Bringing together a guest list of over 500 trailblazing business owners and managers, the Amazon Growing Business Awards 2016 were hosted by comedian Rob Beckett and added some incredible companies to an illustrious alumni.
Larsson & Jennings founder Andrew Jennings picked up one of the biggest awards of the night, Entrepreneur of the Year – he started the company five years ago with less than £20,000 in his pocket and has grown it to a position of turning over £7m.
Speaking to Real Business earlier in the year, Jennings said: “When we did have a big enough presence we opened up in London, but that took two and a half years. Our growth in the first two years was all about driving traffic to our websites, as we had no stockists. Then we launched into Liberty and Net-a-porter – becoming the best selling watch brands on those platforms.”
Other notable businesses to scoop prizes included Go Ape, the outdoor adventure business that won Rural Business of the Year, and MVF, a fast-growing London-based firm that was this year’s B2B Business of the Year.
Hunter Ruthven, editor of Real Business, said the quality of nominations and shortlisted companies this year goes to show how much entrepreneurial talent there is in the UK right now.
“What was fantastic to see was the coming together of businesses both young and old, from a variety of different sectors and geographies, all celebrating the outstanding achievements of some really hard-working teams.
“Running a business, especially one that is successful and growing, is no easy feat. It requires dedication, passion and a slight perversion to risk – all of which was demonstrated in abundance by the companies on show at the 2016 Amazon Growing Business Awards.
Evidence of how far business success has spread in the UK, the Amazon Growing Business Awards 2016, supported by the CBI, saw at least one winning or highly commended business in almost every region of Britain. While London-based businesses such as Joseph Joseph and Larsson & Jennings led the way with the most awards, those in the South West and South East of England were the next most successful.
Doug Gurr, UK country manager for headline sponsor Amazon, said: “We would like to offer our congratulations to all the winners and businesses highly commended.
Picking up the achievements of smaller businesses in particularly, Gurr stressed these are the “backbone of Britain”. “It’s immensely inspiring to hear such a number of success stories, showing that creative ideas and relentless drive is found around the country.”
One of the new award categories to make the line up this year was Triumph Over Adversity, with the inaugural accolade going to Katy Moss and Trent Refractories. A remarkable story of tenacity in the face of heartbreak, Moss took over her father’s business after he died – with the plan of getting it in a good enough state to be sold. However, despite the loss of her mother only a few months later, Moss decided to stick with the company and has since returned it to profitability and growth.
Moss said of her award: “Receiving recognition from Amazon, the CBI and Real Business is incredibly gratifying and I’m really looking forward to celebrating with the team in Scunthorpe.”
Special thanks must go to sponsors of the Amazon Growing Business Awards 2016, including Amazon itself, BMW, Premier Inn, ECI Partners, John Pye Auctions, KPMG, LA Micro Group and Splash Damage.
The full list Amazon Growing Business Awards 2016 winners
- Growing Business of the Year: Larger Company (Turnover £50m+)
Winner: Travel Counsellors
Highly commended: Sonovate
Highly commended: The Office Group
- Growing Business of the Year: Mid-sized Company (Turnover £25m – £50m)
Winner: The New World Trading Company
- Growing Business of the Year: Smaller Company (Turnover £10m – £25m)
Winner: Trak Global Group
- Growing Business of the Year: Smaller Company (Turnover up to £10m)
Highly commended: Wifinity
- B2B Business of the Year
- Consumer Business of the Year
Winner: Joseph Joseph
- Digital Business of the Year
- Entrepreneur of the Year
Winner: Larsson & Jennings
- Employer of the Year
- Export Champion of the Year
Winner: Thermoseal Group
- Innovator of the Year
Winner: M Squared
Highly commended: BubbleBum
- Micro Business of the Year
Winner: Barking Mad
- Rural Business of the Year
Winner: Go Ape
Highly commended: Forest Holidays
- The Triumph Over Adversity Award
Winner: Trent Refractories
- Young Company of the Year
Winner: Gate One
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year