Porsche Centre Hatfield was transformed last night as it played host to the Inspiring Hertfordshire 2014 Awards, hosted by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Headline Sponsors the University of Hertfordshire and Kiss Communications.

With an impressive backdrop of classic and new Porsches, four hundred guests gathered for a dazzling black tie gala dinner to celebrate Hertfordshire’s business successes.

Steve Folland was the host with the most and kept everyone in order and over £3000 was raised on the evening for the Herts Chambers Chairman’s Charity Fund which will give donations to worthy causes throughout the year.

Inspiring Hertfordshire Award Winners

Achievement in International Business
Sponsored by Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP

Mirage Health Group
Mirage Health Group is a company that specialises in the provision of ear care products and operates in an impressive list of countries throughout the world and it’s employees are not only skilled in business but also in languages. Through a proactive approach to exporting they have delivered an impressive and consistent level of growth.

Community Champion
Sponsored by Aldwyck Housing Group

East & North Herts NHS Trust
The East and North Herts NHS Trusts initiative ‘The Future is Membership’ has been designed to inspire and motivate young people to get involved with their hospital and local community. Capturing the imagination of pupils aged between 14 and 18, the initiative helps them to develop new skills through applied learning and a better understanding of what they want to do with their future.  
In just a year, nearly 500 pupils have been recruited, championing health and well-being,  from working with older people in their communities on challenges such as dementia and social isolation, to presenting at national workshops. 
The judges commented on the excellent results from an excellent project ‘The Future is Membership is re-energising, positive and inspiring’

Entrepreneur of the Year
Sponsored by Herts & Essex Newspapers

Angela Spencer – Angels at Play
Angela is the archetypal entrepreneur. Starting with just £6000 at the age of 21 she has built a strong ground and a robust offer supported with constant innovation and new product development. Her passion for childcare and development is key to the success of the business.

Excellence in Customer Service
Sponsored by Porsche Centre Hatfield

Which? Member Services
Which? has been the trusted voice of the UK consumer for over 60 years empowering members to make informed consumer decisions and campaign for change in the consumer markets. 
Which? Member Services has an outstanding customer centric strategy with clear objectives and understands the importance of customer service to the business, both strategically and practically. They show excellence in balancing the demands of the strategy and culture, the processes and the people, to good effect.

Excellence in People Development
Sponsored by North Hertfordshire College

B3 Living
B3 Living are committed to delivering a tailored and personalised development plan, investing in all staff at all levels within the organisation and they understand that developing staff in all areas creates a fabulous place to work, but reaps benefits for the company too. They have embraced this approach which makes them remain an employer of choice. The judges were particularly impressed with the dedication shown to develop their resident’s future career prospects by creating a Community Engagement team and launching projects such as a driving academy.

Innovation through Technology
Sponsored by Serverchoice

Cameo Kitchens
Cameo Kitchens was a pioneer of online sales and has been trading online since 2007. The user experience is of optimum importance and constant research into the ever changing world of e-commerce means that they have seen a 30% increase in sales through the internet.  

They recognised the need to work smarter and so developed and built a unique data management system which holds over 6000 products, compares prices in the market to remain competitive, and even calculates the most cost effective way to deliver. Constant investment to explore new emerging technologies means that they remain unchallenged by other online competitors.

Made in Herts
Sponsored by Lloyds Bank

Kelvin Hughes Ltd
Kelvin Hughes Limited is a dynamic business which recognised the impact of the economic slump and took the opportunity to look for different markets, invested wisely and developed a clear strategy for growth. They are a significant local employer manufacturing highly technical systems to a worldwide market.

Most Promising New Business
Sponsored by Broxbourne Council and Ambition Broxbourne

Ashridge Security Management Ltd
Ashridge Security Management was established in 2012 and quickly secured a leading position in the market by recognising the need for a flexible and tailored approach. 

The judges were impressed with the passion, determination and dedication shown to grow the company and how the importance of reputation and service delivery has taken them to the next level. This was a very impressive entry with a good clear plan and clear and focussed objectives.

Social Enterprise of the Year
Sponsored by Councillor Sharon Taylor’s Locality Budget and Stevenage Borough Council

Broomfield Youth
Broomfield Youth was established in 2011 and is a not for profit football club for young people from 7 to 15 years old, not only developing football ability, but using a unique coaching syllabus to educate, inspire and empower their young members.

Following huge success on the pitch, the club also started to focus on charity projects, establishing the rule that all young members become involved. This led to a large number of projects, such as ‘Lighting up Africa’ supporting an orphanage in Tanzania, and raising over £8,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma research. 
The judges were impressed with the creative and well planned development of the club, excellent and worthwhile project activity and success on many levels – as a business, charity supporter and community involvement with a sustainable and achievable plan for the future.

The Environmental Award
Sponsored by Affinity Water

Holiday Inn Stevenage
It was clear to the judges that the strategies adopted are embedded throughout the organisation and the level of engagement, in its employees, customers and local community sets this out as a clear winner. Through regular communications, joint initiatives and a Responsible Visitor Charter, green awareness remains high on their agenda.  2013 saw them retaining the Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold Status, as well as being awarded a ‘Green Apple’ award at the Houses of Parliament.  The judges commented on their commitment to build on the existing strategies by driving new ideas for 2014.

The Tourism Award
Sponsored by Dacorum Look no Further

Paradise Wildlife Park
This is a fantastic example of a business which over the last 30 years has transformed its image and offering. 

The judges were impressed with the focus on visitor satisfaction with education and conservation at the forefront of everything they do. Their commitment to making sure everyone has access to this is exceptional and they are commended on the innovative ways in which they deliver this.

Young Herts 
Sponsored by Youth Connexions

Justin Feller – We Love Jelly
Justin Feller created, developed and launched We Love Jelly which produces a range of cocktail infused jellies based on the periodic table. Leading the company, Justin has seen his unique product range through rigorous research and development, branding exercises, taste panels, nutritional analysis and microbiology testing. 

The judges were hugely impressed with Justin’s ability, from business and financial calculations, to managing staff workload and communication – all at the age of 23. 
“The innovation and ambition to succeed in a carefully planned and structured way make Justin a unique and worthy winner”.

Business of the Year - Small to Medium
Sponsored by KISS Communications

Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel
Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel is a unique business created by animal lover and entrepreneur Abi Purser, who recognised a gap in the market and stepped in with an idea for the 12 million cat owners in the UK. The business grows from strength to strength with continuous development of products and services and investment into an innovative franchise scheme has seen the creation of a series of Cat Hotels to cater for consumer demand.

Business of the Year - Medium to Large
Sponsored by University of Hertfordshire

Debenhams Ottaway
Debenhams Ottaway is progressing at an impressive pace.  The judges were impressed by their growth which is consistent and sustainable, investment in and development of their people and constant improvement to commercial and corporate services. This was an excellent submission and an upbeat picture from a company firmly established in Hertfordshire.

Outstanding Contribution to Business

Dr Martino Picardo, CEO, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst
Martino has established Stevenage’s point on the Golden Triangle, between Cambridge, Oxford and London — for bio-scientific research and biomedical discovery.  
Since 2010, Martino’s passion … vision… extraordinary powers of belief in the culture of open innovation will place Hertfordshire firmly within this country’s bioscience industry — leading worldwide biomedical discoveries, innovation and delivery of cutting-edge healthcare solutions. 
In piloting the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst towards scientific achievement and commercial success, Martino has helped shape Hertfordshire’s ambition to grow its high-tech, bio-engineering and scientific capabilities. 

This Award also acknowledges his work in local schools to stimulate young people’s career aspirations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — the STEM subjects that are so vital to this country’s economic development.

Overall Business of the Year

Paradise Wildlife Park

Paradise Wildlife Park have proved to be an effective business who tells an impressive story of growth and overcoming adversity. 
The commitment shown to continuously improve and innovate their business model is inspirational and we look forward to seeing what the next year brings.

Inspiring Hertfordshire 2015 will be launched this December - further details to follow shortly. 
If you are interested in sponsoring the 2015 awards, please contact Jodie Reid on 01707 398401 or email jodiereid@hertschamber.com