2015 Winners

Winners of the Croydon Business Excellence Awards 2015

Business Of The Year

Winner: RISEgallery

Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison, founder of RISEgallery, said: There are so many amazing companies in Croydon. We’re not huge, we don’t have a lot of money, we don’t have many resources which many others do but what we do have is the support of Croydon’s business community and of the people who live and work within Croydon and that’s more special than anything.

Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Patricia Hay-Justice, said on behalf of the judges: The Business of the Year winner was judged criteria that looked at the overall success of the business alongside the contribution that it’s making to change the perceptions of the borough at this very important time, with the regeneration and growth taking place here. There were a number of companies which met the criteria and the final decision was certainly not an easy one. However, the RISEgallery is a very worthy Business of the Year.

Best Business For Training And Development

Winner: Chequers Contract Services Ltd

Kate Ward of Chequers Contract Services said: It’s unbelievable to win this award, our third award of the evening, but again this most go to our staff for all their hard work, their support and their dedication. We invest in them but they invest back in the company and we all reap the rewards.

Steve Rapley, international trade adviser of UK Trade and Investment, said on behalf of the judges: With a desire to incorporate all members of the community into their business, and a willingness to train each individual at all levels, this company was the most outstanding candidate in this category.

Highly Commended: McMillan Williams Solicitors.

Commended: Cleankill Environmental Services.

Other finalists: Blackfords

Best Business For Food And Hospitality

Winner: Brasserie Vacherin

Malcolm John, owner of Brasserie Vacherin, said: It’s phenomenal to win a Croydon Business Excellence Award. It’s a great reward for all of the hard work of the team at the Brasserie, but also a big thank you to all of our loyal customers who have supported us throughout the years.

James Booker, news editor of the Croydon Advertiser, said on behalf of the judges: This worthy winner raises the bar and profile for the Croydon restaurant scene. Beating the flourishing brands when it comes to customer reviews, this authentic independent wows patrons with French inspired cuisine. It wasn’t just the incredible food that impressed the judges, the staff training and extensive marketing programme ticked all the boxes.

Highly Commended: Project B. Commended: Brgr&Beer.

Other finalists: Buffets by Design, Dos Santos Foods, The Wine Cellar

Best SME Business

Winner: Futures Supplies & Support Services Ltd

Mandie Kemp, founder of Futures Supplies & Support Services, said: This one is for Croydon and for the fantastic team because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we are now. I wasn’t expecting it all. I’m absolutely overwhelmed. It’s brilliant when you start a business by yourself, it’s someone else telling you that you’ve done well, and it’s recognition for the whole team who work so hard. It’s great for Croydon as well because Croydon hasn’t had a great press so we’re delighted that Croydon businesses are so successful. And it’s great to have my family here as well – my daughter and my son who have played such a big part in the business.

Councillor Toni Letts, of category sponsors Croydon Council, said: Operating as an ISO and carbon neutral business its staff training and development programme is exemplary aspart of their policy to offer opportunities to disadvantaged young people and commitment to become a ‘Living Wage employer’. Their support of local as well as national charities is longstanding – a real example of giving back to the community. Behind this family business lies a genuine success story of a women entrepreneur who has combated a challenging upbringing and presents a tremendous role model and inspiration for women and indeed all local entrepreneurs.

Highly commended: Chequers Contract Services. Commended: Cleankill Environmental Services.

Other finalists: Harris Global, Hawk Wargames, Martek, Nouveau Lashes, Phase 1 Enterprise Training

Independent Retailer Of The Year

Winner: Go2Games.Com

Craig Constantinides, owner of Go2Games.com, said: It’s fantastic. The last thing I won was the Croydon Cross Country Championships. Croydon means so much to me and it’s only getting better so onwards and upwards for Croydon and myself.

Brian Hart of category sponsors Lark Insurance said: The winner of this category has demonstrated incredible enthusiasm which allied to their innovative approach and drive has led to their business growing substantially in a highly competitive market whilst managing to retain that independent and personal touch.

Highly commended: JAM HAIR Sanderstead. Commended: Smash Bang Wallop, Hewitts of Croydon.

Other finalists: Gold Office Solutions Ltd, Lexus Croydon, Lucindas

Best Business For Customer Service

Winner: Mulalley & Co Ltd

Colin Gager, senior contracts manager, of Mulalley & Co, said: Having been in Croydon for 10 years we have seen our company grow and the work that we’ve done for Croydon Council is very much appreciated by them. We work as a team with Croydon – it’s not just Mulalley – it’s a joint effort. To get this award has topped it all and we couldn’t have done it without our resident liaison department and the company is gold rated by Investors in People.

Matthew Sims of Croydon BID, speaking on behalf of the judges, said: The winning company demonstrated very clearly how they listen to their customers’ needs and requirements and are sensitive to the nature of this relationship.

Highly Commended: JAM HAIR Sanderstead. Commended: ICUK Computing Services.

Other finalists: Accountancy Group, AmicusHorizon, ASP Solution, Cleankill Environmental Services, HML Andertons.

Entrepreneur Of The Year

Winner: Click Entertainment Ltd

Jake Wright, founder of Click Entertainment, said: We sell video games, consoles and accessories. We set up six years ago with me and a group of friends. It started from my bedroom, developed to a self-storage place and developed to where we are today. I would like to thank everyone that works with me.

Keith Yeoman of category sponsors Handelsbanken said: For his drive to achieve long term progress, focus on strategic development and ambitious enthusiasm for the business, this person is a worthy winner.

Highly commended: Rob Bosher (Quintessence). Commended: James Naylor, The Croydon Citizen.

Other finalists: Mandie Kemp (Futures Supplies & Support Service), Yuliana Topazly (Phase 1 Enterprise Training), Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison (RISEgallery), Nathalie Selvon-Bruce (Buttercup Bus/VW Campers), Neelofar Khan (Zabardast, The Wrap Company).

Tech Innovation Of The Year

Winner: QuidCycle

Frank Mukahanana, founder of Quidcycle, said: It is an amazing accolade to win the Tech Innovation award. Croydon is all about innovation so to win this award means an awful lot to us.

Peter Lane of category sponsors Sussex Innovation Croydon said: The winners have built a credible and ethical, technology-driven solution, based on a really interesting business model uniting two separate customer groups, each of which are trying to solve very different problems. Their sector knowledge, technology use, passion, and ambition all combined to create a unique, potentially high growth business opportunity.

Highly commended: ICUK Computing Services Ltd.

Commended: Quintessence.

Other finalists: Answers Investigation, Rapid Live Chat, Sleeptwitch, Blackfords

Best Green Business

Winner: Chequers Contract Services Ltd

James Kelly of Chequers Contract Services said: It is great to win this award. We are about what we do for the environment so it is great to get this acknowledgement. Kate Ward added: It’s a team effort so we would like to thank our staff and clients.

Paul Southall, of category sponsors Veolia, said: This company is a great example of where green credentials have been built into a business not often associated with being environmentally friendly. Green solutions are considered at every level, from staff commuting to the cleaning products used.

Highly commended: Cleankill Environmental Services. Commended: Martek.

Other finalists: Energy Donwell/Solar Donwell, Lexus Croydon, Royal Mail Croydon

Best Charity And Social Enterprise

Winner: Mum’s The Chef

Sahara Quli, founder of Mum’s the Chef, said: It’s amazing to win. We’ve worked really hard and we’ve had lots of challenges, but 42 women have got a job out of our programme so we would like to help everyone for their support. It couldn’t have happened anywhere but Croydon.

Annabel Fogden, general manager of Croydon Chamber of Commerce, said on behalf of the judges: This entrant demonstrated considerable ingenuity and pragmatism in creating a model that has become a great commercial and social success. Their work empowers local people, helping the unemployed overcome barriers to employment and takes pressure off the welfare state. This social enterprise also clearly demonstrates prospects for sustainable growth and legacy and is worthy of being the category winner.

Highly commended: Croydon Commitment. Commended: Nightwatch.

Other finalists: 3space, Phase 1 Enterprise Training, Purley Festival

Best Business For Marketing And Social Media

Winner: Hawk Wargames Ltd

Louis Downs of Hawk Wargames: Croydon is a fantastic place and it’s a massive surprise to win. It’s amazing. We were up against some amazing businesses who turn around multi-million pounds a year through social media and marketing. For us it’s a real privilege to be part of an awards ceremony that looks at companies on a level playing field.

Nicholina Andall, of Andall Legal and chair of Croydon Chamber of Commerce, said on behalf of the judges: This was a very difficult category to judge because the finalists range from global giants to small independents but the great thing about social media is that it is available to all and that it is a great leveller. The winner of this category showed a great depth of understanding of their target market and very skilfully utilised social media and live shows to tease and wow their customers.

Highly commended: The Sheriffs Office. Commended: JAM HAIR Sanderstead

Other finalists: Cleankill Environmental Services, dotmailer, McMillan Williams Solicitors, REAL Transfers, Smart Cow Marketing

Best New Business

Winner: RISEgallery

Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison, founder of RISEgallery, said: It’s easy to open a business somewhere that has such an appetite for what you are doing. We just put the business in place and everything grew around that. Thank you Croydon for supporting what we do.

David Robinson of category sponsors Croydon Business Venture said: The winner has not only successfully started their business and repaid their start up debt in less than 12 months but they have also been conscious of their responsibilities to the Croydon community by assisting disadvantaged people to access art and helped to revitalise St George’s Walk.

Highly commended: Bashford and Co. Commended: Stonelock Photography.

Other finalists: Dalila’s Kaftans, Edison Telecommunications, JPM Resourcing, Project B, QuidCycle.

Apprenticeship Provider Of The Year

Winner: Chequers Contract Services Ltd

Kate Ward of Chequers Contract Services said: We’ve got 16 apprentices in our company and we’re incredibly proud of all them. They all work so hard and we are very proud to support them and watch their development. This award is for all of their hard work and dedication.

Gary Peters, of Love Local Jobs, said on behalf of the judges: Apprenticeships are very close to my heart and all of the finalists have done really well. Each department at Chequers provides effective positive mentoring with strong support for apprentices. They are very committed to the programme; ensuring excellent welfare support. Their processes are very well planned including external training and short term placements to enhance learning.

Highly commended: Fairfield Halls. Commended: Croydon College.

Other finalists: iProTech, Monetary Solutions, Smart Cow Marketing

Commitment To The Community

Winner: Caridon Property

Akeel Alidina, managing director of Caridon Property said: Thank you to everyone that has supported us. We couldn’t have done it without the team who are the people that make things happen. It’s a great achievement and accolade for us. Mario Carrozzo, group CEO, added: There’s a lot of talk about investment in Croydon and we will continue to invest in Croydon.

Simon Kirby of category sponsors Allianz Global Assistance said: This company has a longstanding commitment to helping some of Croydon’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens, and are a wholly deserving winner of this category.

Highly commended: John Ruskin College. Commended: AmicusHorizon.

Other finalists: Matthews Yard, Phase 1 Enterprise Training, Streets Ahead Estate Agents

Best Creative And Media Sector Business

Winner: Jerrard Wayne Creatives

Carl Dennie, director of Jerrard Wayne Creatives, said: Being a young business, winning a Croydon Business Excellence Award is a big thing for us. It’s our first business award so we are very excited.

Ian Harvey of the Whitgift Centre said on behalf of the judges: This company has demonstrated an exceptional creative approach to rebranding, multi-media platforms and strategic consultancy which has helped deliver proven results for both local independent and international clients across many different business sectors.

Highly Commended: Stonelock Photography. Commended: Buttercup Bus/VW Campers.

Other finalists: ASP Solutions Ltd, The Croydon Citizen, Thread Drawn by Tobyboo.