Amplify, the NEC Group’s premier hospitality business and hospitality provider for Resorts World Arena and Arena Birmingham, were crowned the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) Business of the Year.

The ambitious, six-strong team, led by Sally Walder, say they have adopted a “mindset of continuous improvement” and the award judges were impressed with their growing performance from modest beginnings.

They were selected for the GBCC’s premier title, sponsored by SCC, Europe's largest IT solutions company after clinching the award for Excellence in Sales and Marketing, supported by O2.

They have helped the NEC Group become the UK’s leading live events business operating in exhibitions, conferences, music, sports, family entertainment and hospitality.

Amplify’s reputation, both in the West Midlands and beyond, has led to incredibly high demand.

There is a waiting list for their premium membership offer, Air, and there is a new debenture-style membership to meet demand.

Newly-introduced call-back technology means the team don’t lose potential sales leads and website enhancements have made it easier for customers to book.

The website now offers sample menus for each hospitality level and virtual Google Earth tours of the restaurants, showing off the premium food choices and dining spaces on offer. Highlights of the past year have included:

  • Take That – hospitality tickets sold out in hours, with more people than before choosing hospitality over standard seating.
  • The Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2018 generated a record year of hospitality revenue.

Russell Jeans, the GBCC’s chief operating officer, who chaired the judging panel, said: “Amplify exude a continual improvement ethos - capitalising on innovative new digital commerce, exceptional client knowledge, customer service and outstanding brand marketing to drive sales in this incredibly dynamic and exciting business.”


Excellence in Contribution to the Community (Sponsors: Big John’s)

St Mary’s Hospice

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice are celebrating 40 years of providing care across Birmingham and Sandwell. Their mission is to “enable anyone with a life-limiting illness to live their life to the full” - a statement created by founder Monica Pearce.

Excellence in Customer Service (Sponsors: Virgin Trains)

Handle Kingdom Ltd

Handle Kingdom, who specialise in the retail of architectural hardware, have a strong commitment to “Customer is King” and go the extra mile to create an enjoyable and memorable experience. They have developed processes and simplified policies to make them customer friendly and  have  invested in training staff.

Excellence in Hospitality (Sponsors: Quality Business)

Conference Aston

A subsidiary of Aston University, Conference Aston is now one of the city’s foremost meeting destinations. With more than 40 years’ experience in the hospitality industry it has carefully crafted its offering to deliver high-quality service across its operations. The catering team have launched a campaign focusing on health-conscious menus.

Excellence in International Business (Sponsors: Aston University)

AFL Architects

AFL Architects, delivering high-profile sports projects globally, have grown their international business by 143 per cent over three years. They have established themselves worldwide with projects like the 80,000-seat Lusail Stadium, the largest venue at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar which will host the final and opening matches.

Excellence in Manufacturing (Sponsors: Birmingham Airport)

KEP Print Group

KEP Print Group, in an industry where countless print manufacturers have closed since the rise of digital marketing, have not only survived but made major changes to enter into a new chapter of sustainable growth. The Group has been a staple of the Greater Birmingham business community for 40 years.

Excellence in People Development (Sponsors: Wesleyan)

National Express

The public transport company is driven by the belief that they are a people business, employing many thousands and moving millions of customers. As well as being the biggest proportion of their workforce, they regard their bus and coach drivers are their most important and most valuable asset.

Excellence in Retail (Sponsors: Bullring and Grand Central)

Loki Wines

In seven years Loki Wine have been cited many times for being at the forefront of the independent drive in Birmingham that came out of the financial crisis in 2008.

Loki have won every national industry award in the UK and they were the first West Midlands merchant to win a national wine retail award.

Excellence in Technology & Innovation (Sponsors: Millennium Point)

Managed Enterprise Technologies Ltd


The cyber security firm are driving forward with innovations and are currently collaborating with Birmingham City University (BCU) as part of the Big Data Corridor initiative to develop their own Artificial Intelligence (AI).  The result will give METCloud a global advantage in cyber defence and surveillance.

Excellence in Training and Education (Sponsors: Scholars School System)

Services for Education

The charity, dedicated to providing music tuition for a wide range of organisations, including schools and local authorities, engages with 37,991 children in Birmingham each week. It tackles unconventional issues rarely discussed with other training providers and practices activities like healthy eating and mental health awareness.