On Thursday 23 June, The Kent Excellence in Business Awards (the KEiBAs), run by the KM Group and Kent County Council, took place at the Kent Showground in Detling where nearly 600 guests attended to see who would win the 15 categories.
Four of Locate in Kent’s successes were finalists in the awards with Alan Firmin in the Business Commitment the Environment Award, Thanet Earth in the Large Business of the Year category, Fudge Kitchen in the Manufacturing Business of the Year award and Bedfont Scientific in the Technology Business of the Year category. A fifth success, Childrensalon, was announced as both a finalist in the Employer of the Year category and winner of the Customer Service and Commitment Award.
Two of Locate in Kent’s partners were also successful with Mark Quinn, a member of Kent Developer’s Group, winning the Entrepreneur of the Year award, and Kreston Reeves announced as finalist in the Employer of the Year category.
The big winner of the evening was Ashford-based Integrated Technologies Ltd, known as ITL, a medical device manufacturer who was named the county’s Large Business of the Year and Manufacturing Business of the Year. The company has pulled off the double double by winning two prizes for the second time in three years.
Another double winner of the evening was Sleeping Giant Media, a digital agency based in Folkestone, which was named Employer of the Year and SME Business of the Year.
The Outstanding Contribution to Business in Kent award went to Clive Emson, the auctioneer whose Maidstone-based company has become known on TV shows like Homes Under the Hammer.
Another local TV personality, 17-year-old Ben Towers, who became a regular on CBBC show Pocket Money Pitch, won Young Entrepreneur of the Year for his digital agency Towers Design, which is turning over £438,000 a year.
Kent County Council cabinet member for economic development Cllr Mark Dance said: “With over 250 entries, the judges were faced with the unenviable challenge of whittling it down to just 46 finalists.
“A huge congratulations to all those who won an award. You have every reason to feel proud of your achievement.
“For eight years now, KEiBA has showcased the strongest, most vibrant businesses and the people behind them.
“Even those that didn’t walk away with a trophy, they still have reasons to be proud.
“Everyone who entered is testament to the resilience, strength and determination of the Kentish business.”
Other winners of the evening included Horizonscan, which teaches fire safety to businesses in tall buildings around the world, and picked up the prize for Success in International Markets. Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems, an ink supplier exporting to 86 countries based in Broadstairs, was announced in the Business Commitment to the Environment category. Meanwhile, James Fitness, a personal training company which runs free fitness sessions for people in Herne Bay, was recognised for Business Commitment to the Community.
KM Group managing director Richard Elliot said: “So many great businesses have been nominated and the people who work in those businesses should feel really proud.
“We know from past experience that winning a KEIBA is great for your business, not only for how people feel internally but also how they are perceived externally.
“We have hosted these awards with KCC for the last eight years and it just seems to get better and better.
“The companies that enter the KEIBAs make the awards so special and I thank the judges and sponsors and all those who put on such a great event.
“Here’s to another successful year for businesses in Kent.”
Other winners included Winterdale Cheese near Wrotham, which was named Land-based Business of the Year, and coffee shop Finch House in Tonbridge, which won Tourism and Hospitality Business of the Year. Texcel Technology, an electronic design and engineering company based in Dartford, is the new Technology Business of the Year, while the Wirebelt Company in Sittingbourne won Apprenticeship of the Year for its latest graduate Aaron Cogger. And Start-up Business of the Year went to Aero Legends, a company offering pleasure flights in a Spitfire from Headcorn Aerodrome.
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