Porsche Centre Hatfield was transformed last night as it played host to the Inspiring Hertfordshire 2013 Awards, hosted by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Headline Sponsors the University of Hertfordshire and Kiss Communications.

Over three hundred guests gathered for a dazzling black tie gala dinner to celebrate Hertfordshire’s successes with awards for Community Champion, Social enterprise of the Year, Achievement in International Business, Innovation through Technology, Most Promising New Business, Excellence in People Development, The Environmental Award, Excellence in Customer Service, The Tourism Award, Entrepreneur of the Year,  Outstanding Contribution to Business, Small to Medium Business of the Year and Medium to Large Business of the Year.

Steve Folland, DJ with Jack FM compared for the evening and kept everyone in order and enthralling entertainment was provided by Vivo D’arte, a Herts based theatre training school.

Over £1500 was raised on the evening for the Herts Chambers Chairman’s Charity Fund which will give donations to worthy causes throughout the year.

Chamber Chairman, Neville Reyner CBE DL said: ‘We have been delighted with the success of these awards. The number of entries we received exceeded our expectations and were all of a very high standard. Congratulations to all the winners, finalists, judges and many thanks to our sponsors who have made this event possible"

Inspiring Hertfordshire 2013 Winners

Community Champion – LV= Retirement Solutions

LV= Retirement Solutions have clearly shown how seriously they take CSR issues and have been an active supporter of the community and over the last 12 months have undertaken a number of community schemes and via fundraising and sponsorship they have been able to donate over £32500.00 to charitable organisations in the area.

Social Enterprise of the Year – The Muscle Help Foundation

The Muscle Help Foundation exists to provide hope and inspiration to children and young people with Muscular Dystrophy by delivering experiences know as ‘Muscle Dreams’. Their CEO, Michael McGrath (also known as the Chief Muscle Warrior) personally hosts each Muscle Dream and inspires young people to explore their potential.

Achievement in International Business – Ether NDE Ltd

Ether NDE Ltd demonstrated a clear success and growth strategy. From the company launch in 2010, they now export to over 40 countries worldwide and their international sales in the first quarter reached a record high of 69%.

Most Promising New Business – Magnite PR

Since launching in the height of the recession, Magnite PR has grown from strength to strength and have been shortlisted for five regional business awards and has expanded from one member of staff to four. The judges reported that this was a very impressive entry with clear and focussed objectives and indicated positive growth for the future.

The Environmental Award – Holiday Inn Stevenage

Winning this award for the second year running, Holiday Inn Stevenage once again impressed the judges with the green initiative strategies that have been adopted throughout the organisation with the level of engagement with employees, customers and local community.

Excellence in Customer Service – LV= Retirement Solutions

LV= Retirement Solutions have an outstanding customer-centric strategy with clear objectives. Customer care needs are paramount and considered at every stage. Their business plan contains clear, detailed and measurable goals and service standards and their customer care initiative focuses on four values: make it feel special, know your stuff, treat people like family and don’t wait to be asked.

Excellence in People Development – Crane & Staples Solicitors

Crane & Staples showed they really understand the importance of developing their staff and the difference this has made to company achievements. The judges were very impressed to see an organisation really investing in this at all levels with tailored programmes for all areas of the business.

Innovation Through Technology – Genie CCTV

Although renowned for it’s closed circuit solutions, Genie CCTV realised the need to expand with the market being squeezed and partnered with an Australian owned company to develop and manufacture state of the art security access systems based on fingerprint technology. This is clearly an innovative company going places.

The Tourism Award – St Michaels Manor

This privately owned 4-star hotel has undertaken a huge programme to improve and perfect guest experience. After an impressive refurbishment, a new head chef was appointed and refinements made to enhance customer satisfaction which has made St Michaels Manor a leader within the tourism industry.

Entrepreneur of the Year – Katherine Rayden, Rayden Solicitors

Rayden Solicitors was founded by Katherine Rayden in 2005 and is now the largest family law firm in Hertfordshire. Over the last eight years, Katherine has grown the company extensively, with 40 law firms as professional referral sources and 6 non-legal businesses. She has worked tirelessly to mentor and develop each member of the team to ensure that they can develop their own practice.

Small to Medium Business of the Year – Ashbourne Insurance

Despite huge competition from on-line insurers, Ashbourne Insurance has defied the odds and has grown substantially. By developing their staff to provide the best service possible and creating and nurturing relationships with new and existing customers, Ashbourne has managed to increase their business activity by 44%.

Medium to Large Business of the Year – Bourne Leisure

Bourne Leisure is a company progressing at an impressive pace, with consistent and sustainable growth, investment in and development of their staff and constant improvement sought in guest advocacy.

Outstanding Contribution to Business – Gareth Humphreys MBE

Gareth Humphreys MBE set up the MBDA apprenticeship programme over 10 years ago and since then has been a strong advocate for apprenticeships and works tirelessly to develop relationships with local schools, developing training programmes for the future generation and promoting the values and benefits to companies thinking about becoming involved with apprenticeships.

The MBDA apprenticeship programme is an exemplar of what can be achieved in this field and reflects the excellent work and time that Gareth has put into this scheme.

The Inspiring Hertfordshire 2014 Awards will be launched on 18th December at Hanbury Manor, Ware. Places can be booked now at http://www.tricostarhosting.com/hcciweb/trainevents.asp?eve_eventsid=58479