The London borough of Southwark's first awards to recognise and reward the area's 18,000 businesses are open for entries after a sparkling launch at The Shard.
Over 140 guests - including the sponsors pictured above - gathered at the Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, for the opening event (Thursday, 7th February) of the inaugural Southwark Business Excellence Awards in association with Lewisham Southwark College.
Business and political leaders speaking at the event, in the spectacular 34th floor Ren Room, urged the borough's thriving business community - which stretches east from Southbank to London Bridge and Surrey Docks, and south to Bermondsey, Peckham, Camberwell and Dulwich - to enter the new awards.
Stuart Berkoff, Chief Financial Officer of launch sponsor, Sellar, said they were a measure of how far Southwark has come since the company bought the site of The Shard next to London Bridge Station.
"Once overlooked and ignored, Southwark has become one of the capital's great places to live, work and play," he commented.
"Over the past 20 years, along with our partners, the State of Qatar, we have invested almost £2billion in the borough. But more importantly we have brought a range of national and international businesses to Southwark, as well as millions of people who would never have ventured over the southside of the river."
With 16 free-to-enter categories, including Southwark Business of the Year (full list below), the awards have been designed to suit all types and sizes of business, from start-ups and SME's to large corporates and social enterprises.
Backed by Headline Partner, Lewisham Southwark College, and Partners, Southwark Chamber of Commerce, Southwark Council, and White Label Creative, the awards are sponsored by some of borough's leading businesses, including British Land, and Grosvenor. The programme is supported by Shangri-La Hotel, Jensen's Gin and Media Partner, Southwark News.
The closing date for award entries is Friday, 29th March. The highlight of the six-month awards programme will be the glittering, black-tie Gala Dinner and Charity Ball awards ceremony for 400 people on 21st June, hosted by a celebrity compere.
Speakers on the launch night, including Southwark Chamber Chairman Richard Kalmar, the Mayor of Southwark, Councillor Charlie Smith and Southwark Councillor and Cabinet Member for Business Culture and Social Regeneration Johnson Situ, all commended the range and commitment of local businesses, who are vital to the economy of the borough.
They thanked all the sponsors who are making the even possible and stressed that the awards are open to all types and sizes of enterprise, from Start-Ups and SME's to Charities and Entrepreneurs
Cllr Situ said 87% of the businesses in the borough, which stretches from Southbank to London Bridge and Surrey Docks in the east, and to Bermondsey, Peckham, Camberwell and Dulwich in the south, are small with less than nine employees.
Barry Langfield, Vice-Principal of Headline Sponsor, Lewisham Southwark College,
Said the college worked with businesses right across the borough and applauded the aims of the awards to recognise their achievements.
"I am looking forward to the awards evening when we can celebrate together the truly excellent businesses we have in our community. We are very proud to be involved with the awards which recognise excellence within the community."
To enter the awards visit www.southawards.co.uk
The Southwark Business Excellence Awards 2018 – Categories:
1. Business of the Year
2. Entrepreneur of the Year
3. The SME Excellence Award
4. Best Business for Customer Service
5. Independent Retailer of the Year
6. Business Commitment to Education and Skills
7. Best Employer
8. Best New Start-Up
9. Best Business for Hospitality and Food Excellence
10. The Award for Excellence in Leisure and Tourism
11. The Southwark Cultural Commitment Award
12. Best Charity or Social Enterprise
13. Best Business for Tech and Innovation
14. Award for Diversity and Inclusion
15. Commitment to the Community
16. Best Woman in Business
Interested in sponsoring or supporting the awards? Please contact: Joanne Horton at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0208 726 7968