Ain’t no party like a Croydon Business Excellence Awards party
Smart parking startup Hozah crowned 2019’s best business for digital, data and tech - closely followed by Uniqodo and Rise Media.
Huge congratulations to Hozah, the very deserving winners of this year’s best business for digital, data and technology at the Croydon Business Awards!
This time last year, I was a few weeks out from starting in this job as Croydon’s Chief Digital Officer. I remember being at home with my wife, half watching whatever we were watching on Netflix and half keeping an eye on the @croydonawards Twitter feed and hashtag, getting familiar with some of the great local businesses that would soon be my stakeholders and colleagues.
I was blown away by the quality and diversity of the companies being honoured, and even more so by the overwhelming sense of how supportive our business community are of one another and the passionate local pride that we are lucky to have here in Croydon. (Thank goodness all this talent wasn’t destroyed in one fell swoop by an unexploded WW2 bomb!)
So I was thrilled to be asked to be judge and ambassador for the digital category of the awards this year. It was a pleasure to be in the room last night instead of on my sofa – black tie and glitz notwithstanding! (so not my thing) – to celebrate the incredible hard work of all the great businesses shortlisted across the categories. But I of course clapped and whooped loudest for the tech businesses – Croydon Digital community in da house!
It’s a cliche to say it was a tough decision to pick a winner. But it’s true. I had expert help from local legend Sarah Luxford and friend of the Cronx Richard Roome (from this year’s category sponsors, Littlefiish) – and all 3 of us were impressed by the 10 shortlisted companies. Read about them here – they’re great, and well worth your getting to know.
Best business for digital, data and tech
- And the winners are… Hozah, who came out on top with high scores against all criteria. They’ve built a truly excellent user experience for their customers, backed with clever AI behind the scenes. It massively improves the reliability of number plate recognition, allowing them to operate an automated billing system with a “no fine guarantee”. A great example of taking the pain out of an everyday task. Hozah has grown fast, won investment and has significant potential to scale. They’re also a great employer with a truly digital, agile and creative culture (helped along by being housed in SINC) – and with a passionate commitment to Croydon. Well done Naomi, David and the whole Hozah crew – recognition well deserved.
- Highly Commended status went to Uniqodo, an absolutely brilliant company specialising in unique voucher codes for marketing promotions, with a solution that makes it easy for marketers to embed the codes in their own platforms. We loved hearing about the company culture, which is about as flexible and internet-era as it gets, and the company’s journey and growth.
- The Commended gong went to the fabulously creative Rise Media, who punch massively above their weight in full-service production of high quality video and sophisticated multi-stage campaigns for major brands. Housed in Croydon’s supercool TMRW hub, they too have a cracking team culture, do loads of great work for the local community, and innovate to give themselves a competitive edge.
Thanks to the other runners and riders for telling us about your amazing businesses and journeys. Congratulations again for being shortlisted – itself a huge achievement and it was genuinely gutting not to give the prize to you all. I’m told that’s not how it works.
And as for the rest of you – make sure you apply next year!
Croydon tech wins in other categories
[edit 7/10/19: Tina from Reddoor gently reminded me to add this shout out to the tech businesses honoured in other categories].
Massive congratulations also goes out to:
- Sussex Innovation Croydon, who won Best Business for Customer Service, and their Eva Poliszczuk who won Enterprising Young Person of the year
- RedDoor IT, who were commended in the Best Business for Customer Service category
- Click Entertainment (video games wholesaler who we’re adopting as one of ours!) who won Best Employer and Go2Games (games retailer, likewise) highly commended for SME Excellence
- David Fowle from Hozah, who was also commended for Entrepreneur of the Year
And finally a shout out to Ladbroke Audio, who Sarah, Richard and I put forward from our digital category for overall Business of the Year. We loved their ethos and positive representation of Croydon, how they’ve ridden the tidal wave of digital disruption in their industry and turned it to their advantage, and their insistence on quality in their product.