Winners of Mayor of Hackney s Business Awards 2009 revealed

The borough’s leading entrepreneurs were celebrated last night (Tues 28 April) at an event held for the winners and finalists of the Mayor of Hackney’s Business Awards 2009.

Now in their fourth year, the annual awards are dedicated to recognising and celebrating the excellence and diversity of businesses in the borough.

A team of highly prestigious judges from the world of business and media joined the Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, in presenting awards to the outstanding local entrepreneurs at Shoreditch Town Hall.

Jules Pipe, elected Mayor of Hackney, said: “Once again, I am delighted that this year’s awards have been judged by a prestigious panel from the world of business who all have a connection with Hackney. I realise that businesses are facing more challenges than usual this year due to the current global economic climate. Despite this, the judges and I were very impressed with the high calibre of entries, so congratulations to all our winners.”

The evening was hosted by Declan Curry, presenter of BBC business programme Working Lunch.

Referring to the global economic climate, Declan told the audience of local businesses: “It is right that we celebrate successes because it has never been more important to be good at what you do in business”.

He added: “In tough times like this you have to be at the top of your game. It’s at times like these you can find most opportunities, take most risks and be the boldest you can be.”

Joining the Mayor on the judging panel were: Sinclair Beecham MBE, co-founder of Pret a Manger and owner of the Hoxton Hotel; Ian King, Deputy Business Editor of The Times and Hackney resident; Yvonne Thompson CBE, one of the founders of Choice FM; and Enzo Testa, Executive Managing Director of newspaper group Archant London, which publishes the Hackney Gazette.

In the ‘Best in the Business’ category, the judges decided it was impossible to choose one overall winner because of the extremely high calibre of the entries. Instead they chose to award prizes for those they judged to be the ‘Best in their Business’, focusing on what they identified as three key sectors of Hackney’s economy: new media and digital industries; food sector; arts and creative.


1.Seren – for focus on excellence in providing a wide range of innovative services tailored to new media and digital industry clients.
2.YumYum – for excellence in quality and choice in the borough’s food sector.
3.Holborn Studios – for high quality work, professionalism and commitment to training and encouraging young people into the photographic industry.

Terry Heath, chairman of Seren, said: “The reason we chose to put our business in Hackney was because it seemed to be the place where small, innovative businesses would thrive. We’ve been here for five years now. We’re so pleased and proud to have won this award and to have been recognised.”

Atique Choudhury, owner of YumYum restaurant, said: “I started my first business 26 years ago in Hackney. Hackney has changed in a large way since then. The people and the offering have changed. It’s nice to be given the credit for something special.”

Vince McCartney, chairman of Holborn Studios, said: “Hackney must be one of the best places in London to live or work. The journey to the 2012 Games will only make things better for us as long as we apply the three As: aspiration, ability and ‘ard work.”

Full list of winners:

Best Young Entrepreneur 2009 (under 30 years old)
Café Oto
Run by husband and wife team Hamish and Keiko Dunbar, Café Oto was set up in 2008 as a vibrant café and arts and music centre in the heart of Dalston.

Best New Business Idea 2009 (14 to 19 years old)
Skinners’ Company’s School for Girls for ‘Hidden Hackney’
Hidden Hackney was set up by a group of six students to provide a tour guide service for the borough, raising awareness of the area’s heritage and inspiring residents and visitors to discover ‘Hidden Hackney’.

Best New Start-Up 2009
Artburst Ltd
Artburst Ltd is a dynamic performing arts company which provides creative educational arts workshops for young people and their families.

Best Environmental Practice 2009
JoJu Ltd
JoJu is a solar energy business supplying design and installation of photovoltaic solar energy systems, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Best Ethnic Minority Business 2009
Avrupa Gazete
Avrupa is a weekly broadsheet newspaper which provides a vital link between Hackney’s Turkish community and their local area.

Best Product Design 2009
Mawi Ltd
Mawi designs and produces one-off pieces of costume jewellery with an impressive client list that includes luxury retailers worldwide.

Highly commended:
Alex Ramsay, silversmith,
Ryan Frank, furniture maker,

Best Women’s Business 2009
Joint winners:

Imtaz Bespoke Tailor
Imtaz Khaliq established her couture tailoring business over 16 years ago, creating exclusive garments for men and women, as well as delivering one-to-one tailoring classes.

Lemon Monkey
Lemon Monkey is an independent fine food store and café in Stoke Newington, set up by two women entrepreneurs to provide a vibrant and convivial approach to food.

Best Social Enterprise 2009
Arcola Theatre
Arcola Theatre is an off-West End theatre in the heart of Dalston which boasts an acclaimed artistic programme alongside an extensive youth and community programme.

Highly commended:
Core Landscape, offering on the job training,
Point Blank, creative and media training provider,

Best in the Business 2009
Joint winners:

Seren is an expanding service design consultancy delivering innovative and exciting projects for a range of global organisations, focussing on outstanding customer experiences.

YumYum is a popular Thai restaurant in Stoke Newington which has won a number of food and drink awards. Its founder is a supporter of the local community, offering workplace visits for local schools as well as mentoring young people.

Holborn Studios Ltd
This year Holborn Studios celebrates its 30th year as London’s leading photographic studio hire complex. It’s the largest complex of its kind in Europe and has been used by the some of the world’s most renowned photographers and artists, including David Bailey and Patrick Litchfield.

•Find out more about the Mayor of Hackney’s Business Awards 2009: