The Innovator awards are back for 2024! They celebrate the dedication and hard work shown by local businesses and entrepreneurs, to serve and support their community.


A panel of independent judges have been selected to vote in eight categories of award. The categories are:

  1. New business (opened since the last awards in September 2020)
  2. Hospitality (cafes, restaurants, hotels, B&B’s…)
  3. Food and drink producers (e.g. cider production, cheese, etc.)
  4. Retail and professional service business (shops, home-businesses, architects, plumbers)
  5. Manufacture and production (woodwork, metal work, etc.)
  6. Wellbeing, sports and leisure (yoga classes, gyms, parkrun, walking groups)
  7. Arts, culture and heritage (tourist attractions, art centres…)
  8. Community Groups (charity, CIC, etc.)

The awards were run online and nominations are open from Monday 15th January and closed on Sunday 11th February.

Nominations are open to all businesses (small, medium-sized and large) based in either Shepton Mallet, Pylle, Prestleigh, Evercreech, Pilton, Oakhill, Croscombe or Doulting.


The panel of judges for the Shepton Innovator Business Awards 2024 are:

Susan Ayton

Founder and Managing Director of Ayton Global Research Ltd

I started my business 28 years ago to work from home and raise my children at the same time. My first high street customers were Marks and Spenser and Tesco who both saw the value of the global research software that I was developing and which fwould go on to fill a big gap in the market: advertising claims substantiation. Ayton Global Research quickly grew and now, over 750 international clients have used our software and bespoke research service to substantiate the kind of advertising claims you frequently see on TV and in multi media channels.

Trish Mason

Founder of two international companies

Both businesses I founded were award winners. For the children’s fashion business we were given Board of Trade recognition and funding to develop the international market. For the overseas estate agency business we won The Best International Estate Agency award for 10 years. Nowadays I work at supporting art in our community.

Nicola Fensham

Somerset Business Hub Co-ordinator

I had worked for Mendip District Council for 16 years and since 1st April 2023 for the newly formed Somerset Council. Since 2021 I have been the Business Co-Ordinator for the council. The idea behind this was to create a single point of contact for businesses when contacting the council with their regulatory inquiries and also to support local businesses. Prior to working for the council I owned and managed my own business locally for 20+ years.