Saturday, July 21, 2012

Open 4 Business Dorset 2012 Awards

The Open 4 Business Dorset 2012 Awards are now open for entries from Dorset businesses. There are nine categories of award, including new awards for best employer and best marketing campaign, as well as an award for outstanding personal contribution to local business and the Business of the Year 2012 award.

BEST COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT sponsored by Battens Solicitors, a previous O4B winner. Awarded to the business that is best able to demonstrate how it has made a real difference to people at a local, national or international level.

BEST EMPLOYER (NEW) sponsored by Wessex FM. Awarded to the business that, in the opinion of the judges, recognises the value of its staff members as individuals and goes the extra mile to ensure that the workforce is happy and fulfilled at work and supported and encouraged to achieve their potential.

BEST CUSTOMER FOCUS sponsored by Puragen Renewable Energy. Awarded to the business that is best able to present a well-thought-out and implemented customer plan and demonstrate its success through achievement of high and measurable levels of customer satisfaction.

BEST NEW INNOVATION/SERVICE sponsored by Subsea Asset Location (SALT), a previous O4B winner. Awarded to the business that is best able to demonstrate a radical innovation that has directly led to a new product or service.

BEST MARKETING CAMPAIGN (NEW) sponsored by Resort Marketing. Awarded to the business that is best able to demonstrate the effective use of a particularly innovative or extensive marketing campaign for its own or a client’s business.

BEST SMALL TO MEDIUM BUSINESS sponsored by Lloyds TSB Commercial. Awarded to the business with less than 50 employees that can demonstrate the most successful all round achievements in all aspects of its business operations.

BEST LARGE BUSINESS sponsored by Old Mill Accountants and Financial Planners. Awarded to the business with more than 50 employees that can demonstrate the most successful all round achievements in all aspects of its business operations.

BEST NEW BUSINESS sponsored by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Awarded to the enterprise that has been most successful in turning an initial business plan into a business success.

BEST OF DORSET FOOD & DRINK sponsored by DJ Property.

OUTSTANDING PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION sponsored by Porter Dodson solicitors. This award goes to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to local business in the past year.

OPEN 4 BUSINESS, BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD, in association with Dorset Eco and Weymouth College. Awarded to the business who has achieved outstanding marks during the judging process and a business who the judges agree deserves the Business of the Year Award 2012.


The 2012 awards programme was launched at a business breakfast hosted by Weymouth College on Monday 11 June. Julie Cleaver, Managing Director of Open 4 Business Dorset, thanked all sponsors and supporters present, including the main sponsor, Weymouth College, and media sponsor, the Dorset Echo.

Important dates

The closing date is 24 September, allowing businesses time to reflect and prepare their entries after the Games. There will be a one-day business conference on 18 October which will focus on ‘Platforms for Future Growth’ plus other Open 4 Business events happening throughout October.

The awards ceremony and dinner, sponsored by Albert Goodman, is on 25 October.

Updated 2 August 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nelly Pepper Win Venus Dorset Women in Business Award

Inspirational homewares and gifts website, Nelly Pepper, has won Dot Com Business of the Year, in the prestigious Venus Dorset Women in Business Awards.

Taking the stage to receive their award at Langtry Manor, Bournemouth, on 17th May, were Jane Kelly and Zoe Friskney, who, together started up the funky and innovative kitchen, homewares and gifts business, a mere eighteen months ago. 

“Starting up in business in the middle of a recession was something of a risk” explained Jane. “Zoe and I had a strong vision as to what we wanted to create with our business, but, we also knew we had the drive and enthusiasm we were going to need to make it work.  Winning this award has given us an incredible boost and cemented in us the belief that what we are doing is something different and is getting noticed.”

Starting up the e-commerce company has been a steep learning curve for both the women, whose, ‘life and careers BC (Before Children)’ as they candidly put it, did little to equip them with the skills they would need to run a successful internet business. 

“I could never have imagined myself starting up a business of my own,” mused Cornish born Zoe, who says her love of the coast means she could never live too far from the sea, as walks along the Dorset beaches influence her choice of style.

“But I feel so lucky to have been able to combine by love of interiors and funky design and turn it into Nelly Pepper.  Being a small business means we are able to give our customers a very personal service and through our blog, Facebook and YouTube, they are able to see who Nelly Pepper really are." 

"We love to seek out products that give your home the wow factor with unique items your friends won’t have seen in the High Street or in major department stores and we thrive to offer our customers that something special at affordable prices.  Everyone needs a bit of Nelly Pepper in their lives!”

Winning such an esteemed award so early on in their Nelly Pepper careers doesn’t mean resting on their laurels though.  With the key to success being firmly in sourcing new product lines to keep their loyal followers impressed, as well as entice new customers to their nest, the Champagne is back on ice in anticipation of the next prestigious win!

(Photo: Jane Kelly and Zoe Friskney accept their Dot Com Best Business Award)

Read more Dorset start-up and success stories