Businesses in Cranleigh and surrounding areas have once again responded enthusiastically to the Cranleigh & District Business, Innovation & Growth (BIG) Awards 2017.
The awards, now in their second year, highlight, recognise and celebrate the innovation and growth achievements of local businesses.
“The number and quality of entries only goes to prove that Cranleigh has a diverse and vibrant local business community providing jobs and delivering economic growth,” said Richard Graham, President of award organisers Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce.
Entrants were attracted by the cash prizes, to be awarded to those businesses that can demonstrate outstanding initiative, boldness and imagination in their enterprise, as well as sound management practices.
There are two categories of business this year – businesses up to five employees in size and businesses with six or more employees. The overall winner in each category will receive a cash prize of £2,000.
In addition, the winner of the small business category will receive a Social Media Consultancy and Makeover session from Philip Calvert, International Social Media Strategist. This prize is worth £2,000 and will help the small business winner transform their social media marketing in 2017.
Entries closed on 19th November and the judges have shortlisted six finalists to go forward to the final stage of judging.
The prestigious judging panel is made up of HM Lord-Lieutenant Michael More Molyneux, Tim Wates of Wates Construction, Alan Young of Surrey County Council, Andrea Bamford of Informed Choice, Jim McAllister of the Rutland Group, Richard Graham of retailer One Forty, Mark Miseldine of the Surrey Advertiser, Bob Wild of Cranleigh Arts Centre and Rosemary French OBE of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative.
The judging panel bring with them a wide range and depth of business experience, ideally suited to such a difficult task, with such a high quality of entries which to assess.
The Cranleigh BIG Awards are only made possible by generous sponsorship, the most significant from Alan Young, Surrey County Councillor.
Alan Young said, “I wanted the Cranleigh BIG Awards to highlight and recognise the area’s entrepreneurial businesses, from micro businesses to large, and from newly set up to well established. Looking at the entries, we definitely achieved that aim”,
Further sponsorship has been provided by Informed Choice, One Forty, Taurus Wines, and Cranleigh Arts Centre.
Although the entrants came from a wide range of business sectors, four of the finalists this year are local retailers, reflecting the importance of High Street retail in Cranleigh.
While last year the winners, Taurus Wines and Firebrid Brewing, came from the food and drinks sector, health and well-being also features strongly this year.
In the category for businesses with five or less employees, the three finalists are The Furniture Emporium, Idyllic, and Moooh! Ice Cream.
The Furniture Emporium incorporating Living in Style are a joint retail company offering furniture, home accessories and lighting to the middle market direct to customer and online. The judges were impressed that while maintaining a High Street presence in two locations, that their UK wide online business has increased from 15% to 60% of their income.
Idyllic is a beauty and day spa offering a sanctuary of relaxation and well-being, with high quality beauty products in an environment that is friendly, relaxing and calm. The judges were impressed with the use of professional marketing, interior design and brand consultants and the continuing use of social media experts to become a top beauty salon in only three years.
Moooh! Ice Cream is a mobile van ‘experience’ which tailors ice cream and quality desserts for weddings, events, special occasions and village fetes in a beautifully restored vintage Citroen H van called Mirabelle. Residents may have first seen the van at the Cranleigh Food & Music Festival in September where families queued to be served their delicious desserts. The judges were impressed with the renovation of the van, the ‘quirky’ look and feel of the business, and the clear direction of the owners who are still in their first year of trading.
In the category for businesses with six or more employees, the three finalists are Atrainability, Cranfold Physical Therapy and The Hair Company.
Atrainability is a training consultancy which transfers good practice developed over many years in commercial aviation to health and social care. Its focus is patient safety where Atrainability helps the medical profession to apply behavioural skills to maintain and enhance safety across acute trusts, operating theatres, mental health trusts and social care. The judges were particularly impressed with the academic papers published under their name, engendering trust and capability to future clients.
Cranfold Physical Therapy Centre offers physiotherapy and complementary therapies privately and under the NHS to patients suffering from pain or dysfunction due to illness operations or injuries. Their investment in the professional growth of their physios and admin staff impressed the judges.
The Hair Company employees say it is not just about hair, it is also about building a personal relationship and creating an atmosphere in which the clients feel they know them as more than merely a stylist. The judges were impressed with the determination, enthusiasm and speed that the previous employees of a failed hair salon transformed it into not only an ongoing business but a successful one.
The winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on Monday 9th January at Cranleigh Arts Centre.
Local businesses are encouraged to book their tickets now at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cranleigh-big-awards-2017-tickets-30025563268 to enjoy an evening of networking, and celebrating all that is good about doing business in Cranleigh. Not forgetting the generous buffet and fine wines!