Sponsored by

The Stray Ferret Business Awards 2024 are for businesses across all sectors within the Harrogate district including Ripon, Masham, Boroughbridge, Pateley Bridge and Knaresborough. The Stray Ferret Business Awards will recognise and celebrate your business achievements culminating in an awards dinner on Thursday 14 March 2024.

Businesses are encouraged to enter more than one category and will be judged by a judging panel including Sarah Barry Chief Executive Officer at Harrogate Town AFC, James Rycroft Managing Director of Vida Healthcare, Niall Gunn CEO of Prosperis and Heather Parry Director of Expect Events Ltd.

Entries have now closed, and the shortlist will be announced on Friday 26 January 2024. Tickets for the awards ceremony and gala dinner  can be purchased here.

The Award Categories

Sponsored by

Dynamic leader

These people are key for any successful business. They drive progress, activity and change in their organisation.

Sponsored by

Business growth

A business that has seen significant growth in the last three years either financially, by employee numbers or market share increase.

Sponsored by

Sustainable business

This award recognises those businesses that have put sustainability at the top of their agenda. These businesses are helping drive change and leading the way by reducing their impact on the environment.

Sponsored by

Best employer

Best Employers embrace a culture of high performance, stress company values and have systems in place to inspire their workforce to do their best.

Sponsored by

Rising star under 30

This award highlights the up and coming talent at a business. These people are sure to make waves and build a successful career in the years to come.

Sponsored by

employee appreciation

This person is the glue of the team. They are not only integral to the day to day, but they also bring a personal touch that makes the business that bit brighter.

Sponsored by

Business of the Year

A business which is leading the way in strategy, growth, community involvement and people development.

Sponsored by

Best use of digital

A business which has embraced the digital world to drive success.

Sponsored by

Best independent retailer

This business has survived the pandemic and now tackling a cost-of-living crisis. They are truly beating the odds to support customers and make the high street work for them.

Sponsored by

Inclusivity Award

Vital recognition for a company that have demonstrated working practices with a proactive approach to inclusivity, giving people a chance to thrive.

Winners lounge

This is the moment the entrants for the Stray Ferret Business Awards have all been dreaming about. The Winners Lounge, sponsored by LCF Law, will be where we interview and take lots of pictures so we can celebrate your success.

The Finalists

Dynamic Leader Finalists

Little Bird Made, Jackie Crozier

NYNET, Alastair Taylor

Mumbler, Sally Haslewood

Greenwoods, Camilla Greenwood & Dawn Hudson

Grantley Hall, Tracey Ractliffe

Business Growth Finalists

Starling Independent Bar Cafe Kitchen


Lucy Pittaway

Live for Today

Sustainable Business Finalists

Number Thirteen

Greenhouse, Ripon

Saint Michael’s Hospice

Harrogate Organics


Harrogate College

Best Employer Finalists

Grantley Hall

Network Scientific

Northern Energy

Harrogate Bus Company


Rising Star under 30 Finalists

Envirovent, Elise Stephens

Marketing Adventures, Emily Smailes

Harrogate International Festivals, Ellen Fletcher

Pavilions of Harrogate, Becky Andrews

Studio Nest, Rosie Rushton

Employee Appreciation Finalists

Greenwoods, Stuart Hudson

The Soundproofing Store, Phil Lyons

Pavilions Of Harrogate, Darren Hall

Artizan International, Steff Winter

Resurrected Bites, Sam O’Brien

Business of the Year Finalists

Grantley Hall

Little Bird Made

Vida healthcare


Number Thirteen

Best Use of Digital Finalists

Harvey George

Harrogate Community Radio

Ake & Humphris

Show & Tell

Provenance Collection

Best Independent Retailer Finalists

Number Thirteen

Best Kept Secret

Ake & Humphris


Harrogate Tipple

Starling Independent Bar Cafe Kitchen

Harvey George

The Cheeseboard

Inclusivity Award Finalists

Artizan International

Disability Action

Harrogate College


Network Scientific

The Judges

Sarah Barry

Chief Executive Officer at Harrogate Town AFC

Sarah began her career in advertising at the Yorkshire Post and Harrogate Advertiser series before joining Harrogate’s first local radio station, Stray FM – which was the start of a varied management career in commercial radio before finally becoming the Managing Director of multi-award winning Stray FM – one of the UK’s most successful commercial radio stations of its size.

In September 2021, Sarah joined Harrogate Town AFC as CEO and in June 2023, Sarah was recognised at the Football Business Awards as the SkyBet League Two CEO of the year, as voted for by fellow SkyBet League Two CEO’s.

James Rycroft

Managing Director of VIDA Healthcare

James Rycroft formed Vida Healthcare in 2010 in order to offer exceptional care for people living with Dementia.

Over the years he has designed, developed and now operates 300 beds and employs over 500 staff. All Vida’s homes have been rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission which a direct result of James’ passion for quality care and quality environments.

Niall Gunn

CEO of Prosperis

Niall is an executive in retail financial services, wealth management and employee benefits with over 40 years’ experience in various executive roles with more recent focus on management. Niall operates at board level with UK regulatory approved designations, possessing excellent broad-based problem solving, communication and stakeholder management skills to ensure delivery and high effectiveness.

Experienced in developing strategies, functions and frameworks, transformational change and developing/managing existing teams.

He is the former Chairman of the Yorkshire Life & Pensions Society for an unprecedented three terms.

Heather Parry

Director of Expect Events Ltd.

Heather is an events professional who has spent the last 30 years building successful businesses on the Great Yorkshire Showground, including Pavilions of Harrogate, Yorkshire Event Centre, Fodder and the Harrogate Caravan Park.  

Committed to good people management, communication, pushing boundaries for success and having a happy culture

Judging Information

  • The Stray Ferret Business Awards is judged by an independent panel of experts.  They are chosen for their expertise, experience and positions in the industry and its various sectors.
  • Judges give their free time to participate in the judging process.
  • Judges with conflicts of interest in categories will not participate in the judging of those categories.
  • Following the deadline, judges are given every entry,  provided in the same format and without any material that goes against the terms and conditions.
  • Judges score each entry according to the criteria of each category.
  • Judges will then meet to discuss their scores and make a final decision during a single day of judging, based on the contents of the written entry.
  • The judging process is confidential and all decisions are final.