Celebrating local business success

David Clarke, Lisa Bates, Mike Catt OBE and Jonathan Shreeves

David Clarke, Lisa Bates, Mike Catt OBE and Jonathan Shreeves - Credit: Archant

There’s lots to celebrate this week! As well as this year’s winners in the Food and Drink Festival Awards we have some other business success stories to report which highlight the strengths of the local business community.

Leading coach and bus operator White’s St Albans has picked up the Excellence in Minibus Operation Award at the national routeONE Operator Excellence Awards, which aim to identify and reward the best operators and people in the coach, bus and minibus sectors. Launched in 2005, the awards are firmly established as the number one event in the coach and bus industry calendar.

In recognising White’s the judges said: “Having taken the brave decision to shift the focus of the business away from a reliance on local authority contract transport to VIP minicoach travel, our winner has grown in strength and profit as it continues to attract and retain high-profile clients.”

Managing director Greg White told me: “This is really exciting news as we are the first company to win this national industry leading award twice having previously won in 2009. I am really happy because this is the biggest achievement we’ve landed in over 50 years of trading.”

Another success story comes from a company the Chamber has worked with recently. Wildgoose Events, which specialises in technology-based team building events, has proved its place as a market leader by winning one of the top National Entrepreneur Awards 2013 in the Most Impressive Growth category.

The National Entrepreneurs Awards are aimed at business owners who don’t accept the doom and gloom that surrounds the world of small to medium businesses and are the creative driving force behind British PLC. Alistair McGowan, the UK’s top satirical impressionist, hosted the award ceremony which paid tribute to the most impressive business owners in the UK.

Wildgoose managing director Jonny Edser and operations director Peter Barker were both at the ceremony to receive the award. Peter said: “It has been an amazing year for Wildgoose and we are looking forward to another year of sustained growth.”

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Jonny added: “We were so excited when the name Wildgoose was announced! The National Entrepreneur Awards are very prestigious and to be acknowledged in front of so many business leaders was absolutely brilliant. We were nominated in the ‘Most Impressive Growth’ category because we’ve had a phenomenal 52 per cent growth so far this year which has also catapulted us into the UK’s list of Top 50 Event Companies. Winning this award is just a fantastic accolade for our incredible team and we’ll certainly be sharing the success over a few more bottles of champagne.”

The Chamber certainly inteneds to work with Wildgoose Events again. The GPRS Treasure Hunts they organise are so much fun – watch out for more details soon.

Good luck to all those running the Herts 10k this weekend, having taken part several years ago this is not just a run in the park! It involves some horrible hill climbs which I found very difficult and once was enough. This is such a brilliant community event masterminded by Lawrence Levy and has raised huge sums over the years for Grove House Hospice. If you know anyone running please do sponsor them – it is a great cause.

One of our Chamber directors David Clarke is not only starting the race this year but running it too. I shall be cheering him on as will thousands of you hopefully! The race starts at Rothamsted Research Park at 10am with 3,000 runners this year – well done to all involved in organising this well established community event.

David, who is head of the St Albans business and private banking centre at Clydesdale Bank, also sponsored the VP Lunch at Old Albanians on Saturday. Myself and another Chamber director Jonathan Shreeves were invited as guests of Clydesdale Bank and had the pleasure of meeting rugby legend Mike Catt OBE who was the guest speaker.

The England Rugby attack coach, Catt joined the juniors for a training session on the morning before the lunch, which was hosted by OA’s Rugby President Richard Milne, and answered questions from the guests afterwards.

Did you know there are 850 children playing junior rugby at OA’s pavillion on the Harpenden Road every Saturday morning? OAs is a great facility for our youth and it is a very pleasant experience supporting your local team here. A great place to meet like minded fellow players, supporters and even do some business! There are many very affordable sponsorship opportunities available to raise your business profile to a new audience. If you are interested, speak to Mike Johnson the sponsorship secretary on 07808 585920.

We welcome the following new businesses to the Chamber: Natalie B Ltd, Rich Silverman @lifestyledeluxe, Home from Holme, Coldchain Vehicle Services Ltd, Village Barbers, Anastasias Greek Restaurant and Global Igloo Ltd,