Awards celebrate Britain’s most inspiring small businesses

Green Doors founder Joseph Holman and MD Levi Lucas accept the award for Small Business of the Year and are joined onstage by Minister for Small Business Kevin Hollinrake

An entrepreneurial joiner who has grown a thriving restoration business – after a light-bulb moment when he found and rescued a door from a skip in 2014 – has been awarded ‘Small Business of the Year’ at The Small Awards.

Joseph Holman, founder of ‘Green Doors’, who turned his passion for salvage and restoration into a business employing now 25 people, was presented with his award at a special ceremony in London where ten other outstanding UK small firms were also crowned winners.

Reacting to the win, Mr Holman said: “We are so overwhelmed to win tonight at The Small Awards, not just once, but two different awards – Net Hero and Small Business of the Year! We have been running the business for 10 years – built from a passion of wanting to rescue things that deserved a second chance and to preserve our planet.”

The Small Awards – which is a nationwide search for the smallest and greatest firms in the UK, across all sectors – also awarded Bristol-based jewellery start-up ‘Silver & Steel’ the New Kid on the Block award, sponsored by TSB. In less than a year of trading, the studio has grown significantly through workshops and events, as well as an online retailer, supporting local jewellery makers, the community and championing sustainability.

Nazia Anwar, left, founder of Social Blox, won the ‘Sole to Sole’ award for best sole trader. She was presented with her award by Small Business Britain founder Michelle Ovens CBE.

Now in its eighth year, The Small Awards are organised by Small Business Britain, which champions, inspires and accelerates the nation’s 5.5 million small firms. Ninety small businesses were shortlisted across 11 Small Award categories, from ‘digital stars’, to ‘high street heroes’ and mission-driven businesses with a ‘heart of gold’. Other winners included:

  • Gillies and Mackay – a family-run business crafting sheds for over 30 years – has won the Legacy Former woodcutter turned CEO Cara Mackay, right, has continued the international business started by her father and uncle in 1989, which is committed to ensuring the sanctuary of ‘ShedLife’ for its customers.
  • Pennine Cycles, an independent Bradford-based bicycle shop established in 1946 won the High Street Hero.  Paul Corcoran, who bought his childhood bike from the store in the 80s, went on to buy the business with his wife Sandra in 2000 and has kept it at the heart of the local community with a popular grassroots cycling club.
  • Online retailer Rainbow & Co won the Bricks & Clicks award, celebrated for authentically championing the LGBTQ+ community with its diverse product range, achieving global recognition while still being run by a small team.
  • Whitby tearoom Hetty & Betty won the At Your Service award, for putting the local community at the heart of their business, with a commitment to local suppliers.
  • Front Room Theatre, born out of a need for an accessible community theatre space within Weston-Super-Mare, won the Mission Possible award, impressing judges with its impact on the local creative sector and high street economy.
  • OutBritain Limited won the Supply Chain Campion award for its mission to connect, support and grow the LGBT+ business community across the UK, by encouraging opportunities to integrate LGBT+ business owners into corporate supply chains.
  • Kids’ activities online directory Club Hub UK won the Digital Star award for its growth and comprehensive and accessible collection of clubs and activities for kids, made for parents all across the country.
  • Community interest company Nickel Support, based in Carshalton, won the Heart of Gold The business supports adults with learning disabilities, driven by one of the co-founders’ personal experience.

“Small businesses are at the heart of their communities, and make unique contributions to the UK economy, and they deserve recognition. The Small Awards aim to do just that,” said Michelle Ovens CBE, Founder of Small Business Britain. “We are extremely proud of all the entrepreneurs who were nominated, and special congratulations must go to our amazing winners, who inspire us with their stories of resilience and innovation. We are delighted to have celebrated with them at such a beautiful event that shines a much-needed light on so many extraordinary entrepreneurs and their fabulous businesses.”

Minister for Small Business Kevin Hollinrake MP, left, who attended The Small Awards and presented the Small Business of the Year Award said: “The Small Awards are a reminder of the innovation and tenacity that makes the UK’s small businesses the best in the world. I congratulate this year’s winners on their well-deserved awards and wish them every success for the future.”

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.

Peter Hatton, Head of Business Banking and Savings at TSB said: “It’s great to be celebrating British small businesses once again and reminding people of the incredible value they provide in driving employment and contributing to the community. It takes a lot of courage to start a business – so a huge congratulations to all the nominees and of course, to the winners from last night’s event. A special congratulations to Silver and Steel – the winner of the New Kid on the Block category – they not only took that daunting first step of starting up but chose to kickstart their business by deliberately putting community, accessibility and sustainability at their heart – recognising all the advantages that these can deliver.”

To find out more about the winners click here.