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KEiBA 2016: Winners include two doubles for ITL and Sleeping Giant Media

By Chris Price

A medical device manufacturer has pulled off the double double by scooping two prizes at Kent’s biggest business awards for the second time in three years.

Ashford-based Integrated Technologies Ltd, known as ITL, was named the county’s Large Business of the Year and Manufacturing Business of the Year at the Kent Excellence in Business Awards – the KEiBAs.

It repeated its success of 2014, when it was named the best manufacturer and best technology business, a category in which it was also a finalist this year.

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The winners of KEiBA 2016
The winners of KEiBA 2016

It was joined by fellow double winner Sleeping Giant Media, a digital agency based in Folkestone, which was named Employer of the Year and SME Business of the Year.

Nearly 600 guests came to the gala dinner at the Kent Showground in Detling on Thursday to see who would win the 15 categories.

Clive Emson, the auctioneer whose Maidstone-based company has become known on TV shows like Homes Under the Hammer, was honoured for his Outstanding Contribution to Business in Kent.

Another TV face, 17-year-old Ben Towers, who became a regular on CBBC show Pocket Money Pitch, won Young Entrepreneur of the Year for his digital agency Towers Design, which is turning over £438,000 a year.

VIDEO: Watch our round-up of the ceremony

Tom Cole and Greg Smith of ITL, which won Maufacturing Business of the Year
Tom Cole and Greg Smith of ITL, which won Maufacturing Business of the Year
Clive Emson was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Business in Kent
Clive Emson was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Business in Kent
Ben Towers was named young entrepreneur of the year at KEiBA 2016
Ben Towers was named young entrepreneur of the year at KEiBA 2016

The awards, now in their eighth year, are run by the KM Group and Kent County Council and were hosted by kmfm Drivetime presenter Rob Wills and the station’s news editor Nicola Everett.

Property developer Mark Quinn, the man behind 38 housing schemes across the Garden of England, was named Entrepreneur of the Year.

Tunbridge Wells-based clothes retailer Childrensalon, which sells 280 luxury brands into 135 countries, won the Customer Service and Commitment Award.

Kent County Council cabinet member for economic development Cllr Mark Dance said: “With over 250 entries, the judges were faced with the unenviable challenge of whittling it down to just 46 finalists.

Anthony Klokkou, Luke Quilter and Mersudin Forbes of Sleeping Giant Media, which was named SME Business of the Year
Anthony Klokkou, Luke Quilter and Mersudin Forbes of Sleeping Giant Media, which was named SME Business of the Year

“A huge congratulations to all those who won an award. You have every reason to feel proud of your achievement.

“Everyone who entered is testament to the resilience, strength and determination of the Kentish business...” - Cllr Mark Dance, Kent County Council

“For eight years now, KEiBA has showcased the strongest, most vibrant businesses and the people behind them.

“Even those that didn’t walk away with a trophy, they still have reasons to be proud.

“Everyone who entered is testament to the resilience, strength and determination of the Kentish business.”

Crisis management company Horizonscan, which teaches fire safety to businesses in tall buildings around the world, picked up the prize for Success in International Markets.

Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems, an ink supplier exporting to 86 countries, was recognised in the Business Commitment to the Environment category.

Colin Boughton of Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems, which won Business Commitment to the Environment
Colin Boughton of Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems, which won Business Commitment to the Environment

Meanwhile, James Fitness, a personal training company which runs free fitness sessions for people in Herne Bay, was applauded for Business Commitment to the Community.

“We know from past experience that winning a KEIBA is great for your business, not only for how people feel internally but also how they are perceived externally..." - Richard Elliot, KM Group

KM Group managing director Richard Elliot said: “So many great business have been nominated and the people who work in those businesses should feel really proud.

“We know from past experience that winning a KEIBA is great for your business, not only for how people feel internally but also how they are perceived externally.

“We have hosted these awards with KCC for the last eight years and it just seems to get better and better.

“The companies that enter the KEIBAs make the awards so special and I thank the judges and sponsors and all those who put on such a great event.

“Here’s to another successful year for businesses in Kent.”

Other winners were Winterdale Cheese near Wrotham, a serial KEiBA winner, which was named Land-based Business of the Year, and coffee shop Finch House in Tonbridge, which won Tourism and Hospitality Business of the Year.

Peter Shawyer and Andy McLeod of Texcel Technology won technology business of the year at last year's KEiBA
Peter Shawyer and Andy McLeod of Texcel Technology won technology business of the year at last year's KEiBA

Dartford-based Texcel Technology, an electronic design and engineering company, is the new Technology Business of the Year, while the Wirebelt Company in Sittingbourne won Apprenticeship of the Year for its latest graduate Aaron Cogger.

Aero Legends, a company offering pleasure flights in a Spitfire from Headcorn Aerodrome, was named Start-up Business of the Year.

KEiBA 2016 winners:

Apprenticeship of the Year

Winner

The Wirebelt Company - Aaron Cogger

Finalists

The Granary Spa - Rosie Hemmings

Facts International - Jack Kelly

Sponsored by: KCC Skills and Employability Service

Aaron Rhys Cogger of Wire Belt Company picked up Apprenticeship of the Year
Aaron Rhys Cogger of Wire Belt Company picked up Apprenticeship of the Year

Business Commitment to the Community Award

Winner

James Fitness

Finalists

Gillingham FC Community Trust

Young Kent

Sponsored by: Golding Homes

James and India Maybourn from James Fitness, which won the Business Commitment to the Community Award
James and India Maybourn from James Fitness, which won the Business Commitment to the Community Award

Business Commitment to the Environment Award

Winner

Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems

Finalists

Cyclepods

Alan Firmin

Sponsored by: KCC Low Carbon Kent and UK Power Networks

Customer Service and Commitment Award

Winner

Childrensalon

Finalists

Sleeping Giant Media

Watchfinder & Co

Sponsored by: Headley

Affie Scott-Read of Childrensalon, which won the Customer Service and Commitment Award
Affie Scott-Read of Childrensalon, which won the Customer Service and Commitment Award

Employer of the Year

Winner

Sleeping Giant Media

Finalists

Kreston Reeves

Childrensalon

Sponsored by: Swanstaff Recruitment Ltd

Luke Quilter and Nell Sanders from Sleeping Giant Media with the company's Employer of the Year award
Luke Quilter and Nell Sanders from Sleeping Giant Media with the company's Employer of the Year award

Entrepreneur of the Year

Winner

Mark Quinn – Quinn Estates

Finalists

Hugh Edeleanu – H.E Services Group

Wayne Hodgson – Red Eagle

Sponsored by: IOD and Creaseys

Mark Quinn won Entrepreneur of the Year
Mark Quinn won Entrepreneur of the Year

Land-based Business of the Year

Winner

Winterdale Cheese

Finalists

Simply Ice Cream

Wise Owl Cider

Sponsored by: Brachers and Hadlow Group

Carla and Robin Betts of Winterdale Cheesemakers, which won Land-based Business of the Year
Carla and Robin Betts of Winterdale Cheesemakers, which won Land-based Business of the Year

Large Business of the Year

Winner

Integrated Technologies Ltd

Finalists

Thanet Earth

Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Park

Sponsored by: Grant Thornton UK LLP

Greg Smith and Tom Cole with the Large Business of the Year trophy won by their firm ITL
Greg Smith and Tom Cole with the Large Business of the Year trophy won by their firm ITL

Manufacturing Business of the Year

Winner

Integrated Technologies Ltd

Finalists

Texcel Technology

Fudge Kitchen

Sponsored by: asb law and BIG – Kent Network University of Greenwich

SME Business of the Year

Winner

Sleeping Giant Media

Finalists

Infinity Group

Simply Ice Cream

Digital Contact

Sponsored by: Rift Group

Start-up Business of the Year

Winner

Aero Legends

Finalists

Emily & Me

No Place Like Home

Sponsored by: Mid Kent College and DSH Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors

Ben Perkins and Elliott Styles of Aero Legends, which won Start-up Business of the Year
Ben Perkins and Elliott Styles of Aero Legends, which won Start-up Business of the Year

Success in International Markets Award

Winner

Horizonscan

Finalists

International Association of Book-keepers

Questor Insurance

Sponsored by: HSBC Corporate Banking and UK Trade & Investment

Russell Timpson with the team Horizonscan team after winner the prize for Success in International Markets
Russell Timpson with the team Horizonscan team after winner the prize for Success in International Markets

Technology Business of the Year

Winner

Texcel Technology

Finalists

Bedfont Scientific

Integrated Technologies Ltd

Sponsored by: Cripps and University of Kent

Tourism & Hospitality Business of the Year

Winner

Finch House Cafe

Finalists

Wingham Wildlife Park

Great Comp Garden

Sponsored by: Southeastern

Caroline Sheridan and Daron Goldfinch of Finch House Cafe and Bakery, which won Tourism and Hospitality Business of the Year
Caroline Sheridan and Daron Goldfinch of Finch House Cafe and Bakery, which won Tourism and Hospitality Business of the Year

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Winner

Ben Towers – Towers Design

Finalists

David Tindall – Kent Design Studio

Niki Mahon – Nikita by Niki

Sponsored by: Canterbury College and Custodian Data Centres

Outstanding Contribution to Business in Kent

Winner

Clive Emson

Sponsored by: KM Group and Kent County Council

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