Outstanding small businesses from across the country gathered in London last night, as the sixth outing of the Small Awards made a glittering return.
Presenter, writer, actor and comedian Sue Perkins hosted the fun-filled ceremony that celebrated the resilience and brilliance of the UK’s small businesses.
Gemma Deane from Rugby was crowned 2022’s Small Business of the Year for her reusable period pad company Floating Lotus, which also won the ‘Net Hero’ best sustainable business category. Since it was founded, the company has expanded across the UK and Europe via its e-commerce site, saving over 10 million disposable pads from incineration or landfill.
And Deane, founder of Floating Lotus, said: “I am so honoured to win both the Small Award Net Hero category and Small Business of the Year. I was delighted to just be a finalist, recognised formally as a successful eco-business here in UK, but winning has completely blown my mind.
I’m still floating on air after the awards ceremony with so many talented small businesses. I’ll be continuing to grow and develop Floating Lotus as both an eco-business and supporting period poverty causes here and internationally.”
The Small Awards is a nationwide search for the UK’s smallest and greatest firms, organised annually by Small Business Britain, which champions, inspires and accelerates small businesses in the UK.
This year, the awards received a record number of applications from small businesses, with over 80 small business finalists shortlisted across 11 Small Award categories that call out the nation’s most inspirational business, across everything from sole-traders, to digital stars and purposeful community-driven businesses.
This included Sheffield’s Hellen Stirling-Baker who won the ‘High Street Hero’ award, sponsored by TSB, for her children’s store Small Stuff which impressed judges for its clever combination of retail environment and community space.
Karlia Lykourgou’s start-up Ivy & Normanton also won the ‘New Kid on the Block’ award for her legal-outfitter business, that provides elegant and comfortable clothing ranges for those working in the profession, including a speciality hijab. Karlia founded her business in 2020 to celebrate diversity, after becoming frustrated with the limited attire available for women.
Over eighty incredible small businesses were shortlisted for the Small Awards, which showcases the UK’s dynamic small business economy, across all sectors. Other winners included:
● Travelling vintage funfair and family business, Carters Steam Fair won the Legacy award, gaining recognition for its work to preserve British social history through rescuing and restoring vintage attractions over 40 years.
● Liverpool based independent coffee chain 92 Degrees, founded by Jack Brewitt, won the Bricks and Clicks award and was praised for creating an impressive coffee-based community surrounding both the online and physical shops in the city.
● Reflex Medical won the award for Supply Chain Champion. The firm, based in Somerset, supplies medical equipment to many charities, as well as businesses serving the NHS.
● Online business Love Logs was awarded the Digital Star category. In less than 18 months, the family team has gone from having an idea for a more sustainable British firewood company, to running a high turnover business, through its smart digital strategy.
● Middlesbrough based Nite Light CIC won the Heart of Gold award for its tireless work striving towards eliminating poverty in the North East using an innovative ‘pay it forward’ model.
● Volarti Business Services won the At Your Serviceaward, impressing judges with the way they have supported clients during a tough business climate.
● Sole trader Cat Crossley won the Sole to Sole award for her feminist stationery business Clavis & Claustra, where she creates and sell products to other independents from her base in Yorkshire.
● A CIC that creates opportunities for mothers in Bangladesh was awarded the Mission Possible award. Khushi Kantha Community Interest Companyempowers female artisans to earn an income from making traditional ‘kantha’ blankets safely and sustainably.
Michelle Ovens, Founder of Small Business Britain said: “The Small Awards is all about celebrating the uniquely special and amazing contribution of small firms to the UK economy,”
“All small businesses should be proud of the way they have coped during the past two years of upheaval, but special congratulations must go to our amazing winners, who have inspired us with their resilience. We are so delighted to have delivered such a fun event and to be back in-person again.”
The Small Awards were judged by a panel of leading enterprise experts. Guests at the Small Awards were treated to a dazzling display of entertainment by the West End’s Phoenix Arts Club and performances by inclusive dance group, DanceSyndrome, along with fine food and drink by independent caterers Boulevard Events.