FSB crowns 12 winners in its Small Business Awards 2024

The Federation of Small Businesses has awarded the prestigious title of Small Business of the Year to Edinburgh-based CCU International, a trailblazing enterprise tackling carbon emissions through innovative carbon capture technology. Awards host and TV personality Tess Daly crowned CCU International, left, the overall UK winner at the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2024. The grand final event, held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, saw representatives from more than 140 small businesses, plus self-employed professionals, gather from across the UK, with each previously named a regional winner in their respective area.

FSB’s UK winners were honoured in 12 categories, from innovation to growth, sustainability to family business. CCU International led the charge in small business success, clinching the Innovation Award and the title of Small Business of the Year.

A start-up business revolutionising carbon capture, CCU International pioneers next-generation, proprietary technology that not only captures but refines carbon dioxide directly from industry chimney, flue, and exhaust stacks. It then channels CO2 back into industry or converts it to valued commodities such as aggregates for construction material, sustainable aviation fuels and surfactants used in household consumer products.

Sustainability was a hero theme throughout the ceremony, with several other environmentally conscious small businesses claiming UK titles. Also from Edinburgh, Beyond Green, which supports fellow businesses in making sustainable choices, claimed the Diversity & Inclusion Award, while 9Trees in Bristol, which balances carbon emissions by working with landowners to plant and maintain forests, won the Micro Business Award. Stubcroft Farm Campsite Ltd in Chichester was awarded the Sustainability Award for its multiple eco-friendly initiatives. Meanwhile, HJH Commercial Consultants in Deeside, a specialist in renewable energy, claimed the Start-Up Business Award.

Other UK winners spanned award categories, including Young Entrepreneur, Expansion & Growth, Community, Family Business, Franchise, Self-Employed / Freelancer, and Service Excellence.

This year’s Celebrating Small Business Awards grand final, delivered in partnership with headline sponsor Tyl by Natwest, was a momentous occasion for FSB, representing a celebration of the UK’s best small businesses and self-employed professionals. Founded in 1974, FSB has been the leading voice for millions of small businesses and the self-employed community in the UK for half a century.

Martin McTague, National Chair of FSB, said: “Congratulations to CCU International. They are a shining example of how small businesses are harnessing and driving innovation, technology and sustainability to energise the UK’s economy and inspire the next generation. Well done, also, to all the category winners who have helped to demonstrate the diversity, creativity and tenacity of small businesses and the self-employed across the whole of the UK. It is through supporting small businesses that we’ll have a stronger economy.”

Beena Sharma, CEO and Co-Founder at CCU International, said: “Our double win is so humbling, especially considering we’ve only been at this for a short period compared to some of the other phenomenal businesses here. This is the small business awards, so it’s just the start of many things to come, and naturally, it feels amazing, all while validating that we’re on the right track.

“Our technology has proven that what we’re doing can be done, despite being told otherwise many times. Being recognised not just for innovation but as a business making a difference, impacting climate change in a big way, is incredibly rewarding. As a Scottish-based company, it’s a huge win for Scotland. We often compete for attention but have a phenomenally innovative business community and a great entrepreneurial ecosystem. Recognition from FSB will give us credibility with new and existing clients, firmly placing us as technology innovators, not just in Scotland, but the UK, and hopefully paving the way for confident global expansion.

“We’ve had many highlights, and each award win solidifies that we’re heading in the right direction. Stepping on stage for the first time was surreal, but winning the overall best UK small business award took us by surprise. It shows that it’s not about how long you’ve been doing it; it’s about the impact you’re having.”

The complete list of UK winners in the 12 categories is:

Small Business of the Year & Innovation Award

Winner: CCU International, Edinburgh

CCU International (CCUI) is a pioneering start-up revolutionising carbon capture with its next-generation, proprietary technology that can not only capture but also refine carbon dioxide directly from industry chimney, flue, and exhaust stacks, and utilise the captured CO2 back into industry or convert to valued commodities like aggregates for construction material, sustainable aviation fuels and surfactants that go into household consumer products.

Young Entrepreneur Award

Winner: Samantha Cage, Ocala Healthcare, Stowmarket

Samantha Cage and Ocala Healthcare support people with complex care needs and has quickly become a market leader in this space in Suffolk. Samantha Cage launched Ocala Healthcare in November 2017 and continued to grow the business, before being invited to operate as a Care Quality Commission provider by the Local Authority in August 2020. Having self-funded the business at launch, Ocala Healthcare has delivered high turnover and growth alongside five-star reviews.

Sustainability Award

Winner: Stubcroft Farm Campsite Ltd, Chichester

Stubcroft Farm Campsite is an eco-friendly camping and caravan park focussing on great customer service, putting long term sustainable and ethical policies at the heart of their business and becoming one of the UK’s leading eco-leisure businesses.

Expansion & Growth Award

Winner: Technology Powered Services Ltd, Oldham

Technology Powered Services is a trusted infrastructure specialist. They are a rapidly growing business and fast becoming one of the leading providers of infrastructure, technology, break fix services, connectivity and sustainability solutions. Their mantra is to connect people and businesses together, optimising performance through expert consultancy, design, install and support services.

Community Award

Winner: Nightstop Communities North-West CIC, Widnes

Nightstop Communities North-West CIC is an award-winning not-for-profit organisation that plays an amazing role in its local community. Nightstop provides up to two years of temporary, emergency supported accommodation for over-18s who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless. They have properties spanning across Halton, Warrington, and the Liverpool City Region. 

Diversity & Inclusion Award

Winner: Beyond Green, Edinburgh

Beyond Green is a small and passionate team of sustainability advisers helping businesses make better choices by future-proofing their operations, protecting their profit margins, and building their values into their business. They are a B Corp and a Disability Confident Leader and are dedicated to creating a better, more efficient, sustainable, and equitable future for everyone.

Family Business Award

Winner: TEKShop, Nottingham

TEKShop is a small family-run business that specialises in the refurbishment and resale of consumer electronics. The owner, Tiva Eftekhar, runs the business with his parents and sister and has grown in just six years from a bedroom business made up entirely of family to a thriving company of 14 IT professionals, working with some of the biggest electronics distributors in the country.

Franchise Award

Winner: Boogie Beat Music and Movement, Edinburgh

Boogie Beat Music and Movement provide engaging music, movement classes and workshops in the community for families, schools, nurseries and children’s birthday parties. They also run inter-generational workshops in care homes and day centres.

Micro Business Award

Winner: 9Trees, Powys 

9Trees was set up in 2019 to support the climate response, working towards economy, ecology, biodiversity, wellbeing and community. The organisation works with landowners planting, maintaining and conserving native trees, and also offers skills development and experiences to volunteers and supporters who find outdoor environments beneficial for health and wellbeing.

Self-Employed/Freelancer Award

Winner: Neil Trewick of Trew Surveying Ltd, Stockton-on-Tees

Trew Surveying was founded by Neil Trewick in 2022 and is a residential building surveying company. Based in Teeside, they are now established as one of the most recognisable and reputable companies in the area gaining national recognition for their work and services. Alongside this success, the business has continued to grow, leading to an impressive business turnover in less than two years.

Service Excellence Award

Winner: Vanlife Conversions Ltd, Colchester

Vanlife Conversions specialises in bespoke, off-grid campervans that are tailored specifically to their clients’ needs. Founded by Oli and Emily Arnold, their campervan conversions enable a lifestyle of freedom and adventure. Service excellence is embedded in the organisation in every process and customer interaction, leading to a thriving business in the heart of the East of England.

Start-up Business Award

Winner: HJH Commercial Consultants, Deeside 

HJH Commercial Consultants has grown from a single employee to a thriving enterprise of 20 dedicated Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers serving the renewable energy, utilities and civil engineering sectors. Their success is not just about growth; it’s about innovation, commitment, social values and the relentless pursuit of excellence.