What the judges had to say

THE Ely Standard East Cambridgeshire Business Awards took place at The Maltings on Friday October 23, 2009. The event s main sponsors Price Bailey Chartered Accountants and East Cambridgeshire District Council joined representatives from the local busines

THE Ely Standard East Cambridgeshire Business Awards took place at The Maltings on Friday October 23, 2009.

The event's main sponsors Price Bailey Chartered Accountants and East Cambridgeshire District Council joined representatives from the local business community in a celebration to recognise good practice and excellence in business.

The awards were judged by a panel of experts from Business Link, the Ely Chamber of Trade and the Federation of Small Business. The judges told us they were all impressed with the quality of the applications. Each award was scored against set criteria and our finalists represented the highest-scoring entries for each category.

Environment and Community

Award - sponsored by M Rogerson Ltd

Winner - First Strike Soccer Schools

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Runners-up - National Express and Waitrose, Ely

The judges said: "1st Strike Soccer Schools promotes football in a fun way and encourages children to enjoy sports, eat well, play fair and adopt a healthy active lifestyle. The school is run on a Saturday, with the principles giving up their free time as volunteer coaches and referees.

This is an impressive story of commitment and planning to deliver a fantastic benefit to the local community, as well as promoting healthy eating and exercise."

Business Person of the Year - sponsored by Barclays Commercial Bank

Winner - Will Marston, Lollipop Animation

Runner-up - Robbie Rouse, Blue Donkey

Will Marston of Lollipop Animation started his business four years ago opening a business based around his passion for all things animated - mainly prints and illustrations. After being open for only a few months he started to receive requests from the general public for specific prints which then led him to realising a gap in the market for British cartoon art and within six months he had his licence to print and manufacture art prints of Paddington Bear, Rupert the Bear and Danger Mouse.

The judges were impressed with Will's entrepreneurial skills and dedication to the business, which continues to drive forward a successful international business.

Will said: "I was absolutely delighted to win the Business Person of the Year. It was an honour to have been recognised for my work but I told everyone at Lollipop that it was really an award for all of us and all our hard work this year.

"The evening as a whole was fantastic, everything ran very well and it was very professional."

Employer of the Year - sponsored by East Cambridgeshire District Council

Winner - Simon Taylor Hairdressing

The judges said: "Our winner has a clear commitment to the development of his employees, even to the extent of enabling them to move on in business for themselves - very well done."

Simon Taylor said: "We were all very pleased to have won and we had a fantastic night. It's a real honour to be have been recognised by the judges for all the hard work we have put in."

Retailer of the Year

Winner - Maxavita

Runners-up - DKW Fashions, Mayer Accessories.

Maxavita is an online retailer that supplies unique and effective nutritional products for horses, dogs and humans. They have been trading since 2006 with just four employees. Being an online retailer has helped the company maintain its place in the market especially during this economic climate.

The judges said: They were clear winners, demonstrating a real understanding of the essence of retailing.

Neil Hammill of Maxavita, said: "We were delighted to have won the retailer award especially as we are an online business and considering also the strength of the other finalists in the category.

"We met some really nice people on the evening and lots of people who are committed to helping local business thrive which is great. We will be looking forward to trying again for an award next year."

Training and Development - sponsored by E-Voice Speech Recognition


Winner - Blue Donkey

Runners-up: 1A Dental, Simon Taylor Hairdressing

Blue Donkey Ltd is a business to business telemarketing company who pioneered the concept of unscripted, intelligent telemarketing and have created a showcase of successful stories for leading global brands. Training and development of their staff is an integral part of their business with staff spending 10% of their working lives in training, briefing or monitoring as standard.

The judges said: "Demonstrated a clear commitment to developing skills and compenties at all levels which is a significant component of the business success. With staff retention going up year on year as well as turnover, their training and development is second to none!

Sureya Landini of Blue Donkey said: "It was a fantastic evening for all of us. We really were delighted and surprised to have been recognised, especially as there were so many strong candidates in our categories.

"We pride ourselves on being a centre of excellence for our industry and it is so important for us to be recognised in the area where we are based and it also shows that East Cambridgeshire is not only a great place to live but also a great place to set up a thriving business."

Entrepreneur of the Year - sponsored by Mamut Software

Winner - Emma Furness, Mums About Food

Runner-up - Carla Low, DKW Fashions

Emma Furness started Mum's About Food with her business partner Claire Storey in 2007.

Mum's About Food is a community interest company which runs innovative and informative healthy eating workshops for all ages and abilities throughout the Cambridgeshire.

The judges said: "Clear entrepreneurial skills leading by example. We will be surprised if we don't see Emma back next year."

Emma said: "I was absolutely chuffed to bits to have won; when my name was called out I was stunned.

"When I found out that I had been put forward for the award I thought that it would just be nice to have been mentioned among the finalists, but to have won really was special and it capped a really nice evening."

Customer Service Award

Winner - Clic Face and Body The judges said: "We had lots of entries but one business proved that with their customer service, they outshone the others. Their customers said of this business 'all the therapists are so kind and helpful, they really do pamper you' 'after a friend recommended this salon - the rest is history, friendly, knowledgeable and professional'.

Women in Business - sponsored by the Ely Standard

Winner - Sureya Landini, Blue Donkey

Runners-up - Rachel Lemkov,

Peacocks Tearoom, Sharon Kindleysides, Kapsch

Sureya Landini is the owner of Blue Donkey Intelligent Telemarketing and started the business in 1997. After working for other telemarketing companies she saw a gap for an intelligent non scripted telemarketing company.

The judges said: "Sureya has shown a creative flair within her industry, been innovative and not afraid to be different. She has made a success of her business through a combination of creative thinking, determination and hard work. A fantastic example for other aspiring business women. Sureya said: "I was delighted to have won the Women in Business Award. What an award like this shows is that girls have just as much opportunity to succeed as boys and it says to young girls like my daughter to keep working hard because the opportunities are out there."

New Business - sponsored by Eazipay

Winner - Annafield Ltd

Runners-up - DKW Fashions, Two 19 Tattoos

Annafield Ltd - also known as the Lazy Otter - run a pub, residential homes and a Marina. Within two years they have refurbished the restaurant and doubled turnover and put a play area in for the children.

They have just received planning permission for 14 lodge style homes and 50 touring caravans which will start work in 2010.

The judges said: "This is a growing business with lots of future potential for expansion - watch this space!"

James Gough of Annafield said: "We were really pleased to have won. We have put in a tremendous amount of work in the last year to get our business established and it was fantastic to have been recognised.

"It was a fantastic evening overall, everything went really well and with a bit of luck we will back next year trying to win the business of the year award."

Business of the Year - sponsored by Price Bailey Chartered Accountants

Winner - Blue Donkey

The judges said: "This business sent multiple entries in, and proved that they truly value their staff, be it through training and development or through the quality of entries they made on behalf of staff for these awards.