Kent launches quest for business excellence
KEiBA launch reception at
by business editor Trevor Sturgess
The 2013 quest for business excellence has begun with the launch
of the "Mars bar" county's premier awards.
"Any business that does something to an excellent standard
should enter," declared Guy Whitehead, whose company Armourcoat
Surface Finishes, Sevenoaks, won a Kent Excellence in Business
Award (KEiBA) for Success in International Markets last year.
Last night, he told an audience of more than 150 people in
The Ward Room at the University of Greenwich, Chatham
Maritime, they should go for an award if they thought they did
something to a high standard.
"What is it about your business that makes you special," he
said. "I urge you all to seek out in your organisation what's good
and put it forward."
Geoff Miles, owner of Maidstone Studios and chairman of the
judges, said Kent and Medway had great businesses, locations,
connectivity and entrepreneurial spirit.
"We are the Mars bar county - a great place to work,
rest and play." He added: "Our businesses are well positioned to
grow faster than most out of recession and that's why I believe in
the KEiBA. They allow our businesses to say - 'look what we can do.
Come look at us.'."
Another former winner Bill Ferris, chief
executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust (Best Leisure and
Tourism Business 2009), said the accolade had raised profile and
self-confidence that had paved the way for a string of
achievements. "The KEiBA award was not responsible for all of that
but it was a major stepping stone. I really do urge you to
The fifth annual KEiBA, staged and produced by Kent County
Council and the multimedia KM Group, feature more categories and
sponsors than ever.
Last year's entry of 220 was a record and organisers hope to
beat that this year.
Mark Dance, KCC cabinet member for regeneration and economic
development, said: "KCC remains committed to supporting businesses
across all sectors. I am so pleased that the KEiBAs continue to
offer that rare opportunity in our busy lives to take stock and
celebrate the very best that we are. Let's make this 5th year
bigger and better than ever."
Geraldine Allinson, KM Group chairman, told guests that 2012 had
been another difficult year for the economy and KEiBA recognised
businesses that had met the challenge.
"Awards are one of the most powerful and cost-effective
marketing tools," she said. "Winning a prestigious KEiBA will help
your organisation to stand out from the crowd, boost staff morale,
send a positive message to your existing customers and attract new
During the event, a guest wrote on Twitter: "Inspiring,
motivational, insightful." Last year's Entrepreneur of the Year
Craig Harrison, managing director of Broadstairs-based Aquaread,
tweeted: "Winning has been great for me. Best of luck to all the
KEiBA 2013 entrants."
This year's categories are:
Large Business (sponsored by Aon Risk Solutions);
SME Business (Santander Corporate Banking);
Start-up Business (MidKent College/Ward Security);
Best Leisure and Tourism Business (Southeastern);
Best Land-based Business (Hadlow College/Brachers);
Best Science and/or Technology Business (Vertex Law/ University
Business Commitment to the Community: (Headley Brothers);
Business Commitment to the Environment (Skanska/ KCC
Employer (asb law);
Success in International Markets (HSBC Commercial Banking/Kent
Customer Service and Commitment (Kent Reliance);
Entrepreneur (Institute of Directors Kent)/ EMC Management
Young Entrepreneur (Kent Foundation/ Lloyds TSB
Apprenticeship (KCC Skills and Employability – Kent Jobs for
Kent Young People).
The deadline for entries is March 8. More details and entry
form at www.keiba.co.uk.