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 - KEiBA

KEiBA 2017 Winners Announced!

An IT support firm, a medical manufacturer and a coffee company were the big winners at KEiBA 2017.

Tunbridge Wells-based Infinity Group, which looks after computing and business telecoms for clients like Lloyds Bank and Specsavers, picked up both large business of the year and the customer service award at the most prestigious business awards in Kent.

Meanwhile, HatHats Coffee Company in Whitstable won start-up of the year and apprenticeship of the year for its fair trade philosophy and nurturing the career of its first apprentice Charlotte Thomson.

In all, 17 awards were presented at the gala dinner at the Kent Event Centre in Detling on Thursday, attended by more than 600 people.

For the first time there were 16 categories to enter, with the creation of a new construction project of the year prize, won by Ashford-based Directline Structures.

In addition, the annual outstanding contribution to business in Kent award was given to Jo James, chief executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, which supports 1,200 companies in the county.

She joins the Hall of Fame list of previous winners including philanthropist Sir Roger De Haan, construction giant Pat Gallagher and last year’s winner, the auctioneer Clive Emson.

Kent Invicta Chamber chief executive Jo James

The former SME business of the year category was split, with small business of the year won by Tunbridge Wells-based homeware retailer Dassie Artisan.

The new medium business of the year prize went to the third of the night’s double award winners – Harrietsham-based medical manufacturer Bedfont Scientific.

The company was also named exporter of the year for selling its breath analysis products in more than 70 countries, with plans to expand into North and South America, China and the Middle East.

Wrotham-based Lucas Fit Out & Finishing Specialists was the second construction firm honoured on the night, taking home the commitment to the environment award for its building innovations which reduce harmful gases in the air.

Lucas chairman and managing director Danny Lucas

The business commitment to the community award was given to FareShare Kent, a non-profit organisation in Ashford which collects food due to be thrown away by supermarkets and sends it to charities across the county.

The coveted employer of the year gong went to Childrensalon. The Tunbridge Wells-based children’s clothes retailer won the customer service award last year.

Another company returning to pick up a prize was contract manufacturer ITL Group, which added technology business of the year to two awards collected in 2016 and another two earned in 2014.

Entrepreneur of the year went to Sleeping Giant Media chief executive Luke Quilter, another person who is no stranger to KEiBA, having seen his Folkestone-based online marketing agency win two prizes last year.

Sleeping Giant Media chief executive Luke Quilter

Manufacturer of the year was awarded to £79 million turnover Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems in Broadstairs, which transformed its business model with the early adoption of disruptive digital technology.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham was named tourism and leisure business of the year for its Command of the Oceans exhibition and use as a high-profile filming location.

Young entrepreneur of the year was Alexandra Auger, whose Chatham-based juice making company the Juice Executive is set to break the £1 million turnover barrier this year.

There is a picture special from the awards night in your copy of Kent Business next Thursday, free inside the Kent Messenger and Medway Messenger.

Here is the full list of winners and finalists:-

Apprenticeship of the Year sponsored by KCC Skills and Employability

Winner – HatHats Coffee Company – Charlotte Thomson
Finalist – CRM Logistics – Katie Town

Finalist – Gillingham FC Community Trust – James Hare

Business Commitment to the Community sponsored by Golding Homes
Winner – FareShare Kent
Finalist – The FAR Academy
Finalist – Neighbourhood Furniture Store

Commitment to the Environment Award sponsored by KCC Low Carbon Kent and Ardula
Winner – Lucas – Fit Out & Finishing Specialists
Finalist – Bloomsburys Biddenden

Finalist – Wingham Wildlife Park

Construction Project of the Year sponsored by Brachers and West Kent and Ashford College
Winner – Directline Structures
Finalist – Walker Construction UK
Finalist – WW Martin

Customer Service Award sponsored by Towergate Insurance Brokers
Winner – Infinity Group
Finalist – The Historic Dockyard Chatham
Finalist – Sleeping Giant Media

Employer of the Year sponsored by Furley Page Solicitors
Winner – Childrensalon
Finalist – The British Assessment Bureau
Finalist – KIMS Hospital

Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and Creaseys
Winner – Sleeping Giant Media – Luke Quilter
Finalist – Lucas – Danny Lucas
Finalist – The Red Eagle Group – Wayne Hodgson

Exporter of the Year sponsored by Crowe Clark Whitehill
Winner – Bedfont Scientific
Finalist – The Fountain Workshop
Finalist – Jewelultra

Large Business of the Year sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy LLP and accredited by Kenward Trust
Winner – Infinity Group
Finalist – AC Goatham & Son

Finalist – Childrensalon

Manufacturer of the Year sponsored by asb law LLP and University of Greenwich
Winner – Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems
Finalist – Brillopak
Finalist – Colorcon

Medium Business of the Year sponsored by RIFT Group 
and Kent and Medway Growth Hub
Winner – Bedfont
Finalist – Adjustoform Products
Finalist – Brillopak
Finalist – Obart Pumps

Small Business of the Year sponsored by Hatten Wyatt
Winner – Dassie Artisan
Finalist – South East Timber & Damp
Finalist – Three R’s Teacher Recruitment
Finalist – Wildwood Media

Start-up of the Year sponsored by MidKent College and Ward Security
Winner – HatHats Coffee Company
Finalist – Matilda Hays Flowers

Finalist – Nikita By Niki

Technology Business of the Year sponsored by University of Kent and Cripps
Winner – ITL Group
Finalist – Michelson Diagnostics
Finalist – Trading.co.uk

Tourism & Leisure Business of the Year sponsored by Southeastern
Winner – The Historic Dockyard Chatham
Finalist – Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks
Finalist – Turner Contemporary

Young Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by Custodian Data Centres and CXK
Winner – The Juice Executive – Alexandra Auger
Finalist – Nikita By Niki – Nikita Mahon
Finalist – VooServers – Matt Parkinson

Outstanding contribution to business in Kent
Winner – Jo James, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce



Our partners

  • Family Business Place
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  • Hythe Imperial
    Ottewill Silversmiths
  • Pillory Barn Creative
    Kent Event Centre
  • Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce
    Port Lympne Hotel