The postponed final of the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2020 took place in May. Here, we take a look at the winners, who saw off stiff competition to emerge victorious.
Business and product innovation award
Glencoe Activities (Scotland winner)
Originally an arable farm and transformed by the previous owner into a nine-hole golf course, the current owners have expanded the course, diversified with a café and activity centre, and installed eight luxury lodges with hot tubs. Eleven further design-led lodges are now under construction. The business was founded in 2009 and originally had 1.5 full-time equivalent employees and a turnover of £45,000. The gradual and consistent diversification and expansion has evolved into a business now employing 14 full-time staff, with a turnover for 2020 of £900,000.
Digital/ecommerce business of the year
Snag Group Ltd (Scotland winner)
Snag Group research has shown that 90 per cent of British women can’t find a pair of tights that fit. For decades, tights measurement varied only by height – an approach that excluded millions. Now, Snag Group’s sizing matrix has brought tights that fit to thousands and converted into impressive sales: it sold 1.5 million pairs of tights in 20 months.
Micro business of the year
e-badges (East Midlands area winner)
Lincolnshire’s e-badges manufactures and supplies badge-making machinery and components. The UK-manufactured machines make pin badges, as well as keyrings, fridge magnets and other products, and the business also makes bespoke badges. Having bought the business in 2007, Andrew and Philippa Vear made e-badges the leading badge-making machinery supplier in the UK; they are now focused on becoming the leader in Europe.
self-employed/sole trader of the year
Sheila Granger Ltd (Yorkshire & The Humber area winner)
Sheila is an East Yorkshire hypnotherapist trading as Sheila Granger Limited. She became a clinical hypnotherapist in 2009 and has enjoyed huge success, particularly with virtual gastric band weight loss therapy. Her focus is now on helping others build their own practices. She has recently published her first books, aimed at bringing the benefits to thousands more.
International business of the year
Cobalt Aerospace Ltd (East of England area winner)
Cobalt Aerospace’s engineers, designers and production experts develop aircraft interior solutions that provide comfort, safety, convenience and ambience. It has launched innovations such as the original drop-in LED mood lighting system and the world’s first-to-fly wireless chargers. Products are designed and manufactured in-house, ensuring stringent quality control. The company supplies leading OEMs, flag carrier airlines, air framers and completion centres worldwide.
Laundry Efficiency Ltd (West Midlands area winner)
Laundry Efficiency, owned by Colin and Graham Oakley, has been making the commercial laundry industry greener since 2016. Now with eight employees, it is revolutionising wash methods to reduce waste, pollution and natural resource misuse. By developing NASA’s Ozone technology, Laundry Efficiency has delivered a product that drives environmental improvements, and is making positive change in a high-polluting industry.
Start-up business of the year
Parker Rose Recruitment
(South East area winner)
Parker Rose was created in 2017 by Stephen Lock and Michael Dodsworth, who saw a need for a local, more independently run social work agency. The social work sector is under pressure and it is critical for agencies to provide innovative and time-sensitive services. Parker Rose set out to offer a local experience and to relieve such pressures.
High-growth business of the year
Advance Grass Solutions Ltd
(South East area winner)
Advance Grass Solutions, owned by James Bennett, Sam Honeyborne and Sarah Baker, leads the way in sports turf management, offering consultancy, scientific analysis, R&D and turf management products. It is developing a range of organic and biological products for sustainable agronomy programmes that produce the best year-round playing surfaces. At just over two years old, the company’s clients have included Wembley Stadium.
Wellbeing award of the year
Outsource Solutions (NI) Limited (Northern Ireland winner)
Outsource is a Northern Ireland-based IT managed services and security company whose services include design, implementation, monitoring and maintenance, delivered by professional, caring staff. Other offerings include IT training, insurance, security and vulnerability testing, Wi-Fi as a Service and a bespoke full cloud office product. It also manages and delivers one of the world’s leading unified telecommunication offerings and a range of consultancy services.
Family business of the year
Abbey Upholsterers (Northern Ireland winner)
Since 1920 the Devlin family has held Abbey Upholsterers together as solidly
as any of its furniture. Today it is a multi-million-pound company with more than 120 employees, providing bespoke high-end furnishings, upholstery and fitout to the leisure market and private clients. From its factory outside Belfast, using local craftsmanship, the firm has created and exported bespoke commissions globally.
Young entrepreneur of the year (aged 30 and under)
UK Trade Furnishings Ltd (Yorkshire & The Humber area winner)
Cameron (27) and Declan Christie (29) are the young entrepreneurial cousins behind UK Trade Furnishings, which primarily trades under the name Luxury Flooring & Furnishings. Founded in 2011, it specialises in the online retail of flooring products, including solid and engineered wood, laminate and luxury vinyl tiles, and has become one of the leading players in the online flooring market.