After a record number of entries and finalists, Sittingbourne’s Unipet International was awarded the title of Swale Business of the Year for 2018. Now in it’s 25th year of trading, the wild bird food manufacturer also picked up a cheque for £1,000.
For the first time, this year’s awards were held at the Kent Event Centre, where over 260 Swale business people dined on a sumptuous three-course meal prior to the unveiling of the full list of 2018 winners. After the formalities ended, guests were invited to continue celebrating into the night, with both winners and fellow finalists drinking and dancing until past midnight.
The awards were presided over by KMFM’s Nicola Everett and the sponsors of the awards organised a charity raffle, which raised £1,219 for the Swale Youth Development Fund.
Jason Davies-Baker, Operations Director at the 62-person strong Unipet International, discussed how it felt to see his business crowned the 2018 Swale Business of the Year: “It felt absolutely fantastic. There was a lot of hard work put in by the team; in fact the team are the business. I’m really, really proud of their efforts, certainly over the last two-and-a-half years. This award is for them and it is onwards and upwards now!”
Including the Swale Business of the Year award, there were a total of ten awards presented to local businesses throughout the evening. One of these was the Impact in the Community award, which was presented to Sheppey Matters (Sheppey FM). Julie Nicholls spoke about how it felt for them to secure the award: “Winning was more than we could have wished for. We’re very proud and passionate about what we do, and it is nice to get recognition for that passion, and it inspires us to keep doing what we’re doing. The awards are so varied, large and small, all sorts of different businesses and charities and anyone that has a passion for what they’re doing has a chance to win.”
The full list of the other 2018 Swale Business Awards winners is:
- Sittingbourne Business of the Year – Burden Bros Agri
- Faversham Business of the Year – D Dee’s Day Nursery
- Sheppey Business of the Year – Kent Catering Service
- Entrepreneur of the Year – Kesson Physio
- Customer Service and Commitment Award – No Place Like Home
- Judges’ Special Award – Bennett Opie
- Employer of the Year – Tribeca Technology Group
- Swale Small Business of the Year – AngelsLocks
Brian Carey, Tax Partner of UHY Hacker Young was one of the 2018 judges. He spoke about how tough it was choosing the winners this year: “It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to have been a judge for the Swale Business Awards for a number of years now and in that time I have met with some truly incredible businesses and inspirational people. I certainly feel that this year has been the most difficult in terms of judging, as the quality of entrants really stood out – and the applications showed just how seriously people take these awards. Certainly this quality was reflected in the record number of finalists that were shortlisted, and I certainly feel that every single finalist was worthy of an award. Indeed, this year, it was never truer that merely being a finalist was an achievement in itself. That said, Unipet International Limited evidenced something extra special and are deservedly the 2018 Swale Business of the Year.”
Handelsbanken and Swale Means Business are the principal sponsors of the 2018 Swale Business Awards. The Swale Business Awards are sponsored by ArrivaClick, C & D Logistics South East, Checkmate, COOK Trading, CS One Design, Enterprise Centres, Gallery Direct, George Webb Finn, Invicta Financial Group, Kent Event Centre, Kent Science Park, Medichem, Shepherd Neame, Swale Borough Council, Thomson Snell & Passmore, UHY Hacker Young, University of Greenwich and William Whitmey Independent Funeral Directors.
The Swale Business Awards are now looking for local companies that want to give something back to the local business community by sponsoring next year’s awards. The 2019 awards will only be possible through the support of local businesses and sponsoring the awards remains an incredible way to raise your profile in the local business community. If you would like to help make the 2019 awards a reality, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.