Smart Business Awards 2012 announced

Businesses were invited to enter the awards to be recognised for their achievements in one of six different categories, including the overall HP Smart Business of the Year 2012.

Baroness Wilcox, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills, who attended the awards ceremony, commented, “These awards reward small, innovative companies that are key drivers of the economy. I welcome this opportunity to show the Government and large companies, like HP, can work together to create the conditions for growth”.

The winning businesses:

Smart Business Award for Social Media
Shoo Rayner Illustrations – a children’s author, illustrator and now YouTube sensation. Having worked in the publishing space for twenty years, Shoo saw the need to innovate before the ebook revolution kicked in. In addition to his books, Shoo has now built up two YouTube channels teaching children drawing skills. With almost 8 million views and over 35,000 subscribers, the channels now achieve over 600,000 views a month.

Smart Business Award for Next Generation
Through the Door Communications – an innovative PR, Marketing and Sales company led by a small, dynamic and young team in East London. The company was formed by Georgina Knight, aged only 19 years old, who has quickly established a client base in the luxury space, delivering campaigns for fashion, beauty and food brands.

Smart Business Award for Use of Mobile
Givey – launching in August 2012, Givey 2.0 is a social donation platform gearing up to change the way the world thinks about giving, making it a fun, vibrant and rewarding experience. With a Givey identity, users can Tweet, SMS, Facebook or use the mobile web to make donations of money or track the time they give, ‘stuff’ they do and voice they help contribute to over 6,000 charities in the UK. Designed around encouraging small, regular actions, Givey helps people realise their social good over time, helping causes make big differences.

Smart Business Award for Community Support
Bikeworks – a social enterprise using bicycles and cycling as a tool to tackle social and environmental challenges at a community level. At its heart is a mission to provide training and employment opportunities to socially disadvantaged people. Bikeworks’ Cycle into Work Programme, aimed at homeless people who experience multiple disadvantage, has engaged 200 homeless people on short courses – of those that trained at Bikeworks, 50% have successfully secured employment.

Smart Business Award for Manufacturing Innovation
Versarien – a company focused on commercialising one of the most exciting materials discoveries of 2012 – creating man made sponge type structures out of metal alloys. The process creates a very high surface area structure, and it is this structure that makes the material so good at transferring heat. The Versarien process was invented in the UK at the University of Liverpool and then commercialised by the team with help from the Technology Strategy Board.

Smart Business Award for Green
Élan Hair Studios – the Aberdeenshire-based hair salon has turned itself into the UK’s most eco-friendly hair salon. The family-run business has taken an innovative approach to being green, even sending customers’ hair to a local firm to be used as compost. Since adopting the new approach to business, Élan’s profitablity is expected to have risen by 22% this year with a 25% increase in clientbase.

HP Smart Business of the Year 2012
Hello Fresh – aiming to be the ‘David to the supermarket’s Goliath’, Hello Fresh is an online grocery delivery service. Each week, the service delivers customers the exact ingredients for 3 or 5 meals, with step-by-step recipe guides to cook them. Launched only five months ago, the business has quickly established itself, attracting national media attention and growing a strong following online through its innovative product offering that taps into a lucrative market.

In addition to the winning businesses, the judging panel felt that four companies deserved recognition for their successes:

Generation – Greta Star Ltd
Owned by a 17 year old named Greta, the company is diverse including a care business, floristry, photography business and accessories business.

Community Support – Coaching Training Consultancy
The company’s directors, Alastair and Kay, facilitate a training scheme across every secondary school in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire to help develop employability skills, increase self-confience and provide practical knowledge on how to market themselves.

Manufacturing Innovation – Drillbitkit
Drillbitkit introduced colour coded drillbits to match the size of the wall plug, a simple but very smart innovation.

Manufacturing Innovation – Paperboy Interiors
Founded by Victoria Cramsie, the company creates a collection of sophisticated children’s fabric and wallpaper that’s hand-designed and printed in the UK using traditional methods.

“As a member of the judging panel for these awards, it was inspiring to see the achievements from some of Britain’s smartest SME’s. At HP we’re keen to promote this fantastic work as an example of what’s possible during challenging times. Each winner has excelled in a different area to ensure their business continues to grow and contribute to UK PLC” said Susan Bowen, HP UK&I Director of Strategy.

Businesses that won the category awards received an individual award trophy and logo and an HP product bundle (laptop, printer and relevant software).

The winner of the HP Smart Business of the Year 2012 award will receive business mentoring from HP advisors and a branding consultant where the winner will receive expert advice on how to develop and grow their business further.

The overall winner was also rewarded with a place on a Santander Breakthrough Trade Mission – activity which will help the winning business to develop a strategy for international trade.