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Growing Business Awards: the winners

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And the winner is….

(drumroll please)


There are plenty of obvious targets for terrorist attacks – embassies, courts, and police stations – but there are also plenty of other buildings close by them. That’s a lot of buildings requiring protection against a potential bomb blast.

The problem for them all is that such protection comes with a mass of reinforced concrete and steel, turning the building into an expensive and ugly bunker.

But Alumet’s ABLE Façade System changes all that. It’s a lightweight pre-glazed wall, designed for off-site construction, which can then simply be hooked onto a building. And it can be clad with all types of material, from terracotta to timber.

It’s not only clever, it’s seriously effective. In blast tests, it has outperformed MoD/Home Office requirements by 20 per cent.

Last year, Alumet secured a £6.2m order from the MoD to design, fabricate and install the AFS system for a large development. Massive domestic and overseas demand is forecast. Life’s a blast for this Warwickshire-based specialist building company.

The first of two new categories is next – the Social Enterprise AwardAnd the winner is….


The ELSBC is the oldest enterprise agency in the UK, having been established as a not-for-profit in 1978. Its purpose was to: “increase social wealth and mobility through the stimulation and support of micro-enterprises and small businesses across communities in east London.”

And how it has lived up to that vision. More than 13,000 individuals have been helped to set up their own businesses in a highly marginalised and disadvantaged part of the country.

Throughout its history, it has been a highly innovative organisation, particularly in the way it has sourced funds for new businesses.

A 20-year partnership with Lloyd’s insurance market has enabled ELSBC to establish loan funds for individuals who were unable to secure bank loans. It made the ELSBC the first community development financial institution in the country. More recently, in 2001, it started a Muslim Loan Fund, a sharia compliant loan. Last year, £1.4m was lent to clients, with 50 per cent being women and 71 per cent being from ethnic minorities.  

CEO Tim Heath collects the award; he tells the gathering that during the past 30 years, the group has helped more than 10,000 businesses and has started up 8,000 businesses: “We’re very pleased we’ve won this award and it tops off 30 years of our work.”The Green Award…

There are TWO winners for this inaugural award:



In September 2000, Mehmet Ergen and Leyla Nazli converted a textile warehouse in Dalston, east London, into a theatre. Their artisitic aims were radical and ambitious enough but in 2007, they declared their commitment to environmental sustainability – with the aim to be the world’s first carbon neutral theatre.

And, boy, are they going about it. The installation of a fuel cell in February 2008 made the venue the first in the world to power its main house shows and bar/café on hydrogen. Its show, The Living Unknown Soldier, was performed with the lighting at a peak power consumption of 4.5kW – 60 per cent less than any comparable lighting installation. The greening goes all the way from stage to box office and has generated considerable interest, from parliamentary groups, technology companies and the arts world.

FIRST MILE!!!!  The problem’s obvious. The solution less so. Thousands of city centre businesses have poor waste and pretty limited recycling services. No matter how well-intentioned, such organisations find recycling expensive and complicated.

No longer. To recycle with First Mile, you call an 0800 number and set up an account. Recycling sacks are then delivered via electric truck. All materials (no tedious separating) can be put into the sacks for daily collection.  Even the billing and collecting is paperless.

Not only is First Mile walking the green walk, it’s operating at 20 per cent lower cost than its competitors.



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