Suffolk Business Awards 2021: Business of the Year winner

The winners of Business of the Year at the Suffolk Business Awards with the sponsors

Left to right: Paul Briddon (sponsor – Suffolk Chamber of Commerce), Duncan Johnson, Kate Innes, Karen Burrowes, Keith Buet and Steve Carroll (sponsor – Sizewell C) - Credit: Matthew Potter Photographer and Videographer

Vertas Group, an Ipswich-based facilities management company, has been named winner of the Business of the Year award, sponsored by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and Sizewell C, at the Suffolk Business Awards 2021.

The judges were blown away by the sense of culture, confidence and family at Vertas, with everyone pulling in the same direction – not easy for an organisation that employs 4,000 people.

The company’s ‘Making A Difference’ initiative resonated on every level, with an outstanding commitment to diversity, training, development and community spirit.

Throughout the pandemic, Vertas showed exceptional out-the-box thinking, listening to the community and responding with lightning speed. Its transport services arm, for example, was turned on its head – instead of taking children to and from school, learning packs were delivered to children working at home to keep them on track.  

With the distribution of hundreds of ‘welfare boxes’ to those most in need, the judges said Vertas demonstrated excellent social responsibility. The total sum of this and many other achievements is an organisation that boasts pride, resilience, pace and fresh thinking. 

Duncan Johnson, group chairman of Vertas, said: “This is a great accolade for all of our staff and people. Everything we do is about continuing to support our staff and customers. We have a head office here in Suffolk, with 4,000 people across the UK who are all going to be super proud. 

“We work everyday to help make a difference and hopefully we are achieving that. We will continue to keep looking after our customers and it’s important that we all work together as businesses – combined we have so much more to offer.

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“It’s an honour to be recognised for our work. A huge accolade.”

About the sponsor

As the voice of business in the county, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a co-sponsor of the EADT Business Awards. It welcomes any opportunity that showcases the dynamism, optimism and sheer brilliance of Suffolk’s business community and the wider, positive influence that business has on the social wellbeing and civic strength of communities.

Sizewell C is the new power station planned to be built on the Suffolk coast. The power station would run for 60 years, generating enough low-carbon electricity for six million homes and saving nine million tonnes of Co2 for every year of operation. As well as helping to tackle the climate crisis, Sizewell C will provide thousands of local jobs and 1,500 apprenticeships to the region.  

The finalists


Headquartered in Bury St Edmunds, N2S has developed ground-breaking new processes that make the recycling of computers, IT and mobile phone equipment 100% sustainable. The judges described N2S as a revolutionary and pioneering organisation, and were intrigued by its trailblazing collaborative work with academic and other partners.  


Founded by former prison officer and army veteran Nigel Seaman, Combat2Coffee has pioneered a fresh approach to mental health issues by creating safe spaces within coffee shops for those suffering from PTSD and other complex challenges. It has grown into a successful network of coffee shops while proactively teaching people new skills and helping them rehabilitate.

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