Porsche Centre Hatfield was transformed last night when it played host to the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s inaugural awards ceremony “The Inspiring Hertfordshire 2012 Awards”.  Headline sponsors for these awards were Exemplas and University of Hertfordshire

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, Entrepreneur of the Year, Outstanding Contribution to Business and Business of the Year. 
Steve Folland, DJ with Jack FM compared for the night and ensured the evening flowed.

£2k was raised through the raffle in aid of Herts Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Charity Fund which will give donations to worthy causes throughout the year.

Tim Hutchings Chamber Chief Executive 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.  Our judges had a very difficult task. Congratulations to all the winners, and finalists. The evening was a huge success and my many thanks to all the sponsors who made this event possible."

Community Champion sponsored by Porsche Centre Hatfield was won by Cathy McArevey from Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline

The Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline provides a focal point of care and support for 2000 people every year.  When it was threatened with closure due to lack of funds, Cathy got on the case raising the profile for the helpline through local radio, newspapers and social media.  The passion and dedication tothe cause has been amazing.  One supporter said "If this were a business she would have made a fortune with her work ethic, enthusiasm and professionalism.  In the last 12 months through her efforts almost £120k has been raised for this and other dometic violence charities in Hertfordshire.  Cathy is a worth Community Champion.  


Brookers - Hitchin

Debenhams Ottaway Solicitors – St Albans

Elstree Screen Heritage - Elstree

Garden House Hospice – Letchworth Garden City

LV=Retirement Solutions - Hitchin

Simplyhealth – Letchworth Garden City

Social Enterprise of the Year sponsored by Councillor Sharon Taylor and the Hertfordshire Locality Budget was won by Stevenage Leisure Limited

In determining the winner of the Social Enterprise of the Year, the judges considered the merits of a variety of social enterprises who displayed energy, innovation and a significant reach into the community.  Stevenage Leisure Limited work with a number of local authorities, leisure and health organisations.  Its services range from fitness development to theatre and entertainment.  The judges were particularly impressed with its work with disadvantaged young people.  


Broxbourne Housing Association -  Broxbourne

DEMAND – Abbots Langley

HCPA – Welwyn Garden City

North Herts College – Student Crew – Stevenage

Stevenage Community Trust - Stevenage

The Red Rubber Ball Company – Welwyn Garden City

Achievement in International Business sponsored by Tesco was won by Mirage Health Group Limited

Mirage Health Group Limited is a company that specialises in the provision of ear care products. The range is centred around the propulse ear irrigator which has been the irrigator of choice for health care professionals for over 10 years. It operates in an impressive list of countries throughout the world and employees are not only skilled in business but also in languages.  Through a proactive approach to exporting, Mirage Health Group has delivered an impressive level of profitable growth. 


Caressa Kahn - Hatfield

Catomance Technologies - Hitchin

Elecro Enginnering Limited - Stevenage

Most Promising New Business sponsored by Simplyhealth was won by Lawrence Dean Recruitment

 Lawrence Dean Recruitment won this award because new businesses will be a good factor in driving the economy in years to come.  Lawrence Dean recruitment is an owner manager business which has operated since November 2010.   It now employs 4 people and has an impressive list of clients.  Lawrence Dean Recruitment is well placed to continue its growth into the future.


24-7 Lucente – Watford

Adnexus - Harpenden

Probate Sales Office - Harpenden

The Red Rubber Ball Company – Welwyn Garden City

The Environmental Award sponsored by Johnson Matthey was won by Holiday Inn Stevenage

 Holiday Inn Stevenage won this award because they demonstrated a clear strategy in becoming a green company which has produced cost reduction and made a contribution towards a cleaner environment.  Strategy has been a real time effort in which both management and staff have been fully involved. 


Abbey Steel & Shearing Company - Stevenage

Blackmores - Hitchin

Datum Phase Change Limited - Cheshunt

Marriott Hanbury Manor - Ware

Viva Live Music - Hatfield

Excellence in People Development sponsored by Ashridge was won by LV=Retirement Solutions

 LV=Retirement Solutions won this award because they have one of the most impressive people development strategies we have seen.  One of the judges wrote “an inspiring account showing how an organisation really looks after and encourages their staff from within.  It is interesting to see an organisation that not only reviews success of people but also their attitude to work.  This policy has contributed towards an almost four fold increase in profit in the financial year ending 2011 


SWAN Fostering Limited - Hitchin

The Red Rubber Ball Company – Welwyn Garden City

Stevenage Leisure Limited - Stevenage

Ashbourne Insurance - Hoddesdon

Excellence in Customer Service sponsored by Breeze & Wyles Solicitors was won by Austin’s Funeral Service

 Austin’s Funeral Service won this award because outstanding customer service is something we should all be striving to achieve.  Sadly some fail to do so.  In a business  which clearly requires a caring and sympathetic service allied to an efficient businesslike approach, Austin’s Funeral Service has demonstrated an outstanding approach which has not only delivered a high level of public recognition and steady increases in turnover and profitability.


Ashbourne Insurance - Hoddesdon

LV=Retirement Solutions - Hitchin

BrightHouse - Watford

SJD Accountancy – Hemel Hempstead

Simplyhealth – Letchworth Garden City

Innovation Through Technology sponsored by Veolia was won by Imagination Technologies

Imagination Technologies won this award because in a County that boasts many of the world’s leading technology companies, Imagination Technologies as had to prove itself to be truly outstanding.  As a result of its work and the design and production of graphic micro processors, intellectual property licensing and digital radio production, it is now not only one of the leading companies but now holds a position within the world’s premier league.  One of the judges wrote “this is what innovation is about with a clear strategy, outstanding product and clear vision.  Hertfordshire can and should be proud of them.  


Cobham Consulting - Berkhamsted

Datum Phase Change - Cheshunt

Dynamic Website Construction - Hatfield

P’zazz - Rickmansworth

Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by University of Hertfordshire was won by Sarah Smits from Ashbourne Insurance

Sarah Smits won this award because in an outstanding field she has risen to the top.  Having in 2008 taken over an already successful business, Sarah determined to set about securing its future in an increasingly challenging environment.  She has achieved this by increasing profits and turnover whilst at the same time retaining the human touch.  She has not only added to the success of Ashbourne Insurance but has also found time to support a number of charities. 


Claire Austin – Austin’s Funeral Service - Stevenage

Melanie Blackmore – Blackmores - Hitchin

David Norton – CommsQuest Communication Consulting - Hertford

Katherine Rayden – Rayden Solicitors – St Albans

Small to Medium Business of the Year sponsored by Exemplas was won by Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design

Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design won this award because:

Harriett Kelsall Jewellery Design is a truly inspirational company which within a very short period of time has become a national market leader in a growth area of bespoke jewellery.  Listed in retailer Jeweller magazine’s top 25 “Inspiring Independents 2011” and Professional Jeweller Magazine’s “Hot 100 Companies 2011”, it was founded by Harriet Kelsall from her kitchen table in the Hertfordshire village of Weston and has since grown to employ 28 people in two locations (including a converted barn on a diversified farm in rural Hertfordshire). With a customer list that includes celebrities across the world.  This company has demonstrated outstanding qualities in all areas of its business and its principal Harriet Kelsall was recognised as Every Woman in Retail’s Woman of the Year 2011.


The Book Midwife – St Albans

Ashbourne Insurance - Hoddesdon

St Michael’s Manor – St Albans

Rayden Solicitors – St Albans

Westminster Compliance - Borehamwood

Beststart Human Resources - Welwyn


Medium to Large Business of the Year  & Business of the Year sponsored by Exemplas was won by Austin’s Funeral Service

Austin’s Funeral Service won this award because it demonstrated all the qualities one would wish to see in a successful company.  Over a 10 year period it has increased turnover on a consistent basis, delivering impressive growth in its profits.  It has achieved this be delivering upon a clear and imaginative growth strategy which has been drive by its management and supported by its staff.  Austin’s Funeral Service is not only outstanding within its own sector but is an exemplar for all business.


Aspin Foundations Limited – Hemel Hempstead

Debenhams Ottaway Solicitors – St Albans

Imagination Technologies – Kings Langley

LV=Retirement Solutions - Hitchin

SJD Accountancy – Hemel Hempstead

Simplyhealth – Letchworth Garden City

The overall Business of the Year, and winner of the year’s worth of integrated marketing support donated by Kiss Communications, the award winning marketing company base in Royston, was won by Austin’s Funeral Service

The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry introduced a special award, Outstanding Contribution to Business. This was awarded to Lisa Hall from Simplyhealth to recognise not only the great work she has done within her own company but also the support she has given to other businesses.  She was also recognised for the tremendous work she had one within the community.

The Awards were introduced to celebrate the inspirational actions and outstanding achievements, focus on what is positive in Hertfordshire and to support businesses in the county in their efforts to lead us out of the current economic environment.