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Dragon’s Den star agrees to judge 2014 awards following Free2Network success

ENTREPRENEUR and former Dragon’s Den star Rachel Elnaugh will judge the Free2Network Business Awards 2014 following the success of this year’s competition.

The announcement was made on the day twelve business leaders and organisations were announced winners and presented special trophies during a glittering gala dinner evening at St George’s Hotel in Llandudno.

Finalists from across North Wales gathered for the event hosted by Rachel who led the tributes to those named on the shortlists as well as winning awards.

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Nina Sardar, Founder and Managing Director of Free2Network, was delighted with the success of the event and Rachel’s decision to be involved again next year.
She said: “It was an outstanding evening and a real tribute to the quality of businesses and business leaders in the UK today. The passion and energy at the dinner was tangible and the delight in winning was so rewarding to see that Rachel has agreed to be involved in judging the 2014 awards just shows what an exciting journey the 2013 awards have been. The awards evening just topped it all off perfectly.”

Rachel, the first female Dragon of the BBC’s hit business pitch show, described winning awards as an essential part of entrepreneurial spirit.
She said: “It was a real honour to judge and present these awards. The standard of entries was high and shows just how committed and innovative business can be. Nina asked me if I would he happy to return next year and I’ve been so inspired by what I’ve seen I simply couldn’t say no.”

Unlike many awards I’m asked to judge you’re given a shortlist and are asked to select a winner. This is NOT the case with the Free2Network Business Awards. Nina was adament that every entry be judged fairly, equally and impartially. The finalists and winners should therefore be incredibly proud of their achievements.”
Rachel Elnaugh, Free2Network Business Awards 2013 & 2014 Judge.

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The winners are named as….

Green Business of the Year

The winner of the Green Business of the Year 2013 was Penrallt Consulting. Finalists included The Hilary Bed & Breakfast, Author Kate Long, Bryn Bella Guest House and Envirovent North Wales, Cheshire & Wirral.

Steve Barber Bailey, Penrallt Consulting (presented by Paul Dennehy, Fundtech)

Networking Person of the Year

This year’s winner of Networker of the Year was Emma Lazarus-Stockdale The Lazarus Group. The Lazarus Group Managing Partner Emma Lazarus Stockdale beat ill health and nerves to become a leading networker, business presenter and distributor of Forever Living health products across North Wales. She said: “Wining this award is fantastic, absolutely brilliant. I feel enormous pride. “It recognises that my business has grown so much thanks to networking and I now even host my own network event. This is such a great achievement for me. “In this day and age, networking is absolutely vital because business success is all about building relationships.” Finalists included Maggie Jenkins Phoenix Trading, John Evans Handy Office, Vicky Cutler Utility Warehouse Authourised Distributor and Jason Winter The Best of Llandudno and Conwy

Emma Lazarus Stockdale, The Lazarus Group (presented by Nina Sardar, Founder of Free2Network)

Entrepreneur of the Year

For a second year running Jo Beevers, Kokonoir was named as Entrepreneur of the Year. Finalists included Louis Hiatt Scrubadub Cleaning, Gareth Jones Carbon Zero UK,  Michelle Childs Bizmums and Alan Hughes Independent Travel Experts.

Jo Beevers, Kokonoir (presented by Sarah Jane Lupton, A4E Enterprise).

Rachel Elnaugh Enterprise Award

The winner of this prestigious award was Simon O’Rourke Simon O’Rourke Tree Carving. Finalists included Alan Jones Alan Jones Art, Lisa Edwards L E Sports Therapy, Jason Jones JJ’s Services and Kerrie Griffin-Rogers The interior Co & Feathers of Italy

 Simon-ORourke, Simon ORourke Tree Carving (presented by Mike Learmond, FSB)

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

This year’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year was named as Jordan Barnes. Spotlight Holiday Clubs co-fonder Jordan Barnes, who is just 18, has been in business since the age of 12 when he helped his mum host fundraising discos for a local toddler group. In 2012 Jordan partnered with another local Six-Form student, Louisa Lightfoot, to start a local school holiday theatre group called Spotlight Holiday Club. He said: “It feels absolutely amazing to win. I have been coming to Free2Network awards for a few years now but this is my first win. “I believe there were more than 40 entries in this category so to be shortlisted was brilliant in itself. “I’ve also met loads of really cool people through the awards and that too is really special. “The whole process has helped make me feel more confident, about both myself and our business.” Finalists included Cathy Nicol CEN21, Ryan Tobin Big Book of Bacon, Jason Jones JJ’s Services and Jamie Muir University of Ales.

Jordan Barnes, Spotlight Holiday Clubs & JB Sounds (presented by John Bowden, True Potential Wealth Management)

Corporate Social Responsibility Award

This year’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award was presented to Gaz Jabeen of Bollywood Burnout. Her business uses traditional Indian and Bhangra dancing to promote fitness and wellbeing. Extensive work with community-based charities has enabled it to raise £80,000 for local good causes. Gaz said: “My dad was a massive supporter of making a difference in the community and I am proud this award recognises that through Bollywood Burnout we can do the same. “It’s important that we can do that in a cultural way and make an international statement in North Wales, and make it big!”. Finalists include Tudno TV and Simon O’Rourke Tree Carving.

Gaz Jabeen, Bollywood Burnout (presented by Chris Roberts, Inner Frame)

Leader of the Year

This year’s Leader of the Year was named as Sarah Jane Lupton A4E Enterprise. Sarah-Jane Lupton, who lives in Tynygongl near Benllech, is the National Mentor Co-ordinator for international training and employment service A4E. She covers North and Mid Wales and provides a 24-hour, seven day a week support system to all mentors who support small businesses in Wales. She said: “I was shocked to win! I saw the others in the shortlist and told my colleagues I didn’t think we had a chance, so I was so delighted to win. “I am passionate about Mentoring, business growth and basically everything I do, so I am so proud to pick up this award.” Finalists include David Russ, South Wales Chamber of Commerce, Neil Rowlands Tre Ysgawen Hall Hotel, Simon O’Rourke Simon O’Rourke Tree Carving.

Sarah Jane Lupton, A4E Enterprise (presented by Dr Barrie Kennard, LMW)

Business Woman of the Year

Business Woman of the Year was named as Amanda Daniels from Koogar. Finalists included Claire Smith Wildbanks Conservation, Sian Saunders Daydream Designs and Kerrie Griffin Rogers The Interior Co.

Amanda Daniels, Koogar (presented by Lynsey Hackett, L29 Creative)

Business Man of the Year

Business Man of the Year 2013 was named as Alan Hughes, Independent Travel Experts. Finalists named as Silv Del Prete Brag Marketing, Alan Jones Sional and Phil Jackson Fotofire

Alan Hughes, Independent Travel Experts (presented by Caroline Jones, Conwy County Borough Council

Start Up Business of the Year

This Year’s Start Up Business of the Year went to J&PR based in Telford. Director Kirsty Smallman accepted the award from Rachel on behalf of the business. J&PR has grown from directors Kirsty and Rhea Alton to a staff of 10. Kirsty said: “This is the first award we have won and it feels absolutely fantastic. It proves that hard work pays off, juggling business, childcare and husbands!”. Finalists included The Very Nice Flower Company, Sarah’s Embroidery, Home Improvements UK, Attention Retraining Technologies.

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Business of the Year

The final award of the evening went to ACE Lifts. Founder Charles Salter said: “We are delighted and a little bit shocked actually! Business of the Year is a really great achievement for us to have under our belt.” ACE Lifts grew by 25% last year and the aim for them is to grow by the same next year. He added: “We’re very innovative and brought out new products this year which have gone down well with our customers. “We are now 10 times the size we were five years ago so we are growing at an incredible rate.” Finlists included Tan Lan Bakery, Integral Life Centre, Procare Wales and JT Thomas & Co Accountants.

ACE Lifts (presented by Andrea Knox, Knox Commercial & Insolvency Solicitors)

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