Welcome to the inaugural Northamptonshire SME Business Awards, a credible opportunity to support and share in our vision to raise the profile of industrious, hardworking and enterprising SME’s in the county of Northamptonshire.
Business awards are a sought after accolade of achievement, a veritable endorsement of success in business which offers exceptional marketing and PR opportunities as well as increasing your credibility and standing in the eyes of your peers and your customers.
Friday 28th October 2016
A couple believed to be Northampton’s first surrogate gay parents have added a top business award to their personal joy.
Johnny Seckington and his partner Thomas Killman are the proud parents of five month-old Effie, who was conceived with a donated egg and Johnny’s sperm and born of a surrogate mother.
“We are a very modern family,” said Johnny, who owns Seckingtons Hair Salon, in Wellingborough Road, Northampton. “Family is very important to us and it is such a joy having a little daughter.
“We had looked at adoption but it wasn’t for us, so we made contact with a possible surrogate called Amy two and a half years ago. We got to know her husband and children and we get on really well.”
Johnny added: “We know there are haters out there but they really are a minority and you know what, if I can be a role model for others to live their dreams, then let’s just stand up and shout about how proud we are.”
Johnny shared his joy with others at the first ever SME Northamptonshire Business Awards, held at the Mercure Daventry Court Hotel & Spa on Thursday night, where he picked up the Overall Winner’s title.
Johnny had sold his car and house to invest in the popular hair salon which opened seven and a half years ago. Started with just two people and a part-timer, Seckingtons now employs 25 local people.
“I am proud to be born and brought up in Northampton,” Johnny said in his acceptance speech after collecting the trophy from sponsors John Socha, of the Northamptonshire FSB, and Martin Wall of Stanair.
“Give yourselves a round of applause,” he added. “There are some amazing businesses here.”
Johnny put his award winning success down to having brilliant employees. “We invested in training and development of great people.”
Other stories from the business awards:
When architect Neil Scroxton’s mum died of cancer seven years ago at the age of 52 he knew he had to come back home to Northamptonshire. He formed Matchbox Architects in Strixton and was asked to do some work for the cancer hospice. This put him on the road to building his business and winning the Velocity Business of the Year title for companies with under 50 employees. “I believe in Northamptonshire,” said Neil.
Iconic home lifestyle retailer A. Bell, in Kingsthorpe Road, Northampton, won the Business of the Year title for over 50 employees, sponsored by Barclays. The 120 year old business has been transformed by the use of e-commerce from a turnover of £4million to £7million.
Elizabeth Ryan, of Ice Cool Confidence, in Northampton, coaches young athletes, mainly figure skaters, and was “over the moon” when she won the Enterprising Business of the Year title, sponsored by Northamptonshire Growth Hub. “I didn’t expect to get anywhere near winning. It’s great to have your business recognised, especially as a one man band.”
Slovakian Maria Krupasova was stunned to win the Best New Business category, sponsored by 4see for her Northampton town centre coffee and cake shop. Maria’s Coffee and Cake is not even one year old (November 13) and yet it stunned the judges and left Maria speechless and shaking with shock. She said: “It was my dream to open a little coffee and cake shop.”
Southfield Arts Company, in Braunston, was created by Neil Bannister two and a half years ago when he moved to the village after a long career in London. Since then he has involved the creative agency in helping community projects with, for example, websites. For this work Southfield was awarded the accolade Community Business of the Year, sponsored by Tresham College. “It’s wonderful to win and be recognised for what we do,” said Neil.
Tom Warner, of Warner Edwards Distillery, at Falls Farm, High Street, Harrington, won the title of Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Northampton Alive. Judges congratulated him from creating a gin distillery as a farm diversification project. The distillery is now four years old and is selling its range of gins in the UK and abroad. “It is awesome to win an award like this because it adds pedigree to a company and builds your case,” said Tom.
Packaging company Woodway UK, based in Earls Barton, won the title Northampton Business of the Year, sponsored by Northampton Borough Council. A family business established in 1978 it now employs 77 people and is proudly Northampton. Operations Director Mike Berrisford said: “We’re always looking to work closely with Northampton suppliers. Winning this award means that we have been recognised by our peers in the business community and for us it is a fantastic achievement.”
Bambino Mio sells washable nappies around the world from its base in Brixworth. Formed in 1997 by a husband a wife team, the business has grown to 26 people and has now won the title of Rural Business of the Year in the SME Northamptonshire Business Awards. Guy Schanscheff said: “When it was unfashionable to have washable nappies, we had a vision that has been worth all the setbacks and knocks. Winning this award provides us with visibility in our local area.”
2016 is a fantastic year for Chandler Communications, of Pitsford who won the Best Customer Service category, sponsored by Chelton Brown, in their 30th anniversary year. The category is decided by a public vote. A delighted Managing Director, Perry Chandler, said: “Winning this award means so much for us.”