Before we tell you who the winners are, we should start by saying how pleased we were with the quality of all the entries. Picking recipients for each of the gongs was a tough job for our esteemed panel of judges, which included the likes of ex-Dragon Doug Richard, Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry, Cisco's David Critchley and ex-Olympian Roger Black. So all of those of you who entered should give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back.
And so on to the exciting stuff. The winners include (drumroll please): Ratedpeople, the site which matches trusted tradespeople with home improvers, who clinched the technovator prize. Judges were particularly impressed with the way founder Andrew Skipwith and his team were using technology to solve an age-old problem of unreliable tradespeople. (Have you ever wasted hours hanging around waiting for a plumber/builder/sparky who never materialised? We know the feeling…)
Another winner was Women Like Us, which triumphed in the fiercely-fought mumpreneur category. Founders Karen Mattinson and Emma Stewart set up the part-time recruitment agency when they realised there was a glaringly obvious glut of untapped talent – at the school gates. They practise what they preach too – more or less everyone in their office works part- or flex-time. And we’re not the first eagle-eyed bunch to spot their potential – the duo were awarded MBEs last year for their hard work.
Other winners included Thamesmead based printing company Richard Edward, graduate recruitment site Wikijob, plastic-bottle recycler Closed Loop and high-tech MOD spin-off P2i. For a full list of the winners visit the Business Heroes site.
Our champions may have come from all sorts of different industries, but the recurring theme was resilience – or true grit. Even though we had a specific category for this, it soon became clear as the entries came flooding in that we could have based the entire awards scheme around this theme. Every single one of our winning and shortlisted companies has faced adversity in one form or another – and triumphed. Now that’s what we call a true hero.