More than 450 people cheered as Fleetline Coachworks was crowned Croydon Business of the Year Award at a glittering gala dinner last night (Oct 5).
The borough’s business community was celebrating in style at the sixth annual Croydon Business Excellence Awards, in association with Gatwick Airport, at Grand Sapphire Hotel and Banqueting.
They also raised £10,022 on the night in aid of the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Toni Lett’s charities, CODA (Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association) and Croydon Samaritans, as well as Croydon Commitment.
Croydon firm Fleetline was chosen from 14 distinguished business category award winners to take the premier prize at the prestigious awards.
Fleetline’s managing director Mark Boret said: “I am in awe of this amazing event – I was surrounded by so many great people and Croydon businesses tonight who are doing such a fantastic job.
“This award isn’t just for me, it is for every single person who works to run our business, as well as all our customers and all our suppliers.”
Hosted by comedian Kevin Day, the sparkling black-tie gala was the climax of the prestigious 2017 awards. The sold-out event was a hot ticket for Croydon’s ambitious business community, who celebrated their successes and achievements at a fantastic evening of entertainment, dinner and dancing. There were speeches by Mayor of Croydon Cllr Toni Letts and Cabinet Member for Economy and Jobs, Cllr Mark Watson who spoke about the borough’s high growth.
Praising the awards, Alison Addy, Head of Community Engagement at Gatwick Airport said: “It is fantastic to be here tonight and Gatwick Airport is proud to once again support these awards.
“Gatwick is growing and now serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 45 million passengers a year. We are not standing still and it is clear Croydon is not standing still either. Our growth and success is why we are supporting these awards and we want to see businesses in Croydon succeed as well.”
Entrepreneur of the Year, Mario Carrozzo of Caridon Group, moved the audience by dedicating his award to his parents.
“It is an amazing achievement to win this award. For me the journey of an entrepreneur starts at birth so it’s a lot is to do with circumstances, the obstacles you face and the people you surround yourself with. I dedicate this to my parents who are here tonight. My Dad is 83 and he is still out and about looking for deals.”
More than 200 firms entered the awards in 2017 – up 50 per cent on last year – and a record 85 companies were shortlisted (*see list below).
Katharine Glass, managing director of awards organisers White Label, thanked all the sponsors who made the event possible, including: Gatwick Airport, Allianz Worldwide Partners; AMP Managed Suites; Chequers Contract Services; Connected Space; London Borough of Croydon; Lark Insurance; NatWest; Superdrug; Sussex Innovation Centre; and Wing Yip; and supported by Croydon Advertiser (event media partner); Croydon Chamber of Commerce; The Grand Sapphire; Handelsbanken; and Mobile Bar Hire.
She also thanked everyone who donated prizes to the charity auction run by Crystal Palace legend John Salako – a raffle and Heads and Tails game, which raised over £10,000 for the charities, CODA, Samaritans and Croydon Commitment.
The CBEA 2017 Winners:
Business of the Year (sponsored by Gatwick Airport)
Winner: Fleetline Coachworks
Highly commended: New Addington Pathfinders
Best Business for Employee Training & Development
Winner: ITC Concepts
Highly commended: Bluebird Care Croydon
Commended: Plan Insurance
Commitment to the Community (sponsored by Allianz Worldwide Partners)
Winner: Cressey College
Highly commended: MJB Security Solutions; Purley Festival
Commended: NatWest plc
Best SME Business (sponsored by London Borough of Croydon)
Winner: Bluebird Care Croydon
Highly commended: MyPT Studio
Commended: Croft Structural Engineers
Best Business for Food & Hospitality (sponsored by Wing Yip)
Winner: Bagatti’s Italian
Highly commended: Crown & Pepper Croydon
Commended: Yumn Brasserie
Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by Sussex Innovation Croydon)
Winner: Mario Carrozzo (Caridon Group)
Highly commended: Kulsum Hussein (Welcome Skills)
Commended: Hasan Ali (Parch Hill)
Independent Retailer of the Year (sponsored by Lark Insurance)
Winner: Woods Jewellers
Highly commended: McCarthy Cars UK
Commended: La Spezia
Cultural Impact Award (sponsored by RISEgallery)
Winner: London Mozart Players
Highly commended: Whitgift School
Commended: Inspired Homes
Tech Innovation of the Year (sponsored by Connected Space)
Highly commended: Natterbox
Apprentice Employer of the Year (sponsored by Chequers)
Winner: Croydon College
Highly commended: Fleetwood Coachworks
Commended: Kinghams of Croydon
Women in Business (sponsored by Superdrug)
Winner: Yuliana Topazly (My Outspace Business Centre)
Highly commended: Amie McGrenaghan (J’Amie’s Gymnastics Academy)
Commended: Sherrelle Collman (Caridon Landlord Solutions)
Best Business for Customer Service (sponsored by AMP House)
Winner: My PTStudio
Highly commended: Real Transfers
Commended: Kinghams of Croydon
Best Start Up Business
Winner: Unicorn Events
Highly commended: Return2Play
Commended: Shaking Hands
Best Charity of Social Enterprise (sponsored by Croydon Partnership)
Winner: New Addington Pathfinders
Highly commended: Lives Not Knives
Commended: Evolve Housing & Support
Best Business for Marketing & Social Media
Winner: Original Flava
Highly commended: Parch Hill
Commended: RocknRoller – Roller Disco