An inspiring social enterprise from Tottenham, which supports underprivileged young people, was crowned ‘Small Business of the Year’ at the Small Awards, as outstanding small businesses from across the UK gathered for a special awards evening in London last week.
The 4-22 Foundation, pictured above, which offers safe and supportive opportunities for young people to raise and achieve their aspirations, was awarded the honour at a glittering awards ceremony, which saw 10 other inspiring small businesses win awards.
The Small Awards is a nationwide search for the smallest and greatest firms in the UK, across all sectors. In its seventh year it is organised annually by Small Business Britain, which champions, inspires and accelerates the nation’s 5.5 million small firms.
Founded in 2019, the 4-22 Foundation has delivered multiple projects helping young people most at risk of disadvantage in Tottenham, in the London borough of Haringey. It focuses on offering support at every stage of development, from the ages of 4-22, including mentoring for early-years, tuition at school, youth clubs, as well as vocational work placements and employability training. The 4-22 Foundation also won the ‘Mission Possible’ Small Award for best social enterprise.
Gavin Jackson, co-founder of 4-22 Foundation, said: “I am beyond thrilled to win Small Business of the Year. I was delighted to just be a finalist in the Mission Possible category, so to win that was fantastic and to have our achievements as a thriving social enterprise business in the UK recognised, but winning this award on top has left me awestruck.”
Eighty outstanding small business finalists were shortlisted across 11 Small Award categories that call out the nation’s most inspirational business, across everything from sole-traders to digital stars and mission-driven businesses.
Independent retailer Maybugs won the ‘High Street Hero’ award, sponsored by TSB, and impressed judges for its impressive growth and focus on supporting high streets and local communities across East Sussex.
Start-up retailer Gifts Instead of Flowers also won the ‘New Kid on the Block’ award for creating a charitable gifting platform which enables artists and makers to showcase and sell their work. The judges commended owner Jan Jenkins for her efforts in raising money for William’s Fund – which fundraises for paediatric cancer research at Oxford University.
Michelle Ovens CBE, Founder of Small Business Britain said: “Small businesses make a uniquely special and unparalleled contribution to the UK economy, which often goes under-recognised, and the Small Awards is all about celebrating this.
“All small businesses should be proud of their continued tenacity and hard work, but special congratulations must go to these amazing winners, who have inspired us with their stories of entrepreneurial, innovation and resilience. We are so delighted to have celebrated them all at such a fun event that shines a light on so many extraordinary small businesses.”
Other winners at the Small Awards included:
- The People’s Pantry, which uses a quirky electric milk-float to deliver sustainable household and pantry items, won the Bricks and Clicks award and was praised for preventing over 11,000 items of single use plastic waste.
- Online business Wakuda was awarded the Digital Star category. Co-founder Nathaniel Wade was commended for his smart digital strategy and vision to create a marketplace for black-owned entrepreneurs that celebrates diversity and promotes inclusivity.
- Lewisham based Plateful Café won the Heart of Gold award for its tireless work building an inclusive space where local refugees can find employment and community in South East London.
- Organic cotton maker LittleLeaf Organic, won the Net Hero award, recognised for using a solar powered factory to produce fully ethical cotton and eco-ink in East Hampshire.
- London City Voices won the At Your Service award, impressing judges with their dedication to member wellbeing by fostering a close-knit community and extraordinary experiences, such as performances at Wembley Stadium.
- Maria Fogg Family Law Ltd won the Legacy award, recognising the passion of family members to continue the success and impact of the firm, particularly in their compassionate approach to providing legal aid to vulnerable clients in Liverpool.
- Sole trader Samantha Carr won the Sole to Sole award for her community-led business The Snug Bookshop and Café, which has seen her show impressive resilience to overcome a series of challenges, including making it through a roof collapse and selling her home to reopen at a new location to keep her business alive.
- Bristol based Bobby Rose Ltd won the award for Supply Chain Champion. The firm works with architects, engineers, steel fabricators and installation teams to develop efficient designs for metalwork that clients can install with ease and minimal waste.
The Small Awards are judged by a panel of leading enterprise experts. Guests at the event were treated to a dazzling display of entertainment by Europe’s largest gay male choir, the London Gay Men’s Chorus, along with fine food and drink by independent caterers.