2016 Winners

Winners of the Croydon Business Excellence Awards 2016

Business Of The Year

Winner: Hewitts of Croydon

Martin Hewitt, managing director: “Hewitts of Croydon was started by my great great grandfather and earlier this year we celebrated 150 years in business. The reason why we are still here, as the oldest family run retailer in Croydon, is we have had very good management and very loyal staff. It’s down to them that we have won the Croydon Business of the Year award.

Alison Addy, head of community engagement at Gatwick Airport: For Business of the Year we not only judged the success of the business but its contribution to Croydon. No other business more synonymous with the town than Hewitts. It has probably been around longer than any other business here tonight but remains as relevant today as it has ever done.

Best Creative & Media Business

Winner: Hawk Wargames

Louis Downs, owner of Hawk Wargames: Croydon is such an exciting place to be at the moment and we are really keen to be part of it. It’s great to have won this award for a second year.

James Booker, news editor of the Croydon Advertiser: Hawk Wargames showed a hugely impressive understanding of their industry and their target market, great fundraising skills and a fast-growing and innovative manufacturing operation, all based in Croydon.

Highly commended: Jerrard Wayne Creatives. Commended: Buttercup Bus VW Campers. Other finalist: Creative X

Best Charity or Social Enterprise (sponsored by the Croydon Partnership)

Winner: Nightwatch

Chairman Jad Adams: This means a tremendous amount because it is recognition of 40 years of achievement in Croydon. As Croydon becomes more prosperous, we want to help some of the poorest in our community take a share in those jobs that are being created and those homes that are being built.

Ian Harvey, marketing manager of the Croydon Partnership: This is a thoroughly deserved award for one of the largest voluntary charities in the borough. It has provided practical support and assisted thousands of homeless and vulnerable people in Croydon for more than 40 years.

Highly Commended: Phase 1 Enterprise Training/My Outspace. Commended: Croydon Commitment. Other finalist: The Garwood Foundation.

Best SME Business (sponsored by the London Borough of Croydon)

Winner: Martek

Managing director Derek Galloway: It is a great honour. Croydon is a great place to do business and I would like to thank everyone who played a part in us winning this award. We’ve spent a lot of time making sure our internal structures are in place, and the recognition from our peers is wonderful.

Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for economy and jobs, said: “Martek have demonstrated admiral staff learning and development alongside a commitment to pay all staff, including apprentices, above the London Living Wage. They have continued to open up new customer markets and are a great example of a successful manufacturing business in London.

Highly Commended: Chequers Contract Services. Commended: Cleankill Environmental Services. Other finalists: Arnold & Baldwin, Bluebird Care Croydon, Chequers Contract Services, Diamond Distribution, Fennies Day Nurseries, Nikasu Foods (UK), Silverleaf Group, WPA Education Welfare Services.

Commitment to the Community (sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance)

Winner: Caridon Property Services

Founder Mario Carrozzo: I love what we do because every day we are changing people’s lives – what they really need is a home and support to get them back in the system. We’ve housed over 1,000 over the last few years and this year alone we’ve housed more than 300 in Croydon. We’ve been here for 20 years and I’m passionate about Croydon.

Simon Kirby, head of marketing and communications for Allianz Global Assistance: A commitment to the community is not only massively important to the community but also to the business as well. Caridon’s commitment to helping disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens makes them a worthy winner.

Highly commended: RISEgallery. Commended: Cleankill Environmental Services. Other finalists: Govia Thameslink Railway, Owadally and King.

Best New Business – sponsored by StartUp Croydon

Winner: The Croydon Creative

Co-founder Justin Owens: We’re here to try and improve the impressions of Croydon and to make use of what is effectively dead space which is awaiting redevelopment or not in use. We’ve only been in existence for just over a year so to be recognised in this way is a huge achievement for us.

David Robinson, chairman of StartUp Croydon: The Croydon Creative is a new business formed by three Croydon school friends who brought together skills brought together in different businesses to create a unique service to entertain the people of Croydon. Their organisation, energy and enthusiasm has brought pleasure to its customers and positive publicity for Croydon.

Highly commended: Climate Integrate Solutions. Commended: Uniqodo. Other finalists: Hectik Hair, Pearson Hunter, Playground Cocktail Bar, Shaking Hands, Students Achieve.

Tech Innovation of the Year (sponsored by Sussex Innovation Centre)

Winner: Uniqodo

Chief executive Chris Giddins: It’s a great achievement by the Uniqodo team. Thanks to all the companies who have supported us by using Uniqodo services by supercharging their code-led marketing campaigns.

Ben Holt, director of Sussex Innovation Croydon: We loved the way this company has used technology to solve a specific market problem. Innovation can be all about a technology, but most successful innovation is about the application. Uniqodo has applied technology with focus, customer understanding and, consequently, with rapid financial success.

Highly commended: ICUK Computing Services Ltd. Commended: Artificial Minds.

Apprenticeship Employer of the Year

Winner: Chequers Contract Services

Kate Ward, director of Chequers Contract Services: It means an awful lot to us. We take our apprenticeships extremely seriously and it’s lovel to get this kind of recognition. We are so proud of our apprentices and the hard work that they put in.

John McClafferty, project manager of Keltbray: Chequers make a genuine contribution to the areas in which they work, with passion and enthusiasm and provide structured support and opportunities to young people as a sustainable business practice.

Highly commended: Coversure Insurance Services Ltd. Commended: Croydon College. Other finalist: Fennies Day Nurseries.

Independent Retailer of the Year

Winner: Jam Hair Sanderstead

Owner Jacqui Marola: I can’t say how chuffed I am. It makes the team feel special which is fantastic. In the past we have always been highly commended or commended so we are thrilled to have won this award.

Annabel Fogden, general manager of Croydon Chamber of Commerce: Jacqui has led her business on a transformational journey over the past nine years and clearly demonstrated a combination of excellence in customer service, marketing and management.

Highly commended: Hewitts of Croydon. Commended: Go2Games.com. Other finalists: Gold Office Solutions, Purnell Jewellery.

Best Green Business

Winner: Cleankill Environmental Services

Paul Bates, managing director of Cleankill: It’s great to win this award because it’s proof of what we believe in. One of the factors that makes us unique, is that we believe in delivering effective pest control, but with an environmentally responsible green service.

Jo Gumb, director of White Label Creative: The winning company comes from a sector which you might not associate with being green. However, it has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to its environmental responsibilities as its continued innovation in this area makes it a worthy winner.

Best Business for Food & Hospitality (sponsored by Wing Yip)

Winner: Brasserie Vacherin

Malcolm John, owner of Brasserie Vacherin: This cements the fact that Croydon is a place on the up and a great place to do business. I am a Croydon resident and it really is a fantastic place with great restaurants, great hospitality, lovely people and it is a great place to live and work.

Henry Yap of Wing Yip said: Brasserie Vacherin demonstrated consistent excellence in all criteria of this category. It not only has a dynamic and creative approach to business but also a commitment to mentoring and developing Croydon’s next generation of chefs.

Highly commended: Karnarvar Restaurant. Commended: Zabardast. Other finalists: Brgr&Beer, Project B, Yumn Brasserie.

Best Business for Marketing & Social Media

Winner: Fennies Day Nurseries

Chris Foot, chief operating officer of Fennies: Marketing and social media is an area often neglected by childcare businesses but Fennies has put marketing at the heart of our business strategy.

Roger Wade, founder and chief executive of Boxpark Croydon: Fennies Day Nurseries were such a pleasure to watch going through the awards; not only have they done social media and marketing, but they’ve done it in the correct way, from creating engaging campaigns to measuring the end result.

Highly commended: Hawk Wargames. Commended: Jam Hair Sanderstead. Other finalists: Clear Ads, Coversure Insurance Services, G2G Ltd, The Beautiful Mouth

Best Business for Customer Service

Winner: Skipton Building Society

Bethany Pitchley, Croydon branch manager of Skipton Building Society: I know the industry has had a tough time recently but customers are at the heart of everything we can do. My team really are fantastic and as a born and bred Croydon girl this is fantastic. We try to treat people as they deserve to be treated and a lot of hard work goes into doing that.

Matt Sims, chief executive of Croydon Business Improvement District, said: “Entering the Skipton the smile and courtesy are second to none in an industry that has had a poor reputation recently.”

Highly commended: Cleankill Environmental Services. Commended: Jam Hair Sanderstead. Other finalists: Baker Wanless, Blackfords LLP, Coversure Insurance Services, G2G Ltd, Gold Office Solutions, Minuteman Press Croydon, Top Move Estate Agents.

Best Business for Staff Training & Development

Winner: Cleankill Environmental Services

Cleankill delivers effective pest control in an ethical and environmentally responsible way.

Director Jon Whitehead: Without staff there is no Cleankill. Because are staff are well trained and understand the ethos of the business, when they go out and meet customers they project the right image. And it is that image which promotes our business.

Rose Farrar, head of partnerships for Love Local Jobs: From the toolbox talks every Monday to the Investors in People stamp of approval, it is clear this organisation values its workforce. Cleankill ensure training needs are met and exceeded while staff shadowing and building strong in-house relationships make for a happy, positive and productive business.

Highly commended: Chequers Contract Services. Commended: Hewitts of Croydon. Other finalists: Blackfords LLP, Bluebird Care Croydon, Click Entertainment, Fennie’s Day Nurseries, Hewitts of Croydon, Language Tuition Plus.

Entrepreneur of the Year

Winner: Jake Wright (Click Entertainment Ltd)

Click Entertainment is a leading worldwide distributor of video games, consoles and accessories.

Jake Wright, head of business development for Click Entertainment, said: “Croydon is fantastic in terms of the staff we have found from the town. There is a lot of young talent within our team which has helped our business to grow.”

Nicolina Andall, chair of Croydon Chamber of Commerce and a commercial solicitor for Andall Legal, said: “The quality and quantity of entrepreneurs we have in Croydon never ceases to amaze me. During the interview process I asked each finalist for a word that describes the reason for their success: relationships, adaptation, learning, development, passion, drive, ambition and persistence. In my opinion, Jake has them all.

Highly commended: Ahzaz Chowdhury (Nudge Factory). Commended: Justin Owens (Silverleaf Group & the Croydon Creative). Other finalists: Joe Arnold (Arnold & Baldwin Chartered Surveyors), Jacqui Marola (Jam Hair Sanderstead), Nisha Menon (Nikasu Foods UK Ltd), Wasim Hassanali (Students Achieve Ltd), Chris Giggins (Uniqodo Ltd).