Double success as Kent shows its best
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, 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.
“It’s amazing to win two awards,” said managing director Tom Cole.
“We weren’t expecting to win large business of the year and we are very thankful.”
It was joined by fellow double winner Sleeping Giant Media, a digital agency based in Folkestone that was named employer of the year and SME business of the year. “I feel hugely proud of all the team,” said chief executive Luke Quilter.
“They are really powerful awards for us because of the external exposure.”
Almost 600 guests came to the gala dinner at the Kent Showground in Detling on Thursday, June 23, to see the 15 categories’ winners and finalists.
Clive Emson, the auctioneer whose Maidstone company has become widely 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.
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 clothes retailer Childrensalon, which sells 280 luxury brands into 135 countries, won the customer service and commitment award. KCC 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.
“Huge congratulations to all those who won an award. You have every reason to feel proud of your achievement.
“For eight years now, KEiBA has showcased the strongest, most vibrant busi- LARGE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AND MANUFACTURING BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Integrated Technologies Ltd Ashford ITL collected two awards after it increased turnover last year by 15% to £10.6m, while net profit nearly doubled to £2.3m. A developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices, it aims to grow revenues to more than £16m over the next three years. In the last year, ITL has invested more than £750,000 in new machinery and systems at its headquarters, which will grow its manufacturing abilities. Its £500,000 new printed circuit board machine will give it access to higher-volume contracts. nesses and the people behind them. Everyone who entered is testament to the resilience, strength and determination of 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.
Meanwhile, James Fitness, a personal training company that runs free fitness sessions for people in Herne Bay, was applauded for business commitment to the community.
KM Group managing director Richard Elliot said: “So many great businesses 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 busi- ness, not only for how people feel internally but also how they are perceived externally. 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.”
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.
Dartford-based Texcel Technology, an electronic design and engineering company, is the new technology business of the year, while Wire Belt 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.
Above, Anthony Klokkou, Luke Quilter and Mersudin Forbes, of Sleeping Giant Media. The digital agency based in Folkestone was named employer of the year and SME business of the year
Aaron Cogger of the Wire Belt Company