Here are the winners of the London Loves Excellence Awards 2014.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Lord Gulam Noon
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD – Supported by Berendsen
Tony Matharu, Grange Hotels
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR – Supported by Santander
Tony Goodwin, Antal International
Tony Goodwin founded his management and recruitment firm in 1993. Today Antal International has 130 offices in 35 countries including Russia, Poland, India and China. Last year the company turned over more than £16m. The judges loved the fact that he has built recruitment empire from scratch. He started with just £10,000 and had no support or external funding. He’s led Antal’s expansion into emerging economies that larger and more established rivals haven’t dared to, and succeeded through pure entrepreneurial savvy.
APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR
Scott Irwin & Clare Walsh
Scott joined Investors in People in 2013. From attaining high-level qualifications to project management, he has already achieved a huge amount. He’s even launched an online shop, which he expects will turn over £1m by 2016. The judges feel that Scott has shown a huge amount of initiative and has obviously been very responsive to his training early on, and that he shows incredible potential.
Clare was so ambitious that she was promoted three times during her apprenticeship at McDonald’s. She is now People Manager for a group of restaurants and is responsible for recruiting and training staff. Despite her busy work schedule, she makes time to help adults with mental health problems. The judges felt that Clare had done an enormous amount in her time at McDonald’s and show enthusiasm, dedication and the right attitude to work.
28-year-old Ross Fobian was still at university when he began developing a seriously clever product to unify on-line and offline marketing. He launched ResponseTap in 2008. It’ll turn over £8mm this year, having grown 60% in the past year and expecting 85% growth this year. Ross counts British Gas as a client and has expanded the business to the US. The judges were highly impressed by the growth that ResponseTap has achieved. They applauded the fact that Ross had found a clever niche in the market and capitalised on it. He’s sure to have a stellar entrepreneurial career ahead of him.
FINANCIAL SERVICES – Sponsored by Relish
Winner: Funding Circle
Highly Commended: LMAX Exchange
As pioneers of the alternative lending revolution, we’ve all heard of Funding Circle. The peer-to-peer lending firm has helped 5,000 businesses secure loans worth £370m. It is now growing at more than 200% a year. The judges said that Funding Circle is revolutionary in its ambitions and its achievements. It has created an entirely new way of doing business that is genuinely helping thousands of small businesses across the UK. The judges were hugely excited by its potential to disrupt financial services and help businesses.
Winner: Pimlico Plumbers
Highly Commended: Ground Control
The judges hugely admire the passion and commitment of Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins, and loved that this is an amazing family business built from scratch, now turning over £20m. They praised Pimlico’s commitment to staff development, and the amount it does for society through charity work and apprenticeships. They also praised its rapid growth and unique market position, which are highly unusual for its industry.
CREATIVE INDUSTRIES – Supported by Relish
Winner: Blitz GES
Highly Commended: Gekko
This leading AV rental and staging company provides services for a host of live events. It counts the BBC, Blackberry and Goldman Sachs as clients. Over the last five years, Blitz has grown by 53%. The judges were highly impressed by Blitz’s steady growth and excellent customer service. They praised its work during the Olympics, and admired the way it had capitalised on that work to propel growth. Blitz has made smart investments to accelerate performance and the judges felt it was a very well-managed company with a shining future ahead of it.
MANUFACTURING & ENGINEERING
Brompton’s iconic fold-up bicycles can be seen all around London. It’s become a true icon of British engineering and manufacturing, and the firm is growing around 20% year-on-year. With new markets such as Japan, South Korea and Spain now opening up, this company is riding high on its success. The judges loved the fact that Brompton Bicycle is a great British brand that exports all over the world – 78% of products are sold overseas, to some 44 countries. The company is also committed to inspiring the next generation of engineers. At any one time, 5-10% of staff are on apprenticeships.
TECHNOLOGY & TELECOMS – Supported by James Cowper
Highly Commended: Powwownow
Fluidata provides business-grade broadband and connectivity services to UK companies. Since it launched 10 years ago, revenue growth has averaged at 45% year-on-year. The judges were highly impressed by Fluidata’s near-perfect customer retention rate of 99%, and its rapid growth – it’s been listed in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 three years running. They liked the fact it was enabling broadband access in remote and rural areas. They also believe the business has great potential to become a major player in telecoms.
Westfield shopping centres attract tourists from far and wide. Chinese tourists named Westfield their favourite place to shop in London after Oxford Street. Tourists now account for a quarter of sales at Westfield London, and 20% of spend at Westfield Stratford City. The judges said Westfield’s impact on the London tourist shopping circuit was indisputable – visitors from around the world know it and plan it in as part of their trip to London. Vast amounts are now spent at the shopping malls by Middle Eastern and Chinese tourists in particular.
Ed’s Easy Diner
This chain of 50’s-inspired American diners is a firm favourite among Londoners. From just three diners in 2009, Ed’s Easy Diner has grown into 30 branches across the UK. Company profits have doubled in a year and turnover has hit £18m, having grown sales by more than 85% in the past year. It’s very committed to training, and has a range of initiatives to support employees and create the right culture. The judges believe it is a very well-managed chain that will go from strength to strength.
DEAL OF THE YEAR
Amit Bhatia at Hope Construction
Amit has built Hope Construction incredibly rapidly in the past year, from no brand to a company turning over £300m with a 15% market share. He achieved this by merging two companies and acquiring more than 150 sites in 2013. Amazingly, he managed to protect all jobs – and then increased employment to 900. It has become the UK’s first construction company to make the World Economic Forum’s Global Growth list. And he’s managed all this while also being Vice Chairman of Queen’s Park Rangers football club.