GUESTS at a glittering awards evening were left in no doubt that “Bradford really does mean business.”

The best of Bradford business was celebrated at this year’s Telegraph & Argus Bradford Means Business Awards, when hundreds attended a ceremony at the Aagrah Midpoint Suite in Thornbury on Saturday night.

Wyke-based Ucan Recycling CiC was crowned the big winner on the night, as it claimed the Job Creator of the Year and Winner of Winners accolades. The latter was selected from the winning entries in the other 10 categories.

The company, which provides a free recycling service to businesses and organisations, including schools, universities and councils, has built up £1.2 million turnover since starting as a one man band six years ago and now employs 11 permanent staff who were all previously unemployed, including one who had been jobless for 19 years.

Speaking of their double win, Rob Seal, 49, co-owner of Ucan Recycling with wife Nicky, said: “I’m shocked and speechless.

“We are a small company, there is only 18 of us.

“I’m delighted for everyone who works for us.

“Every person who comes to work for us is just so keen.

“It just means so much.”

Airedale Springs was also a double winner on the night, claiming the Manufacturer of the Year and Small/Medium Enterprise of the Year titles.

The firm, which makes bespoke mechanical springs, wire forms and light pressings, bounced back in style after a fire gutted its premises in 2010.

Sean Parkinson, managing director, said: “It’s great. We have had a fairly good run of winning awards.

“It’s a family business which runs well from the top down.

“These awards are great recognition for us.”

Paul Corcoran, 57, of Pennine Cycles, said he felt lucky after he rode off with the Retail, Hospitality or Leisure Business of The Year award for a second successive year.

The Thornton Road cycle shop won the category in which T&A readers nominate their favourite shop, hotel, restaurant, gym and other customer-facing businesses.

He said: “I’m shocked. I’m so lucky. I must thank everyone and you don’t understand what this means to me. It’s great to have that recognition from the people of Bradford.”

Winner of the Employer of the Year prize was car company JCT600.

The family-run firm is Bradford based but is one of the country’s largest independent motors businesses, with 50 dealerships across the North and Midlands.

Accepting the award, Beryl Carney, brand director Volkswagen commercial vehicles for JCT600, said: “It is our 70th anniversary this year and this is definitely the icing on the cake for us.”

Joanna Robinson won the Woman in Business award. She is the managing director of Bradford-based bespoke cooling systems manufacturer Mansfield Pollard.

She was unable to attend the ceremony, but accepting the award on her behalf, Alison Howgate, finance director at the firm, said: “She will feel really pleased that she has won this award. She is a strong, charismatic leader.”

Meanwhile, Iron Octopus was crowned New Business of the Year.

The Baildon-based steel fabrication business was started by father and son team Ben and Daniel Green and was given the prize after it recorded a strong first year in business.

Ben Green said: “I just want to say thank you to my team. Going out there on our own was scary but satisfying.”

Rod Knox, chief executive of e-learning company Virtual College, was the recipient of the Business Personality of the Year prize.

He said: “It’s amazing. We are a growing business and a true Bradford success.”

Charlotte Blowers continued her rise to fame in business by being crowned Apprentice of the Year.

The 19-year-old is an apprentice hairdresser at Exceed Salon in Clayton Heights, Bradford.

She said: “It means a lot to me. It just shows what apprenticeships can do.

“I’m really blessed to win this award.”

New Vision won the Business or Technical Innovation of the Year award at the ceremony.

No representatives of the graphics company, which has worked alongside Bradford Royal Infirmary on dementia friendly signs on two of its wards, were able to attend. But T&A business reporter Chris Holland accepted the honour on their behalf.

The event’s keynote speaker, Dale Stafford, author and founder of The Principal Department, gave a motivational talk to the assembled audience.

Meanwhile, T&A editor Perry Austin-Clarke praised the work of businesses across the district.

He said: “The district is packed with dynamism, skill and creativity and we hope that tonight will be a real celebration of success and achievement and proof positive - if you ever needed it - that Bradford really does mean business.

“This is the sixth year we have run the awards with our partners Bradford Council and the West and North Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce and they continue to go from strength to strength.

“We attracted even more entries this year, ensuring competition for these coveted awards remains keen as local businesses and entrepreneurs vie to have their achievements recognised.

“The Bradford Means Business Awards are a way of rewarding the dedication, determination, achievement and success of both new and established local enterprises.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council leader, added: “I salute all of the businesses in Bradford who have doubled their efforts. To run a business is a massive commitment but Bradford is the place to do it.”