Whole leaf tea bags for expectant mums, sustainable soy candles and an alternative to polythene made from sugar cane waste are just a few of the inspired innovations connecting winners of this year’s West Oxfordshire Business Awards (WOBA).
Finalists representing 11 categories gathered six months later than originally planned via Zoom and the awards’ YouTube channel after COVID-19 restrictions stopped the WOBA Gala Dinner taking place at Heythrop Park Resort on March 27.
Video production and live streaming partner First Sight Media transformed the event from its own virtual studio, First Sight MD, Richard Belcher, also serving as host.
Applying a now familiar process, First Sight Media used a multi-camera production across two separate studios, ensuring adequate social distancing was in place for live presenters and crew.
The technical team vision-mixed the programme between remote speakers, pre-recorded content and three live presenters from the studio. The finalists were in virtual category groups, winners spotlighted with audible clapping and cheers broadcast.
Watching on YouTube and social media, the awards’ 750+ viewers were able to comment in real time, sharing in the celebrations, sending messages of congratulations and adding to the excitement of the announcements.
Jo Sensecall from the WOBA organisers, said: “First Sight Media’s team was so good at telling us what we needed to do, helping steer our comms, coaching finalists and pre-recording sponsor content. It was fantastic to go ahead and “announce” the winners while still achieving a great level of excitement all round.
“We wanted to make the WOBAs as inclusive as possible and were hugely impressed with the amount of viewers online, more than double the number we would have been able to accommodate at the live event. We hope this will drive even more entries for future awards in West Oxfordshire.
“Although we missed being in the same room this year, we would definitely host another event online. We can’t thank First Sight Media enough and would recommend them for any virtual, or live, events.
“Congratulations too to all of our 10th anniversary winners. This year really has demonstrated that West Oxfordshire is home to a wealth of innovative and entrepreneurial businesses with a strong sense of community – vital during these challenging times. We are extremely proud to reward our local talent.”
WOBA 2020 winners are:
- Fleet and Commercial Retail Award
Hot Tea Mama
- Meech Business & Community Award
Chipping Norton Theatre
- Owen Mumford Innovation Award
- The MGroup Employer of the Year Award
The Rooflight Company
- Blenheim Palace New Business Award
Grapes & Tomatoes
- Witney Business & Innovation Centre Micro Business Award
Oxford Welding Supplies
- Convolo Personnel Small SME Award
Cotswold Fudge Company
- Sandler Training Large SME Award
- Cokethorpe Young Entrepreneur Award
Katherine Wyn-Davies (Elinor Sophia)
- CQR Business Person of the Year Award
James Woollard (Polythene UK)
- Cally Robson Award
The Burford Recruitment Company
- Wise Investment Winner of Winners Award
- Aston & James Business of the Year Award
The official WOBA 2020 charity is Guideposts Trust, winner of the Charity of the Year Award 2019. Among other projects based in Oxfordshire, Guideposts run Witney’s ‘Dig N Grow’ service to provide new skills to adults with learning difficulties. The WOBA community has raised almost £2,000 and it is still possible to donate at justgiving.com/campaign/GuidepostsWOBAwinners
For further information, visit: woba.org.uk.