Ely Business Awards: Small Business of the Year Award Q&A with last year's winner

PUBLISHED: 12:28 18 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:28 18 April 2018

The Ely Business Awards 2017 winner of Small Business of the Year Silver Oak Coffee. PHOTO: Submitted

The Ely Business Awards 2017 winner of Small Business of the Year Silver Oak Coffee. PHOTO: Submitted

Submitted

The Ely Business Awards, which began in 2009, has quickly become a highlight of the business calendar - one of the main categories being the Small Business of the Year Award.

The Ely Business Awards 2017 winner of Small Business of the Year Silver Oak Coffee. PHOTO: Submitted The Ely Business Awards 2017 winner of Small Business of the Year Silver Oak Coffee. PHOTO: Submitted

The award is open to any business within East Cambridgeshire, employing typically 10 people or fewer.

Being a very small business is no bar to success in this category. The judges will be looking for performance against business plan and proven success in adapting to market movements.

Entry Criteria

• Outline of business

The Ely Business Awards 2017 winner of Small Business of the Year Silver Oak Coffee. PHOTO: SubmittedThe Ely Business Awards 2017 winner of Small Business of the Year Silver Oak Coffee. PHOTO: Submitted

• Is the business profitable? Account evidence required

• How has it successfully adapted to changing markets?

• How does it fit into its marketplace?

• What are the plans for development?

The 2017 winner was Silver Oak Coffee.

The judges said: “This is a great local business in a crowded market but has positioned themselves well in a niche within the coffee market.

“They show a great passion alongside great knowledge for coffee and are big on working with the community and supportive of customers services and needs.

“A real team Business.”

Q&A with Silver Oak Coffee:

Briefly what has happened since winning in 2017?

“We have launched our new Coffee Rig and are now on Ely Market Square six days a week.

“We have taken on two new permanent full time staff and three part time.

“We have updated our website and grown online sales significantly.

What have been the company’s main challenges in 2017/18?

“Making the move from a husband and wife team to a team of professional staffing.

“Recruitment was the challenge - holding out for the right staff and not dying in the meantime.”

What has been your biggest success in 2017/18?

“The business being labelled ‘a going concern’ by our accountant and it being able to fund the Coffee Rig without outside investment.

“A massive investment that will make the business sustainable.”

What are your plans for 2018 and beyond?

“To secure our position at the heart of Ely Market.

“To grow online and the commercial side of the business.”

What did winning the awards mean to you and what would you say to businesses thinking about entering the awards for the first time?

“Entering the awards forced us to stop and think clearly about our strategic direction, not easy to do in a small business, but something that has really helped us to move forward with confidence.

“We would say to anyone thinking about entering that you won’t have time to put together the application, but do it anyway!”

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