Published: 09:00, 26 November 2016
| Updated: 09:37, 26 November 2016
An IT firm which describes itself as a “32-year-old start-up” was named Business of the Year at the Dartford and Gravesham Business Awards.
Astro Communications took first place at the ceremony held at the Woodville in Gravesend.
Founded in 1984, the Dartford company delivers cabling, IT and cloud-based services to clients like TGI Friday’s, Wightlink Ferries and Bourne Leisure.
Managing director Steve Hodges said: “We are absolutely delighted.
“We have a very good team with a great culture. For them to achieve this is amazing.
“We approach everything as if we were a start-up organisation. Start-ups have that entrepreneurial feel where people feel empowered and able to make decisions.
“We focus all our attention around culture and the way we do things. I spend a lot of time on the road and I am not worrying about the guys because I know they will look after our customers.
“We are in IT. We are the geeks but we do it really enthusiastically and I think that comes through in most of what we do.”
Second place on the night went to events equipment hire firm Leisure King in Northfleet while third was awarded to safety systems installer PLP Fire Protection in Dartford.
Chair of judges Matt Kear, a relationship manager at sponsor Lloyds Bank, said: “Standards have been phenomenal among entrants this year.
“We had a really good level of entrants, on par if not exceeding previous years.
“What is fantastic is we are starting to see some real quality businesses coming through from the local boroughs which support the local economy and employ local staff..." - Chair of judges Matt Kear
“What is fantastic is we are starting to see some real quality businesses coming through from the local boroughs which support the local economy and employ local staff.
“It is fantastic to see.”
A cheque for £742 was presented to the awards’ charities the elleanor hospice and Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services in Gravesend.
The night was hosted by kmfm breakfast newsreader Nicola Everett, who invited sponsors to the stage to present certificates to the 11 finalists, which also included Bretts Business Recovery, Creation Lab, Cocoba, Eggfree Cake Box, Hatten Wyatt, Lecente, the Coloured Render Company and the Orchard Theatre.
Winner Mr Hodges added: “The calibre of people in that room is absolutely exceptional.
“They are energised, enthusastic and driven and the success that generates is fantastic.”
The event was also sponsored by KM Group, Dartford Borough Council, Gravesham Borough Council, University of Greenwich, law firm Thomson, Snell & Passmore, accountants Barnes Rolffe and last year’s overall awards winner Jones FM.