Bexley celebrated a wealth of impressive local business success stories at a glittering black-tie gala dinner and awards ceremony, compered by broadcaster Becky Ives.
More than 220 people attended the White Label-organised Bexley Business Excellence Awards 2017 in association with Ocado, at the Bexleyheath Marriott Hotel on Wednesday, June 21.
The 13 award categories, which recognised the achievements and successes of Bexley's vibrant business community, were hotly contested.
There was loud applause for the overall Business of the Year, Handy AV, who received their award from Jon Satinet, Head of UK CFC Implementation at Ocado. Handy AV enjoyed success earlier in the evening, winning the Best Technology Company category, before being announced as the winner of the top award.
A delighted and stunned Aubrey Wright, Managing Director of Handy AV said: "Thank you for the honour of this award. This is our year.
"We only recently moved to Bexley after many years spent searching for the right business premises. But once we found them in Bexley it all came together – the opportunity arose and accelerated our growth."
A number of firms took more than one accolade, including Serene Indulgence who won two categories - Best Young Entrepreneur for Managing Director Kayleigh Kanat and Independent Retailer of the Year – and were commended in another.
Kayleigh commented: "I'm a bit shocked. I wish I had all the team with me as this goes to them - they are everything to me. My staff are going to be so proud."
Paul Turner, of Playle and Partners Ltd, who won Best Business for Employee Training and Development, revealed he began his own career as a trainee with the firm.
Thanking the council, sponsors and organisers for a "fabulous evening," he said: "I had the opportunity of starting my training at the company many years ago and I am hoping we can provide opportunities for the younger generation to start and progress their careers in the borough of Bexley."
Last year's Business of the Year, ITRM Ltd., won the 2017 Commitment to the Community award. Managing Director Dave White said: "Commitment to the Community isn't something we do for reward or PR. We do it to demonstrate our values to our staff and support the people in the borough. It is a fantastic thing and I urge all businesses to do it."
Bexley's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth, Cllr Linda Bailey, congratulated all of the finalists on their success.
"Each year the standard of entrants in these awards gets stronger and competition gets tougher which is testament to the vibrant business community that we have in Bexley. I'm delighted to see so many diverse businesses recognised for their dedication and team work."
Guests at the sold out awards ceremony enjoyed a three course dinner with wine and were entertained by talented singers and musicians from Bird College of Dance, Music and Theatre in Sidcup.
Cllr Teresa O'Neill OBE, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, said: "I was really impressed with all of the finalists. They have shown huge ambition and innovation, and prove that Bexley is a great place to do business."
The London Borough of Bexley, Bexley for Business and organisers White Label would like to thank all of the sponsors who made the evening possible, including headline sponsors Ocado, the Bexley Skills Charter, Bexleyheath BID, the Bexleyheath Marriott Hotel, Bexley Times, Jennings & Barrett, MiddletonMurray, Mobile Bar Hire, Peabody, Sidcup Partners Ltd, Thames Innovation Centre and Your Move Petty Freeman.
Headline sponsor Ocado are constructing one of Europe's largest distribution centres at Erith, which will employ over 3,000 people.
The firm's Jon Satinet, said: "It is great to have been involved and learned so much about the businesses and entrepreneurs in the borough. I have found the positivity and creativity to be infectious.
"They have provided the people of Bexley with careers, services and entertainment. We are pleased to be a part of that and part of Bexley. It's a great strategic position and enables us to serve our customers across the south east."
The full list of winners and commendations is:
Business of the Year 2017
Winner: Handy AV
Business Commitment to the Community
Winner - ITRM Ltd
Highly Commended - Bexleyheath BID
Commended - McDonalds Restaurant Sidcup
Best Business for Outstanding Customer Service
Winner - Maid on a Mission
Highly Commended - Serene Indulgence
Commended - babyballet DBB Ltd and Holiday Inn London Bexley
Best Young Entrepreneur
Winner - Kayleigh Kanat, Serene Indulgence
Highly Commended - Jennifer Lam & Jennifer Hoang, Stitch & Story
Commended - Billy Collins, Taking the Pixels
Best Start Up Business
Winner - Hello Burger
Highly Commended - Sirman & Lee Ltd
Commended - Taking the Pixels
Best Business for Food, Leisure & Hospitality
Winner - Crayford Greyhound Track
Highly Commended - Hello Burger
Commended - Ferrari's
Independent Retailer of the Year
Winner - Serene Indulgence
Highly Commended - Flutterbyes
Commended - Mrs Bouquet
Best Small Business
Winner - babyballet DBB Ltd
Highly Commended - Hello Burger
Commended - Barge Group Ltd
Apprentice Employer of the Year
Winner - Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery
Highly Commended - Plum Innovations Ltd
Commended - London Hire Ltd
Best Charity or Social Enterprise
Winner - Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice
Highly Commended - Bridge Mental Health
Commended - Re-Instate
Best Business for Employee Training & Development
Winner - Playle & Partners LLP
Highly Commended - Edward Bond Wealth Management
Commended - New Horizons Systems Ltd
Made in Bexley
Winner - Mobile Bar Hire
Highly Commended - Texcel Technology Ltd
Commended - Daisy Designs
Best Technology Company
Winner - Handy AV
Highly Commended - ITRM Ltd
Best Business for Marketing & Social Media
Winner - McBrides Chartered Accountants
Highly Commended - Broadway Jewellers
Commended - Stitch & Story