2018 Winners

For the first time, the 2018 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.

The finalists for the 2018 awards were as follows:

  • AbBaltis
  • ABM Training UK
  • AngelsLocks
  • Bennett Opie
  • Burden Bros Agri
  • Computer Rescue
  • D Dee's Day Nursery
  • Farmwood Mechanical and Electrical Services
  • Hempstead House Hotel & Spa
  • Karen Richardson Independent Cambridge Weight Plan Consultant
  • Kate Hennessy Photography
  • Kent and Medway Biological Records Centre
  • Kent Catering Service
  • Kesson Physio
  • Modus Construction Consultants
  • Mr India
  • Neighbourhood Furniture Store
  • No Place Like Home
  • Olivers Personnel Services
  • Rhubarb Business Services
  • Sheppey Matters (Sheppey FM)
  • The Harmony Therapy Trust
  • Tribeca Technology Group
  • Unipet International

The winners were:

Swale Business of the Year 2018

Unipet International

Unipet International is a company that has been in existence since 1993 and have entered the awards previously. The judges were really impressed with the company’s strategic direction and commitment to significant investment in its capital equipment. This has enabled them to continue to progress their business and create competitive advantage through modernising production facilities and automating packing lines. At the same time they have continued to invest in their workforce to assist them in delivering the significant financial growth achieved in recent years. Whilst managing all of these challenges the company also entered into new markets and most importantly has maintained excellent relationships with its suppliers and customers.

Sittingbourne Business of the Year

Burden Bros Agri

Burden Bros impressed the judges last year and did so again this year. Their plans moving forward showed a dynamic attitude within management that empowered the employees to take the company onto bigger and better things. The business culture was truly impressive with clear evidence of the management team being fully committed to the future direction of the business. Whilst the company started this empowerment in previous years, this year has seen the fruits of that transition come through.

Sheppey Business of the Year

Kent Catering Service

Kent Catering Service Limited have continued to grow their business off the back of their commitment to a localised and timely service provision. The business continues to progress in a sector dominated by larger national players, with their key differentiator being their quality of service delivery.

Faversham Business of the Year

D-Dee’s Day Nursery

Debbie-Ann has created a nursery that is the envy of the local Faversham area and is now achieving both national and International recognition, for what she has created. This is clearly not just a run of the mill nursery operation. Her reputation, within the industry has made her and her nursery the go to person for showing what is best within the sector. She is a passionate promoter of ‘little person’s’ rights and lobbies long and hard for appropriate funding for her little people and all other little people within nursery provision.

Small Business of the Year


AngelsLocks Limited has proved that when you are good at something then success will continue to follow. This company started in 2013 with an initial investment of £500 and has grown in 5 years to a nigh on £1m turnover business. Angela and her team have continued to leverage their position within the market and have developed complimentary product lines in addition to their core hair extensions. The judges were also particularly impressed with the robust marketing strategy and use of social media to promote the brand. Angela has also reassessed her delivery channels to enable her to continue to scale the business on the same staffing levels.

Employer of the Year

Tribeca Technology Group

Tribeca impressed the judges with their commitment to their staff, knowing that they were and are the main asset of the business. They showed an unswerving commitment to investing in their staff to develop employees at all levels and to continue to provide opportunities for development within the company. They have an excellent apprenticeship programme which spans both their core IT services but also other areas such as HR and business administration. The judges were really impressed to see the actual evidence of employee progression from new entrants to senior level management via their global operations. There are not many businesses where you can enter as a school leaver, learning the technical aspects of the business and still be there a number of years later but as head of operations.

Customer Service and Commitment

No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home Limited seriously impressed the judges with the forward strides they have made in both service provision and commitment to the ultimate customer. The client testimonials showed the heartfelt thanks that families of the company’s clients felt for the truly bespoke service and relationship that their personal assistants developed. The whole company is committed to providing a wonderful service and has invested significant time in raising dementia awareness across the wider local community. It just went to show that the company does really treat everyone of its customers, as if they are the most important individual.

Impact in the Community

Sheppey Matters

All of the judges left the meeting with Sheppey Matters Community Radio with respect and admiration for what is being achieved by a wonderful group of volunteers. Inspirational, inclusive and high quality local radio is being produced and at the same time is providing a diverse mix of volunteers with an opportunity to express their talents, over the radio waves. As a first time entrant they showed the judges the significant impact that they are having within Swale area and the undoubted positive influence that they are having on a very large number of local people’s lives.

Entrepreneur of the Year

Denise Riggs (Kesson Physio)

Denise, proved to the judges, that she is a woman on a mission. Having taken on a small physiotherapy practice from her mother, she has developed the practice and set out to change the way that physiotherapy is thought about by adopting a different way of working. She is committed to employing her physiotherapists directly, rather than taking them on a self-employed basis, and thereby provide them with an opportunity to share in the business over time. The business has thrived as a result and she and the business are offering more classes and more services to her clientele. Denise has also progressed other associated business interests that further evidence her true entrepreneurial spirit.

Judges' Special Award

Bennett Opie

The judge’s deliberations this year were made extremely difficult by the overall calibre of entrants. Bennett Opie Limited were chosen for this year’s judges’ special award to celebrate an amazing local business that continues to perform at a very high level in a global market place. There is a very strong history behind the company but they do not stand still and continue to develop and progress their offering to a demanding customer base. Via their factory in Sittingbourne they continue to be a major local employer and exporter for the region. The company is a fantastic business to have here in Swale and the judges wanted to recognise the wonderful contribution they have made and continue to make within the fabric of Swale.