Dou­ble suc­cess as Kent shows its best

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Roundabout -

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.

Pic­tures: Wayne McCabe FM4396564 Buy pic­tures from ken­ton­line.co.uk

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

FM4396479

Aaron Cog­ger of the Wire Belt Com­pany

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