BUSINESS experts have been praised for their work supporting enterprises.

Colchester Business Enterprise Agency (Colbea) was named Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year at the 2019 National Enterprise Network Awards.

Colbea is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting businesses in the town.

It delivers more than 1,000 training and advice sessions to businesses every year.

The group was given the award for its match-funding, sponsorship, partnerships and engagement with local businesses.

The judges praised Colbea’s strong commitment and determination to support impactful initiatives.

Ashleigh Seymour-Rutherford, Colbea’s chief executive, said: “2019 has been a year in which Colbea has really started to deliver on our five year strategy of developing a self-sustainable commercial model, providing a strong foundation for the long-term delivery of our core-funded programme.

“By match-funding any income with sponsorship from local businesses, Colbea has been able to invest in our fully-funded business advice service and low cost training courses.

“Engagement and partnerships with local businesses is another important approach for us as part of the strategy, and one which has enabled us to deliver training courses to the ever-wider sections of the entrepreneurial community and provide drop-in surgeries for local entrepreneurs.

“This award is a fantastic acknowledgement of Colbea and all of our hard work and also of Colchester and the wider area delivering on its outstanding business potential.”

The Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year Award sponsored by Essex University seeks to recognise organisations and their members who are working hard to establish recognition and impact within their communities.

Chairman for the awards Alex Till said: “We were delighted to receive such high quality applications from both within, and outside the network. “It was heartening to see just how many organisations there are across England, sharing our passion for inspiring and encouraging enterprise.”

“It was our pleasure to celebrate their achievements.”