Published: 13:45, 10 May 2017
The 50 finalists for KEiBA 2017 have been revealed after the most prestigious business awards in Kent received a record number of entries.
Competing in 16 categories, the lineup features the best companies in the county, from apple growers to art galleries and construction contractors to clothes retailers.
Judges sifted through 312 entries for this year’s awards – the highest number ever received.
New innovations for this year includes splitting the SME category into small and medium business of the year and creating a new construction project of the year.
The finalists were unveiled at the Kent Vision Live exhibition at the Kent Event Centre in Detling.
They will find out who has been crowned the winners at the ninth annual gala dinner at the same venue on Thursday, June 22, hosted by organisers Kent County Council and the KM Group.
Kent County Council cabinet member for economic development Cllr Mark Dance said: “To be a KEIBA finalist, you have to be the best of the best against your peers in this wonderful county of ours.
“The hard work and determination and the obstacles you have overcome have finally paid off.
“You are now part of an elite band that has been judged and you have passed the scrutiny of the panel. A huge well done.”
KM Group managing director Richard Elliot said: “It’s fantastic yet again to see such a broad range of finalists covering so many sectors, both big and small.
“It’s particularly pleasing to see a record number of entries and particularly in the new categories of construction project of the year, plus the new small and medium business awards.
“I wish everyone could be a winner. Good luck and I look forward to seeing you at the awards in June.”
The finalists for KEiBA 2017 – the Kent Excellence in Business Awards – are:
Apprenticeship of the Year
CRM Logistics – Katie Town
Gillingham FC Community Trust – James Hare
HatHats Coffee Company – Charlotte Thomson
Business Commitment to the Community
The FAR Academy
Neighbourhood Furniture Store
Commitment to the Environment Award
Lucas - Fit Out & Finishing Specialists
Wingham Wildlife Park
Construction Project of the Year
Walker Construction UK
Customer Service Award
The Historic Dockyard Chatham
Sleeping Giant Media
Employer of the Year
The British Assessment Bureau
Entrepreneur of the Year
Lucas – Danny Lucas
The Red Eagle Group – Wayne Hodgson
Sleeping Giant Media – Luke Quilter
Exporter of the Year
The Fountain Workshop
Large Business of the Year
AC Goatham & Son
Manufacturer of the Year
Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems
Medium Business of the Year
Small Business of the Year
South East Timber & Damp
Three R’s Teacher Recruitment
Start-up of the Year
HatHats Coffee Company
Matilda Hays Flowers
Nikita By Niki
Technology Business of the Year
Tourism & Leisure Business of the Year
The Historic Dockyard Chatham
Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks
Young Entrepreneur of the Year
The Juice Executive – Alexandra Auger
Nikita By Niki – Nikita Mahon
VooServers – Matt Parkinson