Pledge to businesses in Gravesham - "We want to shout about you from the rafters"

The search has begun for Gravesham’s best businesses. Trevor Sturgess sets the scene for the Gravesham Business Awards 2019

The search has begun for Gravesham’s best businesses. The second annual Gravesham Business Awards promises more drama and excitement as they recognise the huge but often unsung contribution of business to the borough.

As Keith Mason, chair of the judging panel, put it: “We want to find what is truly outstanding in the local business community and shout about it from the rafters.”

In April 2018, hundreds of guests gathered for a glitzy gala at The Woodville for the business night of the year.

They all applauded when The Panic Room kept calm to land the prestigious accolade of Gravesham Business of the Year 2018. The winner impressed judges by amazing growth in an increasingly popular entertainment activity that pits competitors against the clock in a race to solve puzzles and engineer their escape.

The Panic Room, led by entrepreneurial Alex and Monique Souter, was founded barely two years ago and promotes its Gravesham Business Award on its website, giving the business an additional seal of approval.

Other awards went to Austen Allen Homecare, based in Northfleet, and Revitalize Health and Fitness Clinic. A People’s Choice Award went to Forget-me-not Vintage and Crafts. Elleese Mason of Orange Property Services was Apprentice of the Year.

Once again, the awards have attracted prominent sponsors and supporters, including Barnes Roffe, Caxtons, Handelsbanken, Hatten Wyatt, GK Coffee, Gravesham council, Rise Communications, Softforge, University of Greenwich and the KM Media Group, publisher of the Gravesend Messenger. Every entrant is offered a free profile and photograph in the newspaper.

What the sponsors and supporters say:

Sylvia Meade, chair of the organising committee: “After a very successful first year in which the awards showcased Gravesham's vibrant business community, I look forward to this coming year and encourage everyone to enter. There's a lot to gain with a free profile and all finalists are invited to a gala evening."

Gravesham council leader Cllr David Turner: ”Gravesham Borough Council is proud to sponsor the second Gravesham Business awards following a very successful first year. The awards aim to give local businesses the profile and recognition they deserve with an opportunity to showcase their business achievements.

“I would urge local businesses to contact the council’s Economic Development team to find out more about the awards, how to enter and also the wider business support services “we offer.”

Carla Hirst of law firm Hatten Wyatt: “We have been in Gravesham for more than 170 years and believe it is important to support local businesses. We encourage local enterprises to enter no matter how big or small. You have got to be in it to win it. And celebrating with the finalists at the gala dinner is great fun and really boosts team morale.”

Keith Mason, a partner with accounting firm Barnes Roffe, and chair of the judging panel: “ Entrepreneurial spirit and the businesses it forges are the lifeblood of our economy, yet it’s easy to overlook the vital role they play, especially in our area.

“They provide employment and community cohesion and to do that, they have to overcome mountains of red-tape, cope with economic downturns, and deal with political seismic shifts, most notably at present Brexit.

“Their endeavour and dedication deserve recognition and that is what the Gravesham Business Awards are all about."

organising committee

Sylvia Meade, chair of the organising committee, foreground, with supporters and sponsors of Gravesham Business Awards 2019 outside the Civic Centre