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‘Best in the West’ celebrated at regional small business awards

The final of the South West FSB ‘Celebrating Small Business Awards 2018’ took place in Taunton and  saw 11 winners representing the ‘best in the West’ crowned as regional champions.

The South West finals of the national FSB contest were held at Somerset County Cricket Ground and were designed to find the best businesses from Gloucestershire to Cornwall with the awards being won by a wide variety of businesses from a Devon-based vegan café run by ‘the world’s most reluctant vegan’  to a highly-respected Bath ecological and environmental business.

Other winners included a Bristol company who make unique portable baby rockers, an innovative Cornwall architects, a Dorset firm who provide hot meals in schools and a Plymouth business that inspires youngsters through hip hop. 

Winner and nominees recognised on the day came from the whole of the South West with firms from Devon, Cornwall, Bristol, Bath, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Dorset shortlisted. The most successful areas were Bristol, which produced four of the winners, and Devon which produced three.

A typical winner’s reaction came from Ben England, from Taunton-based Eternal Beauty who provide semi-permanent make up equipment and supplies. He said his firm were ‘stunned and totally shocked’ to have won the most competitive category of all – the best micro business.  

“I didn’t think we would win and so to see our name up on the screen was amazing. We have been putting off entering competitions for a number of years but we thought we would just go for it this time and I would say to other small businesses why not do the same?  We are so excited to have won and we are now looking forward for the national finals,” he said. 

Also delighted were the Plymouth-based Street Factory cic who hope the FSB Community Award to recognise their work to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs through hip hop will encourage young people to follow their own dreams.

“I just can’t believe we have won and I know the young people we help will be jumping up and down -  it is great for us and great for hip hop to get this recognition,” said Joanna Gorniak, who runs the company with husband Toby. “We keep telling young people that they should follow their dreams and do what they are passionate about. They can see that we have done it and now they can do it too,”.  

And there was also praise for the work the FSB does from one of the winners - the Bristol-based Young Entrepreneur of the Year, marketing man Thomas Coppen....

“I think the FSB do great things for small businesses and we have used their services a lot ever since we joined. For me to have been considered worthy of this award is a proud moment and I could not be more grateful.”         

All of the winners (apart from the local-only Community Award winners)  will now go through to the UK national FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2019 final in London in May. 

Roger Tarrant, who is the FSB Regional Chairman for the South West, said the event highlighted the strength, creativity and wide-ranging nature of the local SME sector.

“It really was a fabulous day and it was amazing to hear all about the fantastic nominees. The businesses in the South West are just so diverse - they really do cover the whole spectrum. I hope we can now go on to see some South West winners at the national finals in London.”

The full list for the South West area FSB Celebrating Small Business Award winners from 2019 is:

Business & Product Innovation Award
Ecosulis Ltd (Bath)

Family Business of the Year
Exmoor Zoo (Devon)

International Business of the Year
Rockit (N2M Limited) (Bristol)

Ethical Green Business
ARCO2 Architecture Ltd (Bodmin, Cornwall)

Start-up Business of the Year
Mooplehog (Oakhampton, Devon)

Digital Innovation Award
Dr Julian Medical Group (Bristol/Swindon/South West)

Micro Business of the Year
Eternal Beauty UK Ltd (Taunton, Somerset)

Employer of the Year
Simpleweb Studio One (Bristol)

Scale Up Business of the Year
Local Food Links (Bridport, Dorset)

Community Award of the Year
Street factory cic (Plymouth, Devon)

Young Entrepreneur of the Year (under 30 years of age)
Thomas Coppen of Keel Over Ltd (Bristol)

The South West final is one of 12 regional finals place across the UK taking place until March. For more details see