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Home / News & Opportunities / Blog / June 2016 (1) / MIKE ASHTON – THE MONTH IN FOCUS

Date: 02/06/2016

June is the month of two major events for businesses in Herefordshire and Worcestershire – the 2016 Chamber Business Awards on Thursday 9 June and the once in a generation EU Referendum on Thursday 23 June.

The Chamber Business Awards are taking place at the University of Worcester Arena. This year, we expect to see over 500 businesspeople gather together to celebrate the success, innovation and hard work of local businesses.

Winners will be revealed on the night in 12 categories and I particularly look forward to seeing which business will be crowned as the winner of winners, the Overall Business of the Year. Last year’s winner was Orchard Valley Foods Limited, who clinched the main award following their category win in High Growth Business of the Year earlier in the evening. Orchard Valley Foods went on to win a coveted Queen’s Award in International Trade, as did Kudos Blends, who won our 2015 Exporter of the Year Award.

At the Awards, I also look forward to hearing from our keynote speaker Colin Jackson, Olympic Silver Medallist, World Record Holder and TV Personality, raising money for our four chosen charities and enjoying networking with the business community.

Thursday 9 June is a poignant day, as it is a year to the day that a former employee of the Chamber, Jack Stephens, tragically passed away. Jack was in many ways an inspirational figure and he continues to be sorely missed at the Chamber. There are many ways in which we remember Jack; one way being through supporting the charity set up in his memory at the Awards, #jsyoucandoit. Another way in which we continue to remember Jack is through the Chamber’s fantasy league. Jack was an enthusiastic participant in the league with a passion for football and he continues to be remembered through the Jack Stephens trophy. Keith Ward recently became the first winner of this trophy.

There is less than a month to go until businesses will be asked to cast their vote as to whether the UK should Remain in or Leave the European Union. The Chamber aims to provide businesses with the best information available and most importantly, encourages everyone to use their vote.

Over recent months we have carried out several pre-Referendum snap polls as well as a variety of events for businesses to hear from both sides, including a Brexit debate at mfg Solicitors in Kidderminster and a Business Leaders event at Stanbrook Abbey. The most recent data from our Brexit event showed that 52% of voters would choose to Remain in the EU, 24% wanted to Leave and 24% were unsure – for more information on key business issues, visit

Summer is approaching and I am enjoying the start of the Tennis season at Pershore Tennis Club. I am lucky to play with some great people who carry me through, including Dave Morris, Director at Zentano Limited and Peter Corbishley, Managing Director of Principia School of Language Ltd. Our team is currently top of league and we hope to keep this up over the coming months.

All the best,


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Mike Ashton

Chief Executive

Mike began his career in his native North-West, where he was Head of Enterprise at Liverpool John Moores University from 1994-2001. The extensive business engagement experience he gained in that role was enough to earn him the Chief Executive’s position at Greater Manchester BusinessLink (Chamberlink), a company that offered business support across the 10 council authorities that form the Greater Manchester umbrella. In May 2007 Mike was appointed Chief Executive of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce. 

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