The 2018 Bexley Business Excellence Awards in association with Ocado are inviting local businesses to grasp the opportunity to promote their successes and achievements.
The borough's thriving business community turned out in force for the launch of the sixth annual awards at Bexley Civic Centre (Thursday, 25th January).
Over 100 business people heard how this year's awards are building on the success of the 2017 programme, with past winners and sponsors - including Ocado who are building the world's biggest online distribution centre in the borough - calling for more local businesses to get involved.
Designed to celebrate the very best of the borough's enterprising businesses, the free-to-enter awards feature 14 entry categories, including a new award for excellence in Culture, Sport & Leisure.
The winners, including the overall Bexley Business of the Year, will be exclusively announced at a glittering, black-tie Gala Awards Dinner hosted by a celebrity presenter in June.
Welcoming this year's programme, Cllr Linda Bailey, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth with founding sponsor, London Borough of Bexley, told guests at the launch: "We are delighted to see how the awards have grown over the past six years. We have been developing them year on year and the programme has really come on very well. I really hope our local businesses take up this amazing opportunity to promote their achievements."
Claire Salmon (pictured above), General Manager, of headline sponsor Ocado, which is building the world's biggest online grocery distribution centre in the borough at Erith, said: "We are really proud to sponsor the event for the third year running. We are about to become quite big in this area and are very committed to building partnerships in the community.
Aubrey Wright, Managing Director of last year's Bexley Business of the Year, added: "Has winning been beneficial? Yes, absolutely - it's created a lot of confidence within the company. It's also a great way to develop your business profile and an opportunity to present it to the public at large. Not only that, the awards ceremony is great fun - I can only sing its praises – so get on board, and get signed up to enter."
Now in their sixth year, the Bexley Business Excellence Awards have showcased the successes and achievements of businesses from start-ups and SME's to international corporations.
The awards, which are sponsored by London Borough of Bexley, Bellway Homes, Bexley for Business, the Bexley Skills Charter, Bexleyheath BID, Crayford Stadium, Sicup BID, Waterman Group, are also supported by Northgate Public Services, Mobile Bar Hire and Media Partner Bexley Times.
Event organisers White Label Creative, are delighted to welcome online supermarket Ocado as headline sponsor for the third consecutive year.
Servicing about 220,000 customers a week, the new Ocado centre will employ 3,000 mainly local people.Ocado's Claire Salmon said the online supermarket was committed to integrating closely with the local community on many levels.
She said: "We are really proud to sponsor the event for the third year running. We are about to become quite big in this area and are very committed to building partnerships in the community.
"We have an Ocado Foundation which is supporting local charities, and we have apprenticeship schemes to work with local colleges.
"We will be looking as far as possible to create a sense of local supply with local businesses, whether that's window cleaning, or grass cutting. So technically we are a big company, but we have a very local approach."
Explaining the size of the Ocado operation and the opportunity to employ locally, Claire added: "To give you a size of scale, Amazon deliver about 1.2miilion items per week – we'll be delivering that in a day. "We are in the process of fitting out the building, which will featuring lots of robots and lots of technology. But we should be open by May and will be recruiting locally as much as possible."
The London Borough of Bexley have ambitious plans to develop the borough's businesses with their new Growth Plan, which includes a strategy for building a new Place and Making Institute at Thamesmead. Cllr Bailey told awards launch delegates this new initiative will bring together learning providers across a single campus, to deliver a wide range of building industry skills.
*Bexley Business Excellence Awards 2018 in association with Ocado
Entering the awards is free and easy to do online. Businesses can enter up to three of the 14 different awards categories. The only exception applies to companies who won a category in 2017, who cannot enter the same category this year.
The categories are:
1. The SME Excellence Award (Turnover of less than £15 million)
2. Business Commitment to Education and Skills
3. Best Employer of the Year
4. Best Marketing Campaign
5. Customer Service Award
6. Best Charity or Social Enterprise
7. Best New Start Up (trading less than 18 months)
8. Tech Innovation of the Year
9. Entrepreneur of the Year
10. Commitment to the Community
11. Independent Retailer of the Year
12. Made in Bexley (or Assembled)
13. Best Business for Hospitality and Food Excellence
14. Best Business for Excellence in Culture, Sport & Leisure
For more details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0208 726 7968. There are still many opportunities to sponsor the Awards, either the categories or the Gala Awards Dinner. For more information on sponsorship please contact Vivien Newbould at email@example.com or call 0208 726 7968