Best Business Awards Seahaven 2024

Enterprising Gymnastics Academy scoops top prize at Best Business Awards.

Business of the Year – sponsored by Newhaven Enterprise Zone

A company that inspires young people in gymnastics and their future careers took the top business prize at the Seahaven Business Awards on 17 May 2024. The judges decided that Harbourside Gymnastics Academy of Newhaven, run by Claire and Mark Smoker, deserved the Best Business Award for their dedication and pride in instilling confidence in pupils from pre-school to adulthood with their gymnastics training academy. They train and coach over 500 young people, 7 days a week and 50 weeks of the year. Recreational classes often lead to competitions, which produced 27 gold medals earlier this year.

Maverick Boat Adventures, runner-up, is a business venture dream run by owner Paul Burns, who decided to start a business with family and friends on the water offering boat trips, watersports and private charters along our beautiful stretch of coastline. Who says dreams don’t become reality?

In third place was The Yemeni Coffee Company of Peacehaven. Yahya Al-Hattabi imports coffee directly from farmers in the Yemen, roasting it locally, supplying it to retail and wholesale, and serving it to customers in his coffee shop in Peacehaven. 

Best Customer Service Award – sponsored by the Sussex Sign Company

The Viceroy Indian Restaurant of Newhaven received over 100 nominations for Best Customer Service. Abdul Ahmed’s restaurant and takeaway have served authentic Indian cuisine for over 36 years and recently won the Curry Life Best Chef in East Sussex Award. 

Second in this category was a young couple, Kirsty and Guy, who run Bonnie’s News and Peacehaven Post Office and say they couldn’t do it without their lovely customers who support them daily.

In 3rd place was Havens Community Cars – a local charity that provides a vital transport lifeline for people who can’t use public transport to get to hospital appointments, the doctors, and even to enjoy a coffee with friends. The service has changed hundreds of people’s lives and is all run by volunteers.

Business Person of the Year – sponsored by Swindell’s Accounting

Owner of Seaford’s Secret Fairy’s Bookshop, Rachel Ayres, is dedicated to encouraging children to read. She is everywhere… organising book parties, providing books at no cost through sponsored events, supplying primary schools, selling at local markets, and even organising children’s mental health books sponsored free to local schools. This is a well-deserved award that benefits children’s learning.

Miranda Bearns-Lowles was runner-up. Described as ‘supportive and enthusiastic,’ she creates a safe, caring, and fun environment for Seaford Town Market stallholders. Third is Teresa Simmons, whose shop is a haven for crafters. In addition to sewing and cakemaking, her model is based on an unwavering dedication to plant and community.

Best Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Award – sponsored by Experience It Now Travel

This category was hotly contested, and we received some exceptional entries. In third place was Be Well with Shell, a wellness business providing massage, beauty, holistic, fitness, and nutritional services. Jane Evans Hypnotherapy, whose clients say ‘she has worked miracles’ with them and helped them turn their lives around by making small changes at a time, took second place. 

The winner of this category was Whittfit Training. This independent gym is family-run and provides customers with what they want. In addition to the expected top kit, a nutrition coach, sports massage and an injury clinic, they have a Strength Builder Programme and give back to others in the community.

The President’s Award for Best Artistic Enterprise – sponsored by Mike Shorer Jewellery

Paul Cox Sculpture won the Best Artistic Enterprise Award. Paul is an artist and sculptor who has an online shop selling inspired and beautiful works of art that add grace and elegance to anyone’s gardens. Paul trained at the Royal Academy and learned from artists like Anthony Gormley. He works from his studio and shop in Newhaven.

Julie Terry, an inspirational singing teacher and performer who is growing her business, came second. Photographer Paula Jackson, who is making great strides with her business of community events, family portraits, pets, and children, came third.

Best Environmental Business – sponsored by Fine Marketing

Seahaven is definitely attracting some exciting green businesses. This year, the winner in this category was a CIC business that collects ‘end-of-day’ produce from 18 partner stores (which would otherwise be sent to landfill) and redistributes it to individuals and families in the local community. Their volunteers operate 365 days a year, saving one million kg of CO2 emissions.

Sussex Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps came in second, providing renewable energy solutions. The company use suppliers and manufacturers who share their commitment to reducing waste and carbon emissions. 

In third place was Take Good Care, a Wellness Lifestyle brand focusing on self-care and the environment. They sell a range of quality, sustainable, vegan-friendly, and cruelty-free skin products online from Newhaven and in their shop in Lewes.

Best New Business – sponsored by Newhaven Enterprise Centre

It is always exciting to hear about new business ventures; this year was no exception. Seafront Vet Clinic, an independent veterinary clinic that has promised to remain so, won this category.

The runner-up was a teenager, Ellie Mae Watson, from Elite Muscle Welfare, a sports massage clinic located within Whittfit Gym. Third was SWAPPI Technologies, a software business from Peacehaven that has developed town apps.

Special Thank You to Sponsors

Finally, a thank you to our gold sponsors, Charles Cox Property Group; our silver sponsors, Lewes District Council, Cleankill Pest Control and Meeching Estate agents for sponsoring the wine; Seaford’s V. R. Flowers and Son for the magnificent balloons; Arlettes Florists for the beautiful flower arrangements and of course our MC for the evening John Young without whom the event would not have been as heartwarming and memorable. Thank you to the Seaford Chamber of Commerce and the Peacehaven Chamber for all your help and support! We will see you all again next year for the 20th Annual Seahaven Business Awards! 

See the 2024 Seahaven Business Awards gallery

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