As part of our year-long centenary celebrations, Hart Brown Solicitors decided to sponsor the ‘Start-Up of the Year’ category at the 2019 Surrey Business Awards.
It was my first time judging an award and I wanted to make sure every applicant had a fair opportunity of winning the title. I was involved in the judging process with Nigel Maud, our Chief Operating Officer who knows how to run a successful, longstanding legal practice in Surrey. We had to judge a diverse range of businesses, all with one thing in common: an unwavering belief and passion for what they do.
As commercial lawyers, we are used to advising start-up businesses, but it is important to remember that these businesses are living and breathing enterprises. We can, of course, advise people in writing about what is best for their businesses, but when we take the time to meeting business owners at their place of work we get the perfect opportunity to understand the practical reality of how that business works.
After much deliberation, Nigel and I came to an agreement about the companies we wanted to visit in order to learn more about how they operated. While all the paper applications made interesting reading, a handful of companies really stood out and we would like to thank all the business owners who took the time to meet us.
We visited as many companies as possible and whittled the list down to four finalists: Consentricare Ltd, Securium Ltd, My Busy Bots and Teresa Weller Hair Art. While all the companies who entered the awards should be praised for making an enormous effort, these four finalists stood out for us. I remember going into a small café, and meeting two women who had set up a business from home and I didn’t really know what to expect. I left feeling that these two women, Candice and Leanne of My Busy Bots, had created a really brilliant concept and they both really cared about what they were doing with their idea.
Likewise, the enthusiasm of Teresa and Gid of Teresa Weller Hair Art is infectious and I can see why their hairdressing business is going to achieve great things in Dorking. They really want to make women feel special about how they look.
Bill Palmer and Jon Murrell of Consentricare have a great idea with their mobile app for elderly care and I am looking forward to watching their future success.
Our winner was Securium Ltd, and its CEO Dr Anna Vartapetiance showcases the best of the talent and innovation that Surrey has to offer. Her cyber intelligence business will help keep children safe and I remember Anna saying: “If I can help one child my business will be a success”. Anna’s quiet determination is impressive and she is certainly not to be underestimated.
I wish all of our four finalists, and all of the other applicants who took the time to enter the awards, great success in their new ventures and I am sure they will be contenders for the category ‘Company of the Year’ in a few years’ time.