It was out with the black ties and dinner jackets and in with the circus acts and a slap-up fish and chip supper at the first Dartford Business Awards.
Keen to celebrate the sense of fun that can come with running your own firm, the ceremony at Bluewater’s Winter Marquee certainly boasted a friendly atmosphere despite the competition for each gong.
Categories being contested were Shop of the Year, Best Owner Managed Business, Innovation, Good for the Community, Happy at Work, Exceptional Skills, Best Use of Online, Customers’ Choice, Commitment to Skills, and Best Business to Business.
They were organised by Dartford council, with media support by the Dartford Messenger, and the winners reflected the diversity of industries and skills in Dartford, and the wide range of work they are involved with.
Shop of the Year went to Longfield Village Butchers, Best Owner Managed Business went to Fox Estate Agents, Secure Technology Solutions was honoured for Innovation and Happy at Work went to Edward Bond Wealth Management.
Jones FM won Best Business to Business, Austen Allen Homecare won Commitment to Skills and Orchard Garage was the Customers’ Choice.
Best Use of Online went to Bluewater in the big business category and Bippity Boppity Shopity in the small business category, with Benjamin Murray of Crago Auto Repairs and Matthew Hold of The Orchard Theatre winning Exceptional Skills.
Downton & Ali Associates won Good for the Community for small businesses, with Marks & Spencer’s Bluewater store winning for big business.
Winners are promised a host of perks, including accounting and legal advice, web design and social media consultation, banking support and a year of virtual office service.
Council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite, who was one of the nine judges, said: “It was a wonderful occasion and a great opportunity to celebrate the hardworking and creative businesses we have in Dartford.
“Our business community contributes so much and it’s absolutely right we should thank them for the difference they make to our town.”
The awards were sponsored by Bluewater, Wilkins Kennedy LLP, Thomson Snell & Passmore, NatWest, The Nucleus, Oxford Innovation, Leigh Academies Trust, The Creation Lab, The Learning Shop, Fairfield, Dartford Living and Barclays.