Dacorum firms shine at Herts FSB awards

TWO Dacorum firms took away gold from the Hertfordshire Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) awards.

MND Bookkeeping Services took the title of Dacorum Business of the Year while Debbie Gilbert, of Viva Business Networking, scooped the Networking Group of the Year accolade at Shendish Manor, in Apsley, on Thursday.

Mel Dowie and Louise Harrison, in the centre, receive the trophy from host Stephen Rhodes, left, and Dacorum Borough Council's Tara Clark

Mel Dowie and Louise Harrison, in the centre, receive the trophy from host Stephen Rhodes, left, and Dacorum Borough Council's Tara Clark

Mel Dowie and Louise Harrison who run MND in The Sycamores, Hemel Hempstead said they are passionate about their work and pride themselves on helping businesses grow and make money.

MND was praised by judges for running a “brilliant” business with a “growing focus on innovation”.

Mel and Louise received the trophy from Tara Clark, of sponsors Dacorum Borough Council, in front of an audience of nearly 300 people.

Debbie Gilbert, who runs Viva Business Networking from Greenway, Hemel Hempstead, was stunned to receive her award, from sponsor June Cory of marketing company My Mustard.

Debbie Gilbert, right, collects her trophy from sponsor June Cory of marketing company My Mustard and host Stephen Rhodes

Debbie Gilbert, right, collects her trophy from sponsor June Cory of marketing company My Mustard and host Stephen Rhodes

Debbie, who also won the Gazette’s Local Business Accelerator competition earlier this year, was genuinely shocked to be awarded the title. But she received huge acclaim from the audience.

The judges said Viva shows “solid, creative excellence.”

The competition had 18 judges in total and each category was measured by at least five of them.

Tring company Ploink! of Lakeside, finished runner-up in the Best E-business category, sponsored by North Herts District Council. It provides online collection boxes shaped like piggy banks for UK charities.

Several other companies also made it to the final stage. They were praised as successful businesses by organisers at the FSB.

Hemel Hempstead print firm uPrint, based at Maylands Business Centre, sponsored the Employee of the Year categorey, with owner Steve Mark presenting the trophy.

The winner of the overall county award on the night was Hertford’s The Car Wash Company, praised by judges as being “innovative” and “unique”.

Dacorum-based homeless charity DENS was the beneficiary on the night. Andrew Liversedge, of DENS, told the audience that “every person here is just three stages away from being homeless.”

Charles Smith, the FSB’s regional chairman, said: “It is humbling to see what people are achieving. The standard has been superb.”