The leading lights of the business world in Canary Wharf, east London, Docklands and south-east London watched as entrepreneur and dragon slayer Levi Roots unveiled the winners of The Wharf Innovation In Business Awards 2016.
The event, held on Thursday, September 29 at the Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf in association with East London Chamber Of Commerce (incorporating Docklands Business Club) and principal sponsor Canary Wharf Group saw 11 companies and individuals recognised for their achievements.
Judged by ELCC chairman Janette Withey, CWG managing director Howard Dawber and The Wharf's editor Giles Broadbent as well as representatives from our sponsors, the awards were made in 11 categories as follows:
Sponsor: TMP Solicitors
Winner: Parkour Generations
The judges said: "Turning a singular passion into a business may be one challenge.
"Adapting that passion to meet the needs of an obstinate market is another.
"Parkour Generations has forged inventive, profitable and beneficial partnerships to push its brand into unexpected areas – from testing prison security to helping disabled children overcome obstacles."
Highly Commended: Wapping Hockey Club
Sponsor: London City Airport
The judges said: "L'Orchidee impressed the judges with their ambition, their meticulous preparation and the scale and ingenuity of their planned future growth.
"Starting from virtually nothing, they are already planning a huge and feasible expansion based almost entirely on word of mouth."
Highly Commended: Wardian London
Winner: Ricky Kothari of T-Sticks
The judges said: "Ricky used his time with the judges to pitch his remarkable product.
"And that is the hallmark of the man – always looking to sell – an energy and infectious enthusiasm that has resulted in business trips with David Cameron and sales to China.
"All the more incredible considering what he invented."
Highly Commended: Stuart Burnside of Wapping Hockey Club
Winner: East London Liquor Company
The judges said: "East London Liquor Company is another winner with a common and exciting theme – someone turning their passion into a business, committing time and risking money to pursue a dream.
"In two years, this venture has quickly moved beyond its core and diversified its offering, while still staying true to its core principles."
Highly Commended: Victualler
Customer Service Excellence
Winner: Carrot cars
The judges said: "Carrot Cars works in a crowded industry in which virtually anybody is a potential rival that can take away a chunk of their market share.
"Being distinctive gets a foot in the door. Providing a memorable service ensures, the next time, they get a welcome."
Highly Commended: Boisdale Of Canary Wharf
Sponsor: Porsche Centre East London
Winner: Metro Village
The judges said: "Every business has regretted an appointment that went wrong.
"Metro Village has put finding the right people and judging the right chemistry at the heart of its operations and then set in place a programme of staff development and rewards that ensures no-one should want to leave."
Highly Commended: The London Wellness Centre
Corporate Social Responsibility
Sponsor: East London Business Place
Winner: London City airport
The judges said: "The winner of this award, on paper, should be an unwelcome cuckoo in the nest and yet, through a programme of outreach to the community – providing apprenticeships and prospects and reaching across the great divide – London City Airport has shown that it seeks to contribute meaningfully to a community and become, as far as possible, a good neighbour."
Highly Commended: Docklands Sailing And Watersports Centre
Sponsor: University of East London
Winner: Sports Bar And Grill
The judges said: "On paper, Sports Bar And Grill looked like it was going to face a tough start, launching its operations in a part of Canary Wharf that won’t see strong footfall for a couple of years.
"But they showed that people will go out of their way for the right product."
Highly Commended: Porsche Centre East London
Sponsor: Tune Hotels
Winner: Greenwich Theatre
The judges said: "Although not the conventional sort of business with which the judges were faced, Greenwich Theatre faced typical SME problems.
"A mountain of inherited debt and a need to grow to secure its long term future.
"The result was hard fiscal discipline and adventurous, creative thinking with tangible results."
Highly Commended: The Troxy
Sponsor: Get Set For Growth
Winner: Creative Virtual
The judges said: "Creative Virtual may be the most successful Canary Wharf company you’ve never heard of.
"This giant was in the tech business almost before the sector existed but its years of research and development mean it is now superbly placed to take advantage of cutting edge customer expectations and experiences."
Highly Commended: CCT Venues
Sponsor: The O2
Winner: Reg Beer of Frontispiece Ltd
The judges said: "The modern history of Canary Wharf is so short that there’s been no time to create the sort of emblematic source character whose own story reflects a wider experience.
"The winner of this prestigious award has defied those odds and become that local legend.
"He dared to move from Tobacco Dock to Canary Wharf when everyone else was nonplussed and was, for two years, the sole outlet on the mall level.
"When he moved out of the malls, 20 years later, he left it packed with high-end brands.
"It seemed to mark the closing of one chapter of Canary Wharf and the opening of the next.
"He seems to embody the traditional east London – steeped, as he is, in the folklore of the Isle of Dogs – as well as forever fascinated with what possibilities the future holds.
"Indeed, it is fitting that his work embodies the two – selling antique prints online to newcomers fascinated by the area’s rich history.
"He has been a Fleet Street photographer, a firefighter and a teacher but he is best known as Mr Frontispiece.
"He is perhaps the first true character of Canary Wharf and he is, of course, Reg Beer."
● Our congratulations to the winners, those who have been highly commended and all of our fantastic shortlisted entrants. The competition was very tight giving our judges a fittingly tough task.
Thank you too to all of our sponsors and suppliers who helped make the first awards happen. We look forward to seeing you all again for next year's event.
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