A Sussex computer firm helping farmers run their businesses effectively has been named Britain’s very best rural enterprise at the 2016 Rural Business Awards – the UK’s only dedicated national business awards for the rural community, run in partnership with the CLA and actively supported by the countryside sector as well as MPs across the UK. The Rural Business Awards are sponsored by Janine Edwards Wealth Management Ltd, principal partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management.

Landmark Systems Ltd, Pulborough, not only won Best Rural Professional Services Business at the awards, but went on to be crowned overall Champion of Champions at the glittering ceremony, held at The Belfry Hotel & Resort in the West Midlands on October 13. Along with Landmark’s success, the Naked Food Company in Duncton was named winner of Rural Entrepreneur of the Year. The awards were split into 13 categories with a winner (1st place), runner-up (2nd place) and highly commended (3rd place) prize for each one.

Landmark Systems Limited offers computerised solutions for businesses, with a client base spread all over Britain. The in-house development of KEYPrime Accounting and Property software help agricultural clients manage their businesses effectively.

Managing director Nigel Parsons said: “The reason we entered the Rural Business Awards was because we are a company operating nationally, specifically in the rural sector. This award means a huge amount to us. Our business is a people business and a business in a remote rural industry.”

The Naked Food Company is owned by Carole Lindsay, who brings more than 15 years of experience in catering and event management – including working in Michelin-starred restaurants – to her company, which provides catering for special events, from weddings to dinner with friends, with all ingredients coming from within a 15 mile radius.

Carole Lindsay said: “I’m shocked, very surprised, and ecstatic! My first year has been so fantastic – when you start off a business you have a three year plan, I superseded that in the first three months. The involvement of the Rural Business Awards and the CLA will mean a lot for my business – having this award will make such a big difference, especially to the market I’m trying to reach.”

Awards co-founder Anna Price said: “It’s great to see so many of our very best entries coming from the beautiful county of Sussex. Landmark Systems was, quite simply, the best entry we received which was why we had no hesitation in awarding it our Champion of Champions crown, as well as Best Rural Professional Services Business in the UK. In a nutshell, we felt Landmark epitomised a business providing services specifically for rural communities and farmers nationally, fully understanding the client needs and delivering a unique and excellent service.

“As for the Naked Food Company, we thought this was a hugely compelling business. Owner Carole Lindsay showed us real commitment to keeping things under control and using innovative processes and we felt she was a very worthy Rural Entrepreneur of the Year winner.

Many congratulations go to both these superstar companies. We wish them every success in the future!”

Aimed at organisations based in the countryside, the Rural Business Awards recognise excellence in a range of different business categories, from innovation through to employment. Now in their second year, the awards were the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who believe that rural enterprises are often overlooked by other business prize-giving schemes based in urban areas. The award scheme has been praised by MPs including Nicky Morgan and Andrew Bridgen, both of whom have lent their support to the successful initiative.

CLA director general Helen Woolley said: “I am delighted to have been a part of the judging panel and to see first-hand the passion for rural business demonstrated by all the finalists. There were some outstanding entries and my congratulations go to all the winners, every award is truly deserved.”

Rural Business Awards sponsor, Janine Edwards of Janine Edwards Wealth Management, principal partner of St James’s Place Wealth Management says: “The Rural Business Awards has seen a number of commendable and outstanding finalists. It has been a pleasure for my team and I to be involved in the whole process, and we are delighted to see that each and every winner has achieved the recognition they deserve. It is a huge accomplishment for all of the finalists to be involved in such a high-profile event and I’d like to congratulate them all on their success now and in the future!”

Entries for the 2017 Rural Business Awards open on 1 November. For more information visit: www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk.

Find out more via social media on: T: @RuralRBAs F: The Rural Business Awards Keep up with the Twitter chatter and use #RBAs.

Pictured: Nigel Parsons of Landmark Systems