Suffolk Business Awards 2022: Showcasing Suffolk’s diverse range of growing businesses

Business team discussing new ideas and innovations. Group of people growing lightbulb plant. Vector

The Growth Business of the Year category will recognise a business that can demonstrate growth across all its operations - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Growth Business of the Year at the Suffolk Business Awards 2022 will be a business that is no stranger to change, demonstrating growth in all areas. Category judge Paul Whittingham of Ashtons Legal shares his advice for those considering entering. 

Can you tell us a bit about your business journey? 

I have worked at Ashtons Legal for many years. I’ve seen many businesses start, helped them to grow and guided them through selling on, diversifying or acquiring new ventures. 

I have been fortunate to work with people from many different types of business and I find it fascinating getting to understand what they do and how they do it. 

Why were you keen to get involved in the Suffolk Business Awards? 

The Suffolk Business Awards are a great way of bringing together and showcasing the diverse range of businesses which make Suffolk the fantastic and thriving county that it is. 

We live and work here, so it is an honour to offer our support to fellow businesses in the area. 

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Have you ever been judged for an award yourself? 

My firm, Ashtons Legal, has entered and been judged for awards in the past, many of which we were successful in winning. My advice when being judged – be honest. 

Will you use that experience when judging this award? 

Absolutely! Through our own awards processes I know what judges are looking for and am well versed in seeking out ‘blue sky thinking’ that entrants might have missed on their entry. 

Paul Whittingham, partner at Ashtons Legal, Ipswich

Paul Whittingham, partner at Ashtons Legal - Credit: Ashtons Legal

What have your previous experiences of judging been like? 

I’ve had lots of fun judging the Suffolk Business Awards. I have met some inspiring people and learned a lot about products and industries I’ve never had dealings with. 

I have also seen hidden parts of Suffolk and forged some good contacts with the people that I have met. 

What inspires you in business? 

Suffolk businesses inspire me, as well as the diversity we have in this county. We not only have world-leading food and drink businesses, but also our high-tech hub (BT) and the country’s largest container port. 
We have large, established businesses such as the insurance companies in Ipswich, and small startups coming out of Adastral Park. 

What will you be looking for in the winner? 

Growth and evolution. The business will need to have something to differentiate it from its competitors and be able to demonstrate growth across all its operations.

Award criteria

To enter in this category, businesses must provide a clear and defined strategy and ambition for growth, as well as defined values and missions.

Evidence is also needed of financial growth – a minimum of 20% year on year for the past three years – and investment. 

The judges will also be looking for a demonstration of managerial leadership, and innovation of product/service.

To enter the Growth Business of the Year category at the Suffolk Business Awards 2022, visit