BEST OF THE WEST: OVO ENERGY, SOUTHGATE, TRIODOS BANK

Welcome to May’s Best of the West feature, giving major props (as always) to three business success stories here in the South West.

So who’s making a big splash this month?

OVO ENERGY

OVO Energy is fast becoming one of the key challengers to the Big Six energy companies in the UK.

The company, which employs 1000 people at its head office in Bristol and sister site in London, only started trading in 2009 but has already grown to serve nearly 700,000 customers.

Now their combination of competitive rates and green energy tariffs as standard has resulted in the business being crowned 2017 Energy Supplier of the Year by uSwitch.

Their overall customer satisfaction rating of 96% was the highest in the uSwitch survey’s 11-year history. A truly remarkable achievement, for which we heartily congratulate boss Stephen Fitzpatrick and all at OVO.

Added to the recent announcement that OVO is to sponsor the 2017 Tour of Britain, the brand is clearly riding high in more ways than one.

SOUTHGATE

Bath’s SouthGate is a slick, vibrant and modern shopping district featuring some of the world’s finest retailers.

Broadgate Estates, SouthGate’s owners, are constantly bringing new and exciting brands to the site – sometimes too exciting if truth be told. The recently opened MAC Cosmetics store was forced to shut its doors ten minutes into its launch day because of the crowds that flocked in.

What we as creative enthusiasts particularly love about SouthGate are the really cool installations that crop up at various points of the year.

The highlight of 2016 was Umbrella Street, a beautiful array of umbrellas suspended over the main thoroughfare in perfect formation.

As soon as we saw it we were in love. So we were over the moon to hear last week that the installation won a Purple Apple Marketing Award, which recognises excellence in shopping centre marketing.

Congratulations to the team behind Umbrella Street. We can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store this summer.

TRIODOS BANK

When you think of ethics in business, one sector that you would be forgiven for not plucking examples from is banking.

Triodos are aiming to change that by putting ethics and sustainability at their heart. They do this in a range of ways: funding environmentally friendly companies, fully offsetting its carbon footprint and being the only commercial bank in the UK to provide an annual list of all the loans it has made.

It’s slightly dubious to claim Triodos as a South West-based business, as they’re actually a Dutch company. But their UK headquarters are in Bristol, and we’re including them in Best of the West as they have just announced the great news that they’ll be introducing current accounts in the UK for the first time.

So if you’re fed up with the big banks and their questionable morals, go get yourself a Triodos account and relax – your money and conscience are both in safe hands.