250 guests celebrate the winners and finalists from the 10th Ely Standard Business Awards held on Friday night at Ely Cathedral
- Credit: Archant
ST1 Group Ltd was named business of the year at the 10th annual Ely Standard Business Awards held in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral on Friday night and attended by more than 250 guests, civic dignitaries and business leaders.
From its base in Ely the company has grown over the past decade to offer specialist quantity surveying services across the UK.
Judges described ST1 as “a fantastic business that began as a start-up in an e-space unit 10 years ago.
“Having grown its own local talent, it now has branches in London, the South West and Manchester and is able to support the construction sector across Britain and into Europe. This is indeed a genuine Ely success story”.
The company offers specialist quantity surveying services and credits it success to “ambition, dedication and meticulous attention to detail”. It says it is now has the “enviable goal of working with some of the UK’s leading corporate businesses, retailers and organisations”
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The award, sponsored by Whiting and Partners, was presented to ST1 by partner Ian Piper.
The BBC’s Sue Dougan, who hosted the ceremony, said the business of the year “is not directly entered but is chosen by our judging panel from the winning corporate entries.
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“It is given to a company they feel has demonstrated great business practice as well as financial success”.
The judges’ award is to recognise an individual or company that did not win a category but that the judges felt needed special recognition.
Councillor Peter Cresswell, chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council, revealed the winner and presented the award to Almost Angels Tattoo Family.
The judges said they were “very impressed” with this business and singled out Faye
Peters-Tucker who they acknowledged “has transformed her vision for bringing body art from the back alley to the high street.
“She is a commendable business woman whose robust business plan is taking shape with the inclusion of apprentices and her involvement in ink technology.
“The future is bright for Almost Angels and almost certainly a rising star.”
Chosen as employer of the year was Life Fitness UK; a local company based in Queen Adelaide since 1992 that supplies fitness equipment to help people lead active and healthy lives.
Ms Dougan said that the award, sponsored by Thorlabs, set out to recognise the importance of staff to a company.
“This category set out to find businesses that demonstrate strong commitment to staff and to assess how employees benefit the business,” she said.
Judges said Life Fitness was “an internationally renowned fitness company with a small company feel.
“There is a strong focus on training and development which is personalised and comprehensive.
“But their succession planning which matches abilities and aspirations of employees to business needs really stands out.”
The judges added: “They all have a fun and engaging work place culture, creative benefits, such as paid time to work out in the on-site gym and they place emphasis on reward and recognition, make it easy to name them employer of the year”.
The Moore Hair Company.
It is a busy hair salon in the centre of Ely, providing a wide range of quality hairdressing services by a professional, dedicated and friendly team.
This is a planning and property consultancy which offers a mix of planning and survey work with commercial and residential clients.
Business project analyst Buki Dada of Thorlabs presented the award.
The innovation award is to the business that has shown how they have introduced new ideas, techniques or technology into the organisation or marketplace or how creative ideas are being turned into business success stories.
This year’s winner was Blue Donkey Ltd, a company that provides intelligent, unscripted, business to business outbound telemarketing.
Their work includes lead generation, appointment setting, database services, market research, mailing follow up and associated consulting and staff training.
Judges said of the winner: “Despite being an established business Blue Donkey works in the competitive market place of B2B telemarketing.
“It has innovative processes to maintain and develop their position in the corporate world and are worthy winners of this category.”
The other finalist was Little Betties who stock diverse and unique items ranging from antiques, furniture, garden ware, giftware, clothing and more. It is a new establishment and, said, the judges, ever growing, with the potential to hold 30 local, independent traders.
The award was sponsored by Labour Tech Recruitment and the announcement of the winner and presentation of the award was made by business manager Emilia Doswell.
In the category for business person of the year three individuals made it to the short list.
The category sponsors were Fraser Dawbarns LLP and consultant solicitor Eileanora Ni-Charthaig was invited to the stage to announce the winner and present the award.
The winner was Andrew Samalionis of Gourmet Brownie Ltd.
The company bakes and sells a range of what they describe as “decadent brownie treats to suit every palate through events, website sales and retail outlets”.
Ms Dougan said it was “a very special and hotly contested award.
“Individuals can make the difference between a good and a great company, and the skills, experience and vision that they bring can be invaluable.
“The nominations for this category are for senior individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to their company’s performance”.
Judges said the winner “impressed the judges with what was a clear vision of his company.
“He has applied years of experience in international sales to grow what began as a small family operation into a nationally trading business establishing Gourmet Brownie Limited’s brand along the way.
“Andrew’s drive and tenacity is fundamental to the company’s success.”
They added: “He continues to involve himself at every level of the business from production to business strategy - an extremely worthy winner.”
Faye Holland of Cofinitive Ltd was a finalist: her corporate communications consultancy specialises in branding, strategy, marketing communication and engagement
The other finalist was Kayleigh Beeton of Busy Bee Recruitment Ltd. Her company specialises in permanent, contract and temporary recruitment throughout East Anglia.
In the retailer of the year category there were five finalists with the entries selected for their focus on sales performance, plus how the relationship between the business and the consumer is developed.
The category is supported by The Ely Chamber of Commerce and the award was presented by John Bridge, chief executive of Cambridgeshire chambers of commerce.
The award went to OOSTOR.com, a company that sells unique products made by independent brands from different parts of the world to customers who want something special in their lives.
Judges acknowledged it had an impressive sales and marketing strategy that has accelerated their growth in a very short period.
“Their business model is tailored to operate in the modern era of social media browsing leading to spin-off impulse buys,” they said.
“Our judges believe OOSTOR.com is a very impressive tec-savvy retailer. Their on-line business is sure to be a big player in lifestyle sales.”
The other finalists were:
Spectacular Opticians EA Ltd
An independent family run business with fully qualified ophthalmologist and optometrists.
Lemon Tree Deli Café
A family run deli and cafe selling a wide range of local produce as well as a homemade range of cakes, preserves, deli style rolls and sandwiches, platters and salads.
Almost Angels Tattoo Family (Almost Angels Ltd), a state of the art tattoo studio which also offers body piercing and a laser tattoo removal facility within the heart of Ely.
Premier Travel Ely, an independent travel agent with over 80 years’ experience in arranging holidays and leisure travel.
G’s Fresh sponsored the customer service award that was presented by marketing director Anthony Gardener to Atrium Fitness.
Judges said Atrium had “impressive and visible customer objectives, meticulously measured in time with what customers want.
“Atrium listens to their feedback and deliver clearly evidenced great customer service”.
Finalists were Lemon Tree Deli Café, OOSTOR.com. and Blue Donkey Ltd.
The award for medium business of the year was to recognize the role these companies play in our economy and in our area.
This award was sponsored by Ellgia Recycling and Joe Hemsley-Rudd, sales and marketing director, was on hand to announce the winner and present the trophy.
Opening the gold envelope to reveal the name, he said: “The winner of the medium business of the year award is ST1 Group Ltd.”
Judges said ST1 offered a unique selling point that makes them a worthy winner in this category.
Finalists included Deanta UK Ltd who design and manufacture oak, walnut and white primed doors throughout the UK.
The Highfield Event Group Ltd who are a marquee hire and event management company also made the short list.
And Blue Donkey Ltd made it through to the finals, their performance across a number of categories commended by the judges.
Small business of the year saw Gourmet Brownie Ltd scoop top honours.
Small businesses are big news in East Cambridgeshire, said the judges, and provide a large percentage of employment in the area.
The award was sponsored by King’s Ely and Jordan Day, head of media and public relations, was invited to the stage to announce the winner and hand over the trophy.
Judges said of our winner that it was “a real entrepreneurial business starting from nothing to supplying large retailers.”
It had stuck to its values, and was a family firm, locally based and supportive of the community.
“It has enjoyed an extremely fascinating growth story and is a real credit to the Ely business community,” said the judges.
Cofinitive Ltd, PlanSurv Limited, Almost Angels Tattoo Family (Almost Angels Ltd) and Lemon Tree Deli Café were all on the short list.
New business of the year award is a category open to any company of any size, including sole traders that have been set up since January 1, 2017.
This award was sponsored by Cambridge Commodities and finance director Ian Mitchell was called to the stage to reveal the winner and present the trophy.
“The winner of the new business award is Busy Bee Recruitment Ltd,” he said.
The judges praised the company’s enthusiasm to succeed.
“Kayleigh and the team are clearly massively knowledgeable about the industry and their passion to place the right people in the right job shines through,” said the judges.
Finalists included AboutMyAreaEly, a hyper local news and what’s on that provides Ely and the local area with up to date information and news.
Little Roos, a family run independent business stocking children’s clothing from birth up to 12 years of age, was another finalist.
It offers quality brands to its customers not previously available in Ely
OOSTOR.com completed the short list.
Before the main awards began host Sue Dougan announced “another celebration I would like to share with you”.
Judges had decided to recognise N&C Glass who are celebrating their 35th anniversary this year in business in Ely.
“During those 35 years they have built up a solid reputation and contributed a great deal to the Ely community,” said the judging panel.
Ms Dougan said it was the judges’ overwhelming opinion that all would agree “doing business with N&C Glass has been a genuine pleasure.
“So without further ado I would like to invite the managing director Nick Flack to the stage to receive a token of appreciation.”
Mr Flack was presented with champagne and a special congratulatory certificate.
Prior to the commencement of the awards, The King’s Barbers from King’s Ely had entertained guests.
The all-boys a cappella group celebrated their 25th anniversary last year, and in April this year they won the National Youth a Cappella competition. Ely Standard Editor John Elworthy told guests, in his opening remarks, that this week’s edition had been one of the paper’s biggest in recent years.
The 80-page paper showed growth had been achieved, people were enjoying both the company’s on line and print offering, and he looked forward to another successful year both for parent company Archant andt for all businesses in East Cambridgeshire.
A raffle in aid of the of Mayor of Ely’s charities raised nearly £700; top prize was a fantastic Sunday lunch for four at the Poets House Hotel, Ely.