Croydon's biggest awards programme is returning for 2016 with a celebration of the borough's business success stories.
Following the success of the inaugural Croydon Business Excellence Awards last year, organisers White Label Creative are promising an even bigger and better event this year, which will also provide local charities with a valuable boost by raising funds for the Mayor of Croydon's charities.
More than 300 people attended last year's gala dinner and charity ball and the 2016 event, being held in association with Gatwick Airport, got off to a glittering start with a launch party held at Impact House, which will shortly be transformed into residential accommodation by Inspired Homes.
Flashback: Last year's winner Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison with Councillor Toni Letts
Councillor Toni Letts, Croydon Council's cabinet member for the economy and jobs, told assembled guests: "This is Croydon's time – with 11 cranes swinging on the skyline in this wonderful city of ours you can almost taste the success.
"One of the things I am most proud of is that we now have 14,815 businesses operating in Croydon – and that is a 9.1 per cent increase over the past two years. That is giving employment to 187,000 people and providing prosperity for Croydon residents and contributing to the economic success of this great place."
Some of last year's winners joined forces to urge businesses to get involved and enjoy the kind of benefits they enjoyed from being recognised as a Croydon Business Excellence Award winner.
Guests enjoy the launch event at Impact House
Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison, founder of the RISEgallery which was named Business of the Year at last year's event, said: "When you start a business you feel very alone but when you enter awards like this and win that award it's such an amazing thing to be recognised for. Get involved – the Croydon Business Excellence Awards are amazing."
The closing date for entries this year is May 6 and the gala dinner and awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, October 6, with funds going to the Mayor of Croydon's charities.
As well as London Gatwick, partners of this year's awards are: Allianz Global Assistance, London Borough of Croydon, Wing Yip, Croydon Business Venture, Sussex Innovation Centre, the Croydon Partnership, the Croydon Advertiser, Platinum business magazine and Croydon Chamber of Commerce.
For more details about how to enter and the awards process visit www.croydonawards.co.uk