Monday, 18 October 2021

Companies win national recognition with awards

A MAN who quit his job to start his own company has won a national business award.

A MAN who quit his job to start his own company has won a national business award.

Dr David Hodgkinson, who is managing director of Henley scientific and maths consultancy firm Quintessa, was named employee-owner of the year at the UK Employee Ownership Awards.

He was presented with the award by BBC newsreader Martine Croxall at a ceremony in Birmingham.

In 1999, he left another Henley consultancy business QuantiSci and started Quintessa from the bedroom of his then home in Peppard Lane.

Within three months, the company had premises at Bix Manor, then moved to Dalton House in Newtown Road, Henley, before settling at The Hub in Station Road in April 2007. The company is now owned by an employee trust on behalf of all 24 staff and no one individual owns shares.

Dr Hodgkinson, who now lives in Harpsden Bottom, said: “We have put a lot of work into Quintessa to be employee-owned.

“It’s about making sure the people who work in the company have control over their own lives and that they input into business decisions.

“You want to feel like you matter and can influence things because at so many companies things are handed down from the board and people are bossed around.

“We think that by involving everybody in decision-making you make better decisions.” He added: “It’s nice to get the award as recognition that we pushed this in our own company and we have also been involved with advising other companies thinking about taking the same route.”

Meanwhile, a fireworks company from Sonning has won another national award.

Sonning Fireworks picked up the title of best wedding entertainment for London and the South-East at the Wedding Industry Awards.

It comes just two months after the company won the Fireworks Champions event at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire.

Sonning Fireworks was founded in 1998 by Reading Blue Coat School chemistry teacher Paul Brown and former students Chris Clarke and John Field. It stages regular shows, including the two annual fireworks displays at the Sonning independent school and Reading Abbey RFC.

Mr Clarke said: “After winning the Fireworks Champions we didn’t think this year could get any better so this is the icing on the cake.

“This year we saw record attendances at our November shows and some venues had to close their doors.”

Mr Brown added: “We are a small business which enables us to focus on our shows rather than being overwhelmed with work we can’t handle.

“Often fireworks companies expand too fast, taking on large amounts of November work which causes a drop in quality.

“We focus on reliability and quality: the show simply must fire on time and be of a high quality without fail.”

Meanwhile, a digital design agency based in Henley has been honoured for its work promoting a major film.

Redberry Communications, of Duke Street, won the Wirehive 100 Award for best mobile project for its iOS and Android app Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which was made in conjunction with 20th Century Fox for the release of the third instalment of the franchise last year.

Brothers Tim and Simon Redgate, who set up the company with Piers Berry 10 years ago, accepted the award at a gala ceremony in Guildford.

The Wirehive 100 Awards, now in their fourth year, were set up to honour digital agencies based in the South-East but outside London. Simon Redgate said: “It’s our first award.”

The app involved users scanning images and symbols from social media, print media, the British Museum and selected locations along Regent Street as part of the Christmas lights switch-on event last year. Each symbol presented a challenge when scanned and then, if completed successfully, unlocked exclusive film content.

Mr Redgate said: “20th Centry Fox were really happy with the outcome. They loved the engagement with consumers.”

• Digital Henley, which is organised by Redberry, will hold its next meeting at the Red Lion Hotel in Hart Street on January 27. Guest speakers will be talking about social media. Entry is free.

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