The brightest stars of Cornwall’s business community were recognised at the Hub Awards 2008 ceremony last night.
Now in its fourth year, the awards are held by the Hub, Cornwall’s dynamic business network, to celebrate the success of young entrepreneurs and those new to business
While this year categories were opened up to all ages, each of the five winners are aged 30 or under, showing how young business people are shaping enterprise in Cornwall.
The evening was sponsored by Unlocking Cornish Potential, Combined Universities in Cornwall and Business Link. It featured a keynote speech from Iain Scott, who with his project Enterprise Island inspires and motivates new entrepreneurs to set up their own business.
Organiser Andrew Weaver of Live Events South West said: “These winners represent the future of business in Cornwall, and they absolutely deserve to be recognised for their passion, innovation and hard work.”
Allyson Glover, who set up the successful graduate placement scheme Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP), headed up the judging panel for the awards.
She said: “It was refreshing and inspiring to see so many people embracing business and making a success of it in Cornwall.
“We were so impressed with the enthusiasm and vision amongst these entrepreneurs and employees – the future of business in Cornwall is certainly safe in their hands.”
Hub Awards 2008 winners
Employee of the Year: Chris Wills, aged 25, Murrell Associates Solicitors, Truro
Earlier this year, Chris left his role within an established law firm to join partners Hugh Murrell and Katie Ashworth at the newly formed Murrell Associates. Since then he has been instrumental in developing the practice, providing legal expertise in renewable energy, finance and new businesses sectors.
His employers described him as “a man who shows a commitment, a legal ability, an approach to clients and a professionalism one would normally expect in a senior lawyer of many years’ standing.”
Judges comments: “Chris has taken a risk and followed it through. His holistic view of a business and how it needs to operate in a competitive environment is superb. He is forward thinking and strongly understands his clients needs.”
Innovator of the Year: Aren Grimshaw, aged 26, uknetweb, St Agnes
Uknetweb is a web design and development company based in St Agnes. Aren has embraced a growing trend in online social networking and interactive marketing to become Cornwall’s authority on Web 2.0 developments.
Whilst he has not invented a product, his innovation is in spotting the business potential in social media and using it to improve the services on offer at Uknetweb.
Judges comments: “Aren is a brilliant communicator and is using technology in a way no one else is, but with sound business principles. The impact of his work is huge.”
Best Business Start Up: Claire Eason-Bassett, aged 30, Event Cornwall
Event Cornwall provides professional event planning and management for companies, organisations and individuals with ideas.
A “virtual” company, Event Cornwall pools the talents of three directors with a diverse background in events. Having launched in January this year, the company already has a strong portfolio of clients including the BBC, University College Falmouth and Cornwall College.
Judges comments: “I was blown away by Claire’s passion and enthusiasm for what she does. Event Cornwall has an interesting structure and shows how you can work creatively. Their ethos is to under promise yet over-deliver and ultimately ensure everyone has a fantastic experience.”
Entrepreneur of the Year: Joss Price, aged 27, Boutique Retreats
Joss’ first dabble in the world of business started at the age of 10, when he sold flowers on his doorstep. And after ditching a high-flying career in London, he and his partner Philippa now run a successful luxury self-catering accommodation business.
Boutique Retreats aims for occupancy 52 weeks of the year and works closely with Cornish suppliers to keep the accommodation stocked up. The business has received attention from national media including online luxury accommodation bible mrandmrssmith.com.
Judges comments: “Joss has all the classic characteristics of an entrepreneur. He’s worked hard to understand the environment he works in, has grown in confidence and where he realised he didn’t have the skills he need in his business, he went out and got them.”
Hub Contributor of the Year: Graham Donaldson, aged 28, TRAC Services, Camborne
Since the Hub is run by a steering committee of volunteers, the organisation relies on its members for support and to guide how it is run.
The award for Contributor of the Year is judged by the steering committee to a member who has show outstanding commitment to the network over the last year.
Rachel Picken, Hub committee member said: “Graham Donaldson is a true ambassador for the Hub. His friendly face at events welcomes new members and he can always be relied on to bring friends and help grow our membership. We need members like Graham to ensure we are working towards our goals.”
The Hub holds monthly networking events at different venues throughout Cornwall. Originally set up to support businesspeople under 30, the network now welcomes members of all ages.