Indian street food venture Mowgli scoops top accolade at Merseyside Independent Business Awards with manufacturers Warwick North West and Dams Furniture other notable winners. Tony McDonough reports
Nisha Katona’s Indian street food business Mowgli won the headline award at the 2023 Merseyside Independent Business (MIB) Awards.
In front of an audience of 500 guests at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool’s northern docklands, Mowgli was named Merseyside Independent Business of the Year. It also won the Restaurant of the Year award.
Founded by Nisha Katona in Liverpool in 2014, this year Mowgli has added two more restaurants in Edinburgh and Brighton, taking the total number to 17.
It has also won awards for its employment standards and its charitable foundation has raised more than £1.6m to date.
In January this year it was announced Nisha had sold a significant stake in the business to London-based investor TriSpan. Private equity outfit Foresight Group also sold its 24% stake in Mowgli. The deal was believed to value the firm at £25m to £30m. Nisha remains chief executive.
Bootle window and door maker Warwick North West won the award for Employer of the Year. Only days before managing director Greg Johnson had told LBN how he was thrown into the deep end in late 2021 when he took the helm of the business.
Greg’s father Brian Johnson, who had run the family firm since 2008, was diagnosed with cancer and had to step down from the top job. Despite initially feeling overwhelmed Greg has grown annual revenues at the firm from £5m to almost £12m.
He told LBN: “There were people here who had been with the business a long time. They supported me in those early days and the wisdom and experience they possessed proved invaluable. I’ll never be able to thank them enough.”
Other winners on the night included Knowsley-based Dams Furniture, which won the Trades or Manufacturing Award, Merseymade in the Retailer of the Year category, and electronic signature business E-Sign, winner of the Digital and Technology Award.
The MIB Awards were created by Morecrofts Solicitors to showcase local independent businesses and leading entrepreneurs and highlight their social and economic impact in the city region.
Alison Lobb, managing partner at Morecrofts Solicitors, said: “There is clearly an enormous sense of pride and kinship within our independent business community and that is always demonstrated through the MIB Awards.
“Every year, we are taken aback by the high volume of entries and the incredible performance of some of our fellow local independent businesses.
“Entrepreneurs and business owners are rightly proud of their own achievements and those of their peers, and that is what makes these awards so very special.
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, headline sponsor of the awards, added: “The variety of businesses winning awards this evening is a clear reflection of the diversity and strength of local independents.
“There is always a palpable energy and optimism when the community comes together, despite the many external factors that continue to challenge businesses right now, and we are delighted to be part of this occasion.”
MIB Awards Winners 2023:
- Trades or Manufacturing Business of the Year – Dams Furniture
- Professional Services Business of the Year – Bathgate Business Finance
- Culture & Tourism – Future Yard
- Best Creative Business – Make C.I.C
- Community Impact – Southport Bijou Cinema
- Retailer of the Year – MerseyMade
- Best Start Up – Manifest
- Bar of the Year – The Dead Crafty Beer Company
- Restaurant of the Year – Mowgli Street Food
- Health & Wellbeing – Evolving Mindset
- Employer of the Year – Warwick North West
- Digital & Technology – E-Sign
- Business Person of the Year – Moira O’Shaughnessy, Financial Planning Corporation
- Merseyside Independent Business of the Year – Mowgli Street Food