Recognising Exceptional Contributions To Our Local Economy & Communities

In response to the announcement that Mendip Business Awards will not now be taking place, Shepton Mallet Town Council is launching an online award initiative to recognise outstanding local businesses and entrepreneurs.

At a time when many businesses are in vital need of support, the Shepton Innovator Business Awards recognises the dedication and hard work shown by local businesses and entrepreneurs to serve and support their community during the current crisis and throughout the year.

In keeping with the times, the awards are being run entirely online. Nominations are open from Thursday 11th June and close at midnight on Thursday 30th July.

An independent panel of local judges will select shortlisted finalists which will be announced on social media on Thursday 20th August. The winners will be announced via on online award ceremony on Wednesday 02 September. Winners will be given both a physical certificate and digital banner to display online.

There are 8 categories of award

  1. New Business (opened after May 2019)
  2. Hospitality
  3. Food and Drink Producers
  4. Retail
  5. Manufacture and Small Production
  6. Wellbeing and Leisure
  7. Arts, Culture and Heritage
  8. Innovator of the Year (voted on by town councillors)

Nominations can be made directly by a business owner or employee, or by a member of the public on behalf of another business.

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

If you have any questions please email



The panel of judges for this year is as follows:

Kelly Knight, Economic Development Officer at Mendip District Council

Kelly has worked at Mendip District Council for 7 years, with 6 years as an Economic Development Officer. During this time, Kelly started the Enterprise Mendip Business Support scheme as well as the GROW with Digital programme, hosting seminars, workshops and networking events, with around 3000+ businesses attending each year. Kelly has also worked on the Mendip Business Awards from the inauguration, and with the rest of the team have grown the event to be a well-supported and known, key event of the year for Mendip businesses. Prior to this, Kelly worked in the Hospitality Industry for 23 years, running multiple venues and managing refurbishments for a national chain. She has also owned several successful businesses of her own.


Justin Sargeant, Chief Executive of Somerset Community Foundation

Justin joined Somerset Community Foundation in 2005 bringing considerable experience in community development and grant-making. He previously worked with small non-governmental organisations in Lesotho, on environmental and social initiatives in the Countryside Agency in the UK and had led the Countryside Stewardship scheme in Herefordshire and Lancashire. In 2017 he was awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Voluntary Sector Management from CASS Business School, and in 2018 Justin joined the Board of Trustees at the Nelson Trust.


Claire Sully, owner of a technology and training company

Claire Sully is a tech and training company owner based in Bristol and Somerset, working with charities, arts, heritage and local authorities across the UK. Her work focuses on using technology to connect, inspire and grow communities who support causes, using a 21st century volunteering model. She was raised in Shepton Mallet and now lives just outside of the town in Croscombe. Claire ran the first SW digital arts festival in the town for a number of years from 2009 and she is a Director of a new community interest company looking to promote the arts in Shepton.


Alan Stone, chair of the Shepton Mallet Chamber of Commerce

Alan Stone has been active in the community in Shepton Mallet for 34 years since he moved here in 1986. For the past 24 years he has been involved in the Chamber of Commerce, worked in the town for Accountant Old Mill from 2002 – 2016. Alan also ran a garden centre for 4 years in Haskins in the late 1990s. With his wife Christine, he had two sons, both of whom went through the town’s schools and have successful careers in the education sector. As well as other involvements, Alan runs the small local company Stones Cider and can be found at many local markets.


Helen Sprawson-White, chair of Mendip District Council

Helen has served as Chair of Mendip Council since May 2019, having sat on the district council since 2011. Helen lives in Frome, is married with three children and is delighted to be involved in these awards, recognising the huge contribution that our businesses make to our community.

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated. The finalists will be announced on 20 August.