Commenting on the Best of the Best Business Award to Empra (Education, Marketing & PR Agency), Andrew Areoff, Chairman of the Judges, said: "Empra is a dynamic and innovative PR and communications agency that has built a highly enviable reputation in the education sector, by exemplary customer service and by breaking new ground in developing new services to help schools, colleges and universities connect with the their students, the education community and the public. The fact that Empra was selected as the only UK finalist in a major international awards speaks volumes about the excellent work they are doing. Top marks to Empra for outstanding achievement in growing their business in a tough economic climate, particularly in the public sector."
Commenting on the Best of the Best Business Award to Technica Solutions, Andrew Areoff, Chairman of the Judges, said: "Technica Solutions have excelled in meeting and exceeding their customer needs, resulting in exceptional growth including a doubling in their turnover. It is highly impressive to hear of a company that is more than paying lip service to customer service, but which believes in going the extra mile on a daily basis. Congratulations to Technica Solutions for recognising that the way to stay ahead is by listening to customers, investing in technology and offering excellent value."
Commenting on the Best of the Best Business Award to Vision Independent Financial Planning Ltd, Andrew Areoff, Chairman of the Judges, said: "Vision Independent Financial Planning has enjoyed truly spectacular growth since the financial advice firm was launched five years ago. What's more, Vision has been able to do this without borrowing and purely on its own highly effective business plan - a fantastic example to set for the company's own clients. With satisfaction rates that would be the envy of any company, Vision Independent Financial Planning are worthy winners of the Best of the Best with a very exciting future ahead of them."
Commenting on the Best of the Best Business Award to Lamont Pridmore chartered accountants, Andrew Areoff, Chairman of the Judges, said: "Lamont Pridmore were recently described as 'world-class' as they became the first accountancy firm in Cumbria to achieve Investor in People status. It is an assessment we fully agree with - and not just for being an excellent employer. The company has been commercial super successful with a 100% increase in fee revenue, and has client retention and efficiency rates that are truly exceptional. The family-run firm, which dates back 120 years, is also fully up to date with the latest technology, again further improving efficiency and giving greater flexibility to staff. Congratulations to Lamont Pridmore for setting an outstanding example for others to follow."
Commenting on the Best of the Best Business Award to Setfords Solicitors, Andrew Areoff, Chairman of the Judges, said: "Setfords Solicitors are revolutionising the legal market in the UK by introducing an exciting new business model that is improving service to customers. The law firm has seen huge growth in four years, expanding to 125 lawyers in 50 locations. The difference is that most are self-employed operating under the Setfords name with access to a highly efficient and streamlined head office providing full support in every area from marketing to IT. The model represents a major step change in the traditional legal market and means solicitors are more flexible about where they meet clients and the service they offer. Many congratulations to Setfords for transforming a traditional profession and making it more customer-focused."
Commenting on the Best of the Best Business Award to The Theatre Workshop, Andrew Areoff, Chairman of the Judges, said: "Now in its tenth year, The Theatre Workshop has shown itself to be ahead of the competition in providing performing arts training to young people. With many of the students going on to secure roles in the West End, TV and films, the training provided by The Theatre Workshop is clearly second to none - with fantastic opportunities for the young people to perform abroad and at events such as The Edinburgh Festival. Many congratulations to The Theatre Workshop and owner Lora Munro for having the vision, business and creative skills, and sheer determination to succeed in a fiercely competitive market."
Commenting on the award to Simulation Systems Limited, Andrew Areoff, Chairman of the Judges, said: "Simulation Systems Ltd are an outstanding example of a company that has not rested on its laurels but is always looking to push the boundaries of technology to improve its range of products and services for customers.
"The company specialises in highway control systems aimed at improving traffic flow and management. One of their innovative systems helped keep London moving during the Olympics - and SSL deserve a gold medal themselves for harnessing the very latest digital technology to better serve their customers and millions of motorists every day."
Rainbow Tours’ philosophy of responsible travel and protecting places of natural beauty from tourism is not only good for the environment, it’s good for business. The company has beat its competitors hands down by achieved staggering customer satisfaction rates of up to 99.5% from clients taking part in surveys run by the Guardian/Observer Travel Awards. It is also keen on putting something back into the community and it has helped a school in Madagascar buy desks for pupils and teachers. This is a business that has realised that reputation is everything and it is having the desired effect.
CN Creative is an innovative, exciting company that is doing a brilliant job at stamping out smoking. It invented the Intellicig electronic cigarette, which works on a EU-compliant liquid nicotine preparation called ECOpure. The e-cigarette is now sold through 5,000 outlets in the UK and in 26 countries all over the world - a fantastic result for a company that is only three years’ old. CN Creative is now hoping to have ECOpure classified as medicine so it can be used in other devices. In a short time, its success has been quite phenomenal; bad news of cigarette manufacturers but great news for those who really want to give up smoking.
With a staff of only three people and another part timer, The Transaction Advisory Service Learning & Development (L&D) Team at Ernst & Young LLP has transformed training for 1,400 staff across 15 locations in only a couple of years. Through the Ernst & Young and You (EYU) programme, all individuals have a competency framework, which is used to identify gaps in skills and competencies. By keeping their skills up to date, EYU enables staff to develop their career and it helps the company meet the needs of clients. What is impressive is the way this top-class programme has produced glowing feedback from staff surveys.
Although it only moved into the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) market in 2004, Türk Ekonomi Bankasi (TEB) has quickly become a market leader in Turkey because it did its homework. It found out that SMEs lacked business knowledge in a number of areas including market information, IT and business planning. To support them, in addition to banking services, it introduced a wide range of educational services including the SME Academy, SME Consultants, SME Support Line and SME TV. Attracted by the support services, by 2011 TEB had won 700,000 SME clients from 20,000 in 2005 and 44% of the SME loan market from 25% in 2006.
By introducing new courses in cleaning from the British Institute in Cleaning Science, The Vocational Science Directorate at Birmingham Metropolitan College, has changed the perception of cleaning into a respected science and helped relieve the skills shortage problem. Cleaning is one of the fastest growing industries in the country in need of more qualified staff. Often workers in the cleaning sector have fewer qualifications than other employees and the cleaning science courses has given them a great opportunity to polish up their skills. Around 30% of those attending a cleaning science course go on to take more advanced training, which is a brilliant result.
Only three years old, Insight with Passion, a business transformation company, has got the cash tills ringing again for many businesses including furniture retailer Frank Hudson and the Co-operative Group. The company also gives back 20% of its time and resources to support local charities; community projects; social enterprises and start up entrepreneurs. This is a great way to provide business advisory services to the local community and get the boarding down from local shopping malls. By producing such great results for its clients, growth at Insight with Passion is exceptional. Launched by two individuals, it now has a staff of 10 and provides work for 20 freelancers.
While the re-cycling of left-over paint and the restoring of furniture sounds easy, the trick Waltham Forest Council pulled off with its Furnishing the Future initiative was working across agencies, partners and the third sector – never an easy task. By rethinking the process-chain, the council got contractors to clear out empty homes and recycle useful items rather than send them to a landfill pit. The overall result is it has got more for less. Furnishing the Future has helped improve the quality of life for those in economic need and it is a brilliant scheme that should be used in other places all over the country.
As a supplier of natural slate for roofing, this is a company that has to be admired for the way it has pulled itself around to beat the downturn in the construction industry. As its order book took a battering, it developed a wide range of strategies to reverse the trend. It appointed a new MD to import new products and find new markets particularly in Scotland; and it focused on getting to know its customers and developed a new customer relationship management system. It also invested in training for its people and most important of all, it developed a new marketing strategy. JRC has the right approach and a bright future.
Charitable housing association Amicus Horizon really does have something to shout about from the rooftops. Since it launched its ‘giving customers a great experience’ strategy, its response centre has a set of shiny new figures to boast about. Customer satisfaction leapt to 97% in February 2012, up by almost 10% from April 2011 and the number of calls dealt with first time round rose to 93% in February from 85.8% in April 2011. By January 2012 complaints had tumbled to 49 from 691 in April 2010 – now that is something to shout about. And it has all come about through empowering staff, training and having a happy atmosphere to work in.
At Reach, a Birmingham-based charity for people with learning difficulties, customers really do come first. It is only two years’ old and despite funding being in short supply, it has forged ahead and is really making a difference and improving the lives of its customers. By putting them in control and helping them set goals for themselves, it has given many vulnerable people a new outlook. Some who were self-harming are now living independently; while others are running their own businesses; learning new skills and getting qualifications. It just shows you that by giving people confidence in themselves; it’s amazing what they can achieve.
With more than 20 years of experience behind it, when hit by the worst recession to affect the commercial property market in living memory, Paragon Interiors Group, a commercial interior design company, proved itself indestructible and a great survivor. The secret of its survival is its modus operandi - it puts the practicalities of the build before the design. It is also carefully and prudently run; and has built up an excellent reputation. Consequently, most of its business is repeat business or comes from a referral. While others were failing, it managed to increase turnover by 55%. It goes to show that a good reputation goes a long, long way.
The Creation Station, a franchised children’s arts and crafts business, is designed to inspire children’s imagination but it’s an inspiration in itself from a business point of view. Set up by a mum of three children to give herself a job that was flexible and would fit around her family life, in under five years Sarah Cressall has turned it into a grown up business with national coverage and 48 franchise owners - more than double from a year ago. Franchises are a great way to help others share in the success of a branded business and to ensure it continues to thrive, Sarah puts a huge amount of effort and resources into supporting and building relationships with franchise owners.
Operating in the murky world of fraud, multi-million Ponzi schemes, money laundering and counterfeiting, Kessler International conducts covert investigations into irregularities in businesses, government departments and institutions all over the world. Through its excellent investigative methodologies, which cannot be revealed, it has exposed some large-scale frauds in government departments and a massive $400 million Ponzi scheme in the US. The problem is Kessler can’t always talk about its successes but it can boast about its excellent evidence gathering capabilities that back up the prosecution in court proceedings. Its speciality is digital forensics of all types of technologies such as hard drives, mobile phones and other digital devices. Criminals had better watch out!
When it comes to taking advantage of marketing via emerging technologies, Solihull College of Further Education in the West Midlands wins top marks. After undergoing a £31 million redevelopment with state-of-the-art teaching facilities and degree-level courses, it opted to use digital technology to tell the world about its new amenities. The approach was highly innovative and effective. Rather than using the usual leaflet/prospectus/advert type of promotion, the communications campaign focused on an online presence. It was also the first college to use an interactive DigiMag. The digital communications campaign was not only cost effective, it was highly effective. In 2011, it brought in record cash income and exceeded its target for new students.
You might wonder what Deloitte, a tax firm, and the Royal Opera House (ROH) have in common. Well, the answer is a desire to communicate with a younger professional audience. They certainly both raised the bar and no doubt a few eyebrows with their three-day Deloitte Ignite Just Tell the Truth arts festival, hosted by ROH in Covent Garden, which included the world’s first opera on Twitter. No matter how odd the couple might seem, it turned out to be a beautiful arrangement that worked for both parties. It put Deloitte on the map as a major arts sponsor and helped ROH increase ticket sales.
Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work (CPEW), an award-winning office development, wants its guests (tenants) to enjoy the work experience. To keep guests happy and encourage work-life balance, Enjoy-Work offers a huge range of activities including sports, entertainment and opportunities for personal & professional development. All CPEW team members are chosen because they have an aptitude for customer service. Service standards are high and consequently the occupancy rate is 97% and the customer churn rate of 5% is low. It isn’t just guests who are impressed. Service partner JPC Cleaning Services Ltd believes that CPEW is such an outstanding pioneer in its field that it actually submitted the entry on its behalf. That’s about the best compliment a business can get.
Committed to staff development and great service, chartered accountant Lamont Pridmore is another great survivor. It has moved with the times and taken advantage of cloud technology and is now offering an outsourced finance director (FD) service. Through cloud, the staff of 60 accountants access client files and their own desktop online; and provide virtual services to clients, such as, monthly management information and accounts; profit improvement advisory services and monthly meetings by phone or face-to-face. It’s a flexible service that cuts out the need to travel and offers clients the advantage that they only pay for the services they use. Not even a year old, the FD service already has 56 customers and Lamont Pridmore expects this to grow to 100 fairly soon.
With the high street hit by the economic downturn, it’s good to see a champion for local businesses. Often local firms do not have the resources to set up their own website but by joining their local version of thebestof, a franchised online directory of local businesses, they can get an online profile and increase their chance of winning new customers. According to thebestof some firms totally rely on it for all their custom. By franchising thebestof and creating local directories, such as www.thebestofrichmond.co.uk, it is also generating another business opportunity in local areas. It really is the best of the bunch.
Model of Insight Project, undertaken by NHS North Staffordshire, is an innovative customer service approach that was extremely well executed and a step in the right direction for improving quality. By collating all patient feedback from the Patient Advice and Liaison service, complaints, consultations, focus groups and workshops into one real-time database, a primary care trust can immediately identify any problems areas. With the focus now on involving patients in making decision about future healthcare services, it also gets their opinion noted and enables them to influence commissioning decisions. Already data extracted from the database has led to direct service improvements for patients.
Alex Cox has identified a niche and exploited it well. His unrelenting focus on true customer service and that willingness to go the extra mile has created a culture within the business that is well suited to looking after the insurance needs of its high net worth client base. As a 2010 winner of the Private Clients Intermediary of the Year award at the Insurance Age Awards, Coversure Fleet is clearly a well run business that does what it says on the tin and does it very well. We expect to see the broker go from strength to strength in 2011 and beyond.
Redseven have spotted a niche market and exploited it very well. They have developed a hassle free solution for hen and stag party goers and delivered it with a healthy sprinkling of customer service, great use of technology and value for money. Their on-going staff training programme ensures that the team continuously develops and thrives which has played a significant part in the business achieving impressive financials. Redseven has ambitious expansion plans that have already seen it move in to other areas of the travel market such as business travel and holidays. Under the continued leadership of Ian Lucas this niche player is one to watch in the travel market.
It’s amazing how far one can get by listening to customers. Comtact are flying high as the Fastest Growing Managed Service Provider in the UK in the 2010 Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100. They focus on tailoring their IT solutions to their customers’ needs starting with, as they put it ‘an empty toolkit’. This focus on the customer is enhanced with a healthy sprinkling of innovation and a desire to hire the best people to deliver their refreshing vision under the watchful eye of founder and ‘secret millionaire’ Dominic List.
The property maintenance sector is not synonymous with great customer service, if anything it suffers an image problem. Aspect are changing all that. They are the Eddie Stobart of the property maintenance sector and get the job done on time and on budget.
Aspect are a breath of fresh air with impressive financials to show for it. Well done to founders William Davies and Nick Bizley for setting the sector standards and steering the business from strength to strength.
With a turnover in excess of £50 million, a growth of 80% over the last two years and an increase in operating profit of almost 300% over the same period, XLN telecom is delivering outstanding performance. Not to mention an increase in market share of 50% over the last two years. This is Christian Nellemann's fourth successful venture having been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 and in 2010 he was recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year in the London regional finals. Christian demonstrates an ability not only to identify substantial new business opportunities, but also to follow through and deliver relentlessly on the initial vision..
When it comes to staff welfare Luminus Group should be extremely proud of their achievements. They really do believe that their staff are their greatest asset and as a result of this commitment reap the benefits in terms of delivering outstanding customer service. With 20 award wins since 2008 of which seven have been won in 2010 so far, the organisation is clearly leading the way in terms of business excellence, which is particularly highlighted by their second place in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For. A well deserved addition to the Crème de la Crème Hall of Fame.
Brunel University has done more than most to forge relationships between academia and UK industry. The University’s collaborations typify their commitment to business excellence thanks to significant financial investments in business-facing activities and infrastructures, and their vision has been rewarded with groundbreaking industrial initiatives and world-leading R & D projects. Brunel are a shining example of how public/private sector partnerships can add value for all concerned.
Sir Richard's position as one of the UKs, and indeed the world's, most successful and highest profile entrepreneurs needs no introduction. His business acumen coupled with a natural ability to promote himself and his organisation are second to non. An inspirational figure, Sir Richard has a rare ability to touch hearts and minds which spans any generation while effortlessly remaining approachable and down to earth. There is perhaps no one more deserving of Crème de la Crème status.
Renishaw have been at the cutting edge of innovation since its inception in 1973. A world leader in metrology and spectroscopy, with research, development, manufacturing, sales and service operations in more than 30 countries. The company boasts no less than 13 Queen's Awards to date. Renishaw's first product, the touch-trigger probe was invented by Sir David McMurtry, Chairman and Chief Executive, to solve a specific inspection requirement for the Olympus engines used on Concorde. This innovative product went on to revolutionise post-process inspection of machined components.
With the public sector facing harsh cutbacks they need to work smarter and deliver more for less. To help achieve this the best possible procurement process needs to be in place and Peterborough City Council have gone to great lengths to ensure that this is the case. With savings of over £6 million being delivered directly through the implementation of procurement best practices the Council is putting procurement at the centre to drive commercial decisions. An example for many to follow.
GSD have demonstrated that they deliver quality design solutions with flair. Their passion for the projects they undertake shines through as does their high level of creativity typified by the creation of the interloopmailer which has been used by many of the world's leading brands to help them stand out from the crowd. With a strong and diverse client base GSD is well positioned to continue its innovative marketing and communication work and to continue to delight those exposed to it.
Rebecca is a great example of an entrepreneur who is devoted to her business and the pursuit of excellence for the benefit of her customers. Named in the top 20 most desirable salons by UK by Professional Beauty Magazine, her business Epitome Health and Beauty, is set to go from strength to strength. Rebecca has built a brand to be proud of highlighted by the hat full of personal and business accolades she and the business have enjoyed so far. A worthy ambassador for her sector with a genuine commitment to staff training and development as well as an accomplished marketer.
Under the leadership of Jamie Waller, JBW have gone from strength to strength and are probably the most recognisable Debt Management and Enforcement Agency in the UK. As a Sunday Times Top 100 Company to Work For 2010 JBW is certainly a well run business and a great place to work. A consistent growth in turnover coupled with an ambitious acquisition programme over the next two years suggests that the business is well positioned to thrive.
Phoebus deliver a quality product underpinned by the knowledge and experience of the team behind it. They have adapted to a challenging marketing place by introducing a radical new rental-based pricing structure which allows companies to access their high-end loan servicing technology at a fraction of the cost that is achievable by purchasing a software licence - the standard commercial model. Phoebus achieved a 150% year-on-year increase in profits in 2009 and are set to achieve even greater things as the mortgage market recovers.
Super low latency and high frequency trading are the driving forces in foreign exchange trading. Gold-i is at the forefront of this technology. Their products deliver lower error-rates and lower latency at high speed. It is unusual for a company that has been trading for just 18 months to win a Crème Award, however, if the technology can stand the test of time and grow and develop in line with customer demands Gold-i could be a star in the making. Congratulations to CEO Tom Higgins on the company’s achievements to date.
The beauty industry has had a tough time during the recession but Stanford Spa Lagoon has bucked the trend showing growth in both turnover and net profit over the last five years. It has invested in the latest treatments such as permanent makeup while at the same time focusing on marketing its core products to existing and new customers. As we move towards more buoyant economic times the business is well positioned to further expand and maintain the upward growth curve.
Most organisations play lip service to great customer focus but few actually deliver above and beyond the bare minimum. Investment Quorum are a rare breed that truly puts their clients at the heart of the business. Trust is of course key to success in any sector, but especially in the wealth management arena and under the direction of CEO Lee Robertson, recently named as one of the UK’s top 50 wealth managers by Spears Wealth Magazine, the business has fully embraced the need to create a culture of business excellence that makes their clients feel safe and highly valued.
It takes grit and determination to not only survive but thrive in these tough recessionary times and Cirkle have done just that under the stewardship of Fast Growth Business Awards Female Entrepreneur of the Year Caroline Kinsey. The team have delivered financials that speak for themselves by taking large corporate best practise and sprinkling it with a generous helping of innovation and client focus found traditionally in dynamic smaller businesses. A well run PR firm and one to watch as the economy improves and marketing purses loosen.
“Inspired” coupled with “a significant culture of continuous learning” was now the Investors in People inspectors described the leadership of Western College when awarding them a Gold accreditation. We would like to add focus and dedication to the mix. With Dr Paul Phillips at the helm, the College has gone from strength to strength and is a shining example of what can be achieved by building and empowering a team of professionals and embracing the community. As with all those in the Crème Hall of Fame, the numbers speak for themselves and the organisation looks set to go from strength to strength.
It’s fair to say that great staff are key to the success of any business but none more so when it comes to cosmetic clinics. Medizen, voted “Best UK Medical Aesthetic Clinic 2008” have gone to great lengths to create the credibility and trust necessary for people to put their bodies on the line and this has been achieved through the quality of the team, led by Clinical Director, Dr David Eccleston. As Medizen pointed out in their application, ““Quality” in our market can be difficult to define” but one thing’s for sure, getting it right as measured by the client, is a must and the Clinic is 100% focused on achieving this.
Consumer Intelligence was founded on the core belief that the UK insurance industry did not have the necessary tools to respond effectively to the far more demanding, price-sensitive consumers that were emerging in an increasingly internet-dominated world. They provide many of the biggest names in the insurance and financial services sector with high-quality data which informs marketing, pricing and product strategies. Multi-award winning Consumer Intelligence is now the most widely-recognised research brand in UK advertising with more consumers relying on their research than that of any other company. A true leader in its field.
Keltie are a team of patent and trade mark attorney's that deliver a fresh and highly client focused service. Unlike many organisations in the legal sector, they offer a high level of innovation coupled with simplicity but without compromising on the detail - a rare and enviable combination. Keltie display a refreshing 'can do' approach along with a friendly demeanour which sets them apart. The firm is listed in the 'The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work For' and has also achieved Best Companies' top three-star accreditation, ranked 'extraordinary' - an achievement shared by less than 7% of entrants across all sectors. Keltie is one of just two legal practices to achieve that standard, and the only firm of patent and trade mark attorneys. Oh, and let’s not forget that they have won a Queen's Award too.
Boss Design is a market leader in the UK seating industry and its product range includes task chairs, meeting furniture and extends to include breakout seating, contemporary tables through to bespoke product design. Synonymous with high quality and cutting edge design, sustainable materials, ergonomically engineered mechanisms and sculpted forms Boss's designers, engineers and craftspeople express their skill and expertise in a way that many organisations aspire to but few achieve.
Norton & Sons is a Savile Row bespoke tailor founded in 1821. Today, the firm is run by Oxford-educated Patrick Grant, who, at 35 years of age, is the youngest boss on Savile Row. Patrick's love of Harris tweed is almost as widely documented as the reputation of the firm within the world of top end tailoring. Today's client list is known to include King Juan Carlos of Spain, HRH Prince Phillip and musician Jools Holland. Norton's have also tailored Sir Winston Chrchill, Tony Curtis, David Niven and Sir Roger Moore to name but a few. Enough said!
The flamboyant entrepreneur is perhaps best known for his outspoken views on the insurance market and his ongoing advice to consumers in the national press. One of the smartest and well mannered people in the Square Mile, Simon built and sold British Insurance a couple of years ago and is now working his brand of magic on the latest venture, Burgesses. With 21 awards under his belt so far, Simon really knows how to inject that X factor in to a business in order to take it from strength to strength.
Anyone can throw large amounts of money at a restaurant and bar and make it look 'nice'. But Sketch have spent well and created a truly special experience, and that's no mean feat in central London. As you would expect, the food is top notch and this is sprinkled with something special in terms of service and style. It makes one feel good to be alive, trendy even if you know deep down you're not really and never ceases to evolve and stimulate the mind. Uber cool. A worthy edition to the Crème de la Crème Hall of Fame.
AESSEAL is one of the major specialists in the design and manufacture of mechanical seals and support systems. With growth in excess of 25% per year since its launch in 1983, AESSEAL is the only major international new entrant to the mechanical seals industry in the last twenty years. The company has genuinely turned customer service into a competitive advantage and coupled this with superior product performance. Another great example of a real all-rounder with cutting edge innovation, great marketing and service.
The Big Issue exists to offer homeless and vulnerably housed people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income. It's a current affairs magazine which vendors buy for 75p and sell to the public for £1.50, keeping 75p for themselves. During the last eighteen years the organisation has worked with and on behalf of some of society's most marginalised individuals to help them take control of their lives. The Big Issue has become one of the world's foremost social enterprises, creating a model which has been imitated time and again.
Search engine optimisation and pay per click specialists Bigmouthmedia are one of those outfits that 'do what it says on the tin'. They get the job done and done well. Founder Steve Leach is a digital media thought-leader and pioneer. Steve has grown Bigmouthmedia organically and through acquisition to become the leading independent Digital Marketing Company in Europe. Steve is the current CBI Entrepreneur of the Year, winning the title after a unanimous vote from the judging panel and following in the footsteps of previous winners, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Philip Green and Sir James Dyson.
Since 1997 Towergate have grown to become Europe's largest independently owned insurance intermediary. Their business model is based on creating innovative products combined with great customer service, easier said than done well. In 2008 Towergate was voted Private Company of the Year by ACQ Magazine and Management Team of the Year by the Sunday Times Fast Track. In 2009 Towergate was also recognised by the Sunday Times as a top 250 Fast Track company. In 2008 Executive Chairman Peter Cullum was voted Management Today's "Entrepreneur of the Year".
Colin is a PR heavy hitter. He was headhunted to Shandwick as an Associate Public Affairs Director in 1995. He joined the board in 1996 and became the MD of the new Shandwick Public Affairs consultancy the following year. After building Weber Shandwick's public affairs division into an industry leader he was promoted to be CEO of the new enlarged Weber Shandwick after its 2001 merger with BSMG. In 2008 Colin was promoted from UK & Ireland CEO to CEO, UK & Europe. The way in he has restructured the PR giant during the early part of the decade is to be admired.