The seventh celebration of Independent Kent Businesses took place on 12 October at the Great Danes Hotel.
The IBAK Awards, formerly known as The Kent Independent Traders Awards (KITA), receives nominations from across the whole county from start-ups (trading under 24 months) to well established companies who are rewarded for their growth and vision.

“These awards truly are a celebration,” said Lisa Settle, Director of Telcare Limited and a member of the judging panel.
“By the time the event is underway, all the hard work has been done, and finalists are encouraged to sit back, mingle with the other guests and enjoy the evening.
“It was an inspiring evening at the Independent Business Awards, Kent – what a privilege to be surrounded by so many entrepreneurs representing a variety of industries. It is refreshing to meet people who are truly committed to making a difference to others whilst working on their own success.”
This year, 13 categories were recognised on the evening, with an extra award – Inspired Achievement – presented at the close of
the ceremony.

IBAK-awards3The standard of entries is getting stronger year on year, and judge Alison Chapman, a former Kent Women in Business Award winner and popular television antiques expert, said: “The amazing number of quality entries was exceptional. It’s clear Kent is the place for forward-thinking independent businesses!”
Since the awards were launched back in 2012, co-founder and presenter Hilary Steel explained what makes IBAK so special for the people involved: “It can be a lonely place setting up, running and building a successful business, yet here in Kent there is a sense of community where there is help and support readily available, especially peer to peer support.
“Over the years we have seen business owners grow and go on to share their knowledge and expertise with newer companies in and out of their own sector.
“The ‘collaborative’ culture is also strong in Kent, and many successful commercial relationships are formed at IBAK. It will be interesting to see what 2019 brings for these talented finalists.”

THE WINNERS:

START UP BUSINESS
Baskerville’s Coffee House

HOME BASED BUSINESS
Elegantini Limited

RESTAURANT/ BAR/CAFE
Cinnamon Spice

COMMUNITY AWARD
VET 2U Limited

INNOVATION AWARD
HRP Equestrian

KENT BUSINESS (UNDER 5 YEARS)
Olive Tree Building Services Limited

KENT BUSINESS (OVER 5 YEARS)
Chives the Caterers

BUSINESS GROWTH
Olive Tree Building Services Limited

PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT
The BIS Services

DIGITAL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Ecce

EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR
Garden of England Home and Day Care

SERVICE EXCELLENCE
William Whitmey Independent Funeral Directors

CREATIVE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Fast2Foto

INSPIRED ACHIEVEMENT
Helen Ross – HRP Equestrian

JUDGES:

IBAK-awards1

The 2018 judges: Lisa Settle-Telcare Ltd,
Lorraine May- Basepoint Folkestone, Roger Williams-Intelligent Linking, Alison Chapman-Kent Women in Business Winner and TV Antiques Presenter, Rasa Dregva-Owner of MMM Magazine and Kent Women in Business Award Winner, Susannah Schofield-OBE, CEO of PitchDMM & SportDMM