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FSB NW Awards recognises Sharp Project based digital business

The Federation of Small Businesses’ North West Awards took place lastweek where the region’s finest firms were crowned winners at Wednesday’s finals. 

The FSB’s first ever regional awards saw hundreds of businesses from across the North West battle it out for honours in a dozen categories, which included Best Ethical, Best Small, and Best Family Business. 

The eventual winners, whose entries had dazzled judges, were announced during an afternoon event at Blackburn’s Dunkenhalgh Hotel. All of the winners – except the Community Award – now automatically go through to the judging process for FSB’s UK National Finals to be held in London this May, where successful finalists will go head-to-head with businesses from across the UK.


The only winners from Greater Manchester were Sharp Project based Digital Next, run by brothers Justin and Mark Blackhurst (pictured above) who started the business from their bedroom seven years ago. The business - on target for £4 million turnover this year - now employs over 50 staff, and has offices in Europe and Australia, scooped the North West Digital Business of the Year award.

Mark, who hails from Stockport, said: “We’ve been members of FSB since the very early days of when we started up, so it’s fantastic for us to have now been recognised by the organisation that’s helped us grow. There are many award schemes out there but we feel this is one of the more credible, and one we take particular pride in winning!

“We’re now really looking forward to finding out whether we’re shortlisted for the London finals and meeting other great business from around the country.”

Simon Edmondson, FSB NW Regional Chairman, added: “Congratulations to the guys at Digital Next. This is a business with a fantastic success story, one of rapid growth and demonstrable success for their ever growing client base. We’re thrilled they are part of FSB, and I know as a business they are certainly one to watch. I wish them every success for the future, and good luck for the London finals.”