Tea company shines in awards

James Dawson of t plus drinks receives his Shining Lights awards from Alex Hewitt of sponsors The Best of Harrogate.
James Dawson of t plus drinks receives his Shining Lights awards from Alex Hewitt of sponsors The Best of Harrogate.

A tea company with a mission to get everyone to drink and live better has won the top prize in a new competition aimed at rewarding the best new businesses in the Harrogate district.

The firm t plus drinks was the overall winner of the newly created Shining Lights, a competition set up by Harrogate Borough Council in association with online business guide The Best of Harrogate.

The competition celebrates new businesses based in the Harrogate district and supports them in taking their business to the next stage of development. To qualify, businesses had to be less than three years old.

There were three categories in the competition:

The Brand Beacon sponsored by NY design - for businesses that have launched a new brand, used imaginative marketing or built an impressive news sales ‘pipeline’.

The winner was Lucy Burke and her company Little Dandies, a hand printed baby and toddler wear business.

The Ops Lighthouse sponsored by e-marketing company Kula Hub - for businesses that have found innovative solutions to problems, streamlined their operations, or embraced new technology to save time or money.

This category was won by Paul Rawlinson of Baltzersens – a Scandinavian inspired café and restaurant.

The People’s Spotlight sponsored by ZW Coaching – for businesses that have helped others to shine by showing a commitment to continued professional development, developed strong management techniques, developed virtual teams or invested in customer relations.

This award went to James Dawson founder of t plus drinks, which also walked away with the overall prize. This was awarded to the business that the judges felt had the best application and the potential for the greatest economic impact on the district.

All the winners received a cash prize and in-kind expert support from sponsors, to support their company’s continued growth.

In true Oscar fashion, James Dawson was unavailable to collect his award at the presentation but received it a few days later by Alex Hewitt of sponsors The Best of Harrogate.

Receiving his Shining Lights star trophy, James said: “I’m thrilled. This is our first ever award.”

“The standard of competition was really high, so I am very pleased and it means a lot.

“The money will obviously help but more importantly the in-kind support we will get from the sponsors will make a real difference. We will now have the money and expertise on hand to support our brand re-launch in the New Year.”

Presenting James with his award, Alex Hewitt from The Best of Harrogate said: “The quality of the Shining Lights entries was far and away higher than I had expected, and reflects how many good, young businesses there now are in the Harrogate district.

“It’s been really rewarding to be able to play a part in helping these new businesses on to their next steps.”

Head of the Shining Lights judging panel was Coun Graham Swift, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Enterprise.

He said: “A vital element in the council’s work to ensure a strong local economy is giving support to new local businesses.

“The Harrogate district has an excellent rate of business start-ups, and this competition has demonstrated the remarkable quality and creativity of some of those new businesses.

“The judges knew we were going to have a hard task ahead of us, and that certainly proved to be the case.

“Congratulations to all the winners, runners-up and everyone who took part in the first year of our Shining Lights competition. I am sure it can only go from strength to strength.”

The other Shining Lights judges were: Lucy Hind from Covance, Mark Roberts of Beer Hawk, John Dodgson from Barclays Bank and The Best of Harrogate’s Alex Hewitt.

Free support for new and start-up businesses is available by visiting www.harrogate.gov.uk/business