The Grant Thornton Mid-Cap Business of the Year Award recognises listed companies or mutuals in the mid-cap range.
"Share price is often driven by investor sentiment about the wider economy, rather than how the business is performing," says Scott Barnes, CEO of Grant Thornton. "An organisation's reputation for how well it is governed and managed can be more important than profit and performance if investors feel it is doing the right thing for future success.
"If you can see that a company is investing in the future, and is clear about its market focus and where to expand, then investors will derive more confidence from understanding its strategy for growth. Investors don't want to see a company battening down the hatches; they want to see investment in the medium to long term."
All finalists of the Grant Thornton Mid-Cap Business of the Year have invested in growth during the downturn, with many enjoying the benefits over the last 18 months.
Cineworld, which has seen admissions rise as a result of some major blockbusters in 2010 and 2011, has benefited from its investment in 3D and digital technology. Proudly boasting that it brought Bollywood to UK multiplexes, Cineworld's policy of showing a range of films - from arthouse to mainstream - has expanded and diversified its client-base, which in turn has made it one of the most resilient players in its sector.
Learning from its heavy exposure to the IT sector when the dotcom bubble burst, recruitment specialist Harvey Nash not only diversified its offering to help it adapt to the changing economy, but also looked at ways to professionalise recruitment and transform the way the industry is perceived, in turn creating greater confidence among its key stakeholders.
Proving that some of the best innovations are the simplest, Majestic Wine gained market share and boosted profits by simply reducing the minimum number of bottles per purchase from 12 to six. It has also innovated the customer experience, not only training staff to become more expert about wine but also educating customers through food and wine-matching classes and online videos.
From specialist retailing to specialist manufacturing, Renishaw has continually invested in R&D, designing and patenting new products and the machines to make them. Exporting over 90% of its British-made products overseas, it has also invested in partnerships and infrastructure throughout the world, even penetrating markets like China and establishing a strong foothold.
"Those organisations that continued to invest in people and continued to innovate have prospered," says Barnes. "This year's finalists have demonstrated that well-managed businesses can thrive and prosper in challenging times."