A huge congratulations to all these amazing, inspiring and hugely successful companies and entrepreneurs
Business & Financial Services – Supported by Hays
WINNER: Vestra Wealth
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Gekko
Vestra Wealth is the UK’s fastest-growing boutique investment firm. Profits have grown by a stunning 259 percent year-on-year. It was founded in 2008 and already boasts a portfolio worth £3.5 billion. It’s determined to provide a serious alternative to big banks. This was a tough category, but the judges were dazzled by Vestra’s very rapid growth and potential to rival the major financial players.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Blitz Communications
Ink connects brands with travellers throughout their entire journey, by producing in-flight magazines and targeted adverts on passenger emails and boarding passes. It’s won multiple awards and clients include easyJet, Thomas Cook and Eurostar. Profits have grown 60 percent year on year. The judges were impressed that its magazine operations have grown as the publishing industry has shrunk, and thought the company had shown real forward-thinking by coupling its publishing operations with smart technologies.
Manufacturing, Engineering & Infrastructure – Supported by EAL
WINNER: FM Conway
You’ve probably driven past FM Conway by the side of London’s roads and motorways. It provides infrastructure services for London’s transport networks, built environment, public spaces and venues. Turnover has grown 40 percent since 2008, with revenues of £138 million last year. It’s spent £25 million on recycling infrastructure since 2005. The judges described it as a very solid company with a clear vision. They were impressed by its focus on recycling, and significant revenue growth.
Property & Transport Supported by Joelson Wilson
WINNER: Addison Lee
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Zoopla
Addison Lee is the UK’s biggest minicab firm, with a 2011 turnover of £127 million. It’s pioneered technology to improve customer experience, and has recently added a private jet service to its chauffeured vehicles and courier services. In April it was acquired for £300 million. Addison Lee was acquired the weekend before our judging day, and it’s no surprise the judges describe it as a tremendous company that has consistently gone from strength to strength. As one judge pointed out, it was one hell of a move to challenge the London black cabs.
WINNER: Pret A Manger
HIGHLY COMMENDED: MedicAnimal
Pret’s turnover is £443 million, and sales growth has averaged 15 percent a year for the last decade. It raised £1m for the homeless last year and runs an apprenticeship scheme for homeless people. The judges all spoke first-hand about Pret’s fantastic customer service, and praised its impressive HR and recruitment policies. They praised Pret’s internationalism – the company has almost 70 overseas stores in addition to more than 250 in the UK. They also felt Pret had stuck to its core vision while expanding at a significant rate.
Technology & Telecoms – Supported by James Cowper
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Markco Media
Aveva – not the insurance business! – is an engineering software provider to the plant, power and marine industries. This very international FTSE 250 company had a turnover of £196 million last year, up more than £20 million on the previous year. More than two thirds of sales are from recurring revenue. The judges were unanimous in choosing Aveva as their winner. They praised Aveva for achieving significant growth as it approaches the £200 million turnover mark. and its successful diversification and internationalism.
Tourism & Leisure – Supported by Monaco Tourist Authority
WINNER: Brasserie Bar Co Limited
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Ed’s Easy Diner; Grange Hotels
SPECIAL MENTION: TeamSport – for its outstanding work getting young people into jobs
Brasserie Bar Co is the parent company of premium casual dining chains The White Brasserie Company, Chez Gerard, and Brasserie Blanc, Raymond Blanc’s French chain. Staff development is a major focus, and sales have grown by 30 percent in the year to June 2012 following the acquisition of seven new restaurants. The judges had very positive first-hand experiences in its restaurants, and attributed the great customer service to the employee focus of the company, They noted that 72 percent of shareholders actually work for the group. They praised the apprenticeship scheme, and felt that Raymond Blanc’s hands-on involvement helps guide the company and inspires young staff.
Entrepreneur of the Year – Supported by BDO
WINNER: Karen Hamling, Co-Founder and Managing Director – ITH Pharma
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Ivan Retzignac and Andrew Bucher, Co-Founders – MedicAnimal
After failing her A-levels and becoming a pharmacy assistant, Karen retrained several years later as a pharmacist. Her first company significantly reduced wait times for NHS leukaemia patients. Her second, specialist pharmaceutical manufacturer ITH Pharma, launched in 2008, and came 14th in this year’s Sunday Times Fast Track.The judges felt Karen demonstrated the determination and risk-taking nature that define true entrepreneurs. She has a strong entrepreneurial legacy, having sold a previous company she built from scratch, and proves that British manufacturing can still produce gold. Over the last year she’s grown turnover by 30 percent while doubling profits, and it speaks volumes that her core management team of 15 staff have stayed with her for on average 10 years each.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year
WINNER: Piers Daniell, Founder and Managing Director – Fluidata
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Jonathan Reynolds, Co-Founder and CEO – SwiftKey
This 31-year-old tech whizz founded his first company aged 15, going on to launch data communications company Fluidata age 23. He’s grown revenues by around 45 percent annually and boats 95 percent customer retention. This was a close-run race, but the judges felt that Piers had shown very precocious entrepreneurial and management savvy in a very technical niche with tons of potential. He’s created incredibly scalable operations and sales structures to realise consistently rapid growth.
Apprentice of the Year – Supported by EAL
WINNER: Elliot Shakeshaft, Mechanic Apprentice – Kier Harlow
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Phillip Lidgey, Engineering Apprentice – Johnson Matthey; Rhys Stockbridge, Engineering Apprentice – Johnson Matthey
The judges were particularly impressed that Elliot had become involved in work outside the remit of his apprenticeship that resulted in Kier Harlow winning an £86m contract. He is clearly a high-flyer and is committed to developing himself.
Special Recognition Award Supported by Growth Accelerator
Charlie Mullins, Founder and CEO, Pimlico Plumbers
Having started work aged just 15 to pay the bills, this entrepreneur has gone from being an apprentice to running one of London’s most recognisable mid-market companies. He’s built a fantastically successful business in a decidedly unfashionable industry, and created an up-market brand in a less than trustworthy trade, winning him celebrity fans such as Take
That and Bobby Davro. He has done a huge amount to support apprenticeships, and also does lots to support older workers. In fact, he claims his 72-year-old PA is the longest-serving employee in London. He’s built a real family business and counts his daughters, sons and grandsons as team-members. He does a great amount of charity and social work – he’s a patron of the Prince’s Trust, and also supports the Rhys Daniels Trust, GOSH, Cudece Cancer Care, Help a London Child, Cray Wanderers and Lynn AC Boxing.
Lifetime Achievement Award
John Griffin, Founder, Addison Lee
The founder of that Addison Lee is a true entrepreneur. He started Addison Lee with just one car in 1975, having been a minicab driver trying to make ends meet. Today, Addison Lee will turns over £170 million. Addison Lee is a real family business, with both this entrepreneur and his late business partner’s sons and nephew taking lead roles in the business. In April, Addison Lee was sold for £300 million to Carlyle Group, with both families retaining small stakes. The original founder has driven the company to huge success since starting with nothing, and redefined London’s taxi culture in a hugely competitive market.
As chosen by our incredible judging panel…
Willie Walsh, Chief Executive, International Airlines Group; President, the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (chair)
Mike Bokaie, Founder & Chief Executive, Casis Media and LondonlovesBusiness.com
Karren Brady, Vice Chairman, West Ham United Football Club
Tim Campbell MBE, Chairman and Co-Founder, Bright Ideas Trust
Stephen Fear, Chief Executive, Fear Group
Tracey Follows, Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Partner, JWT London
Thea Green MBE, Founder & Managing Director, nails inc.
Kelly Hoppen, Founder and CEO, Kelly Hoppen InteriorsLuke-Johnson
Luke Johnson, Founder, Risk Capital Partners
Howard Leigh, Senior Partner, Cavendish Corporate Finance
Alastair Lukies, CEO & Co-Founder, Monitise plc
Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, Greater London AuthorityRead More »
Glen Manchester, Chief Executive Officer, Thunderhead.com
Andrew McNaughton, Chief Executive, Balfour Beatty plc
Michelle Mone OBE, Founder and CEO, Ultimo
Charlie Mullins, Founder and CEO, Pimlico Plumbers
Andrew Reynolds Smith, Chief Executive, Automotive and Powder Metallurgy, GKN plc
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Philip Yea, Non-Executive Director, Vodafone Group plc
(Nb. The Special Achievement Award was chosen by the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry and LondonlovesBusiness.com)
More about the London Loves Excellence Awards 2013
Watch LondonlovesBusiness.com for our commentary on the fun, stunning, inspiring gala dinner, to follow shortly…
In the meantime, read our amazing publication Securing Britain’s Future, with contributions from Boris Johnson, Xavier Rolet, Martha Lane fox, Doug Richard & 25 more London leaders
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