LLP, went to Scott Russell, co-founder of specialist coffee company Paddy & Scott’s, based at Earl Soham, near Framlingham, and fashion brand Shipton White and owner of management consultancy Scott Russell & Co. He also founded the telecoms company NEG Telecom which was sold last year to Daisy plc for �23.3million.

Ipswich-based Gorgeous Star PR, launched by Hayley Sparkes early last year, won the Start-up Business of the Year category, sponsored by the Eastern Enterprise Hub, while the Rural Business award, sponsored by the Suffolk Agricultural Association, went to the Framlingham Technology Centre.

The Environment Award, sponsored by the Suffolk, Creating the Greenest County campaign, was won by Ipswich-based design and marketing agency White Space, the award for Community Involvement, sponsored by Adnams, went to Ipswich Building Society, and the winner of the Training and Development category, sponsored by Suffolk New College, was Abbeycroft Leisure, which manages the Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill leisure centres.

Needham Market-based International Export Supplies (Interex), which serves the motor sport, automotive and industrial markets, claimed the International Trade award, sponsored by NatWest, while Sales Media Evolution from Ipswich won the Innovation and Transformation category, sponsored by University Campus Suffolk, for its roll-up banners which incorporate a screen for moving images.

Completing the line-up of winners last night were East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, which received the Marketing award, sponsored by Ufford Park, and Ipswich-based theatre group Red Rose Chain which won the Not-For-Profit Business of the Year category, sponsored by the School for Social Entrepreneurs Suffolk.

Speakers at the event included Jonathan Hustler, managing director of media company Archant Anglia, whose titles include the East Anglian Daily Times and Suffolk Business magazine, Terry Hunt, editor of the EADT, and Tim Passmore, chief executive of Choose Suffolk.

n For further coverage of last night’s ceremony, see next Tuesday’s BusinessEast supplement within the EADT or visit