Two Luton entrepreneurs carried off top trophies at the FSB Bedfordshire Business Awards on Thursday night.
Mostaque Koyes, of print company Bartham Group, off Sundon Park Road, and Irena Oliver, of home-based franchise FM Cosmetics, were lauded by judges and the audience at The Conservatory at Luton Hoo.
Mr Koyes won the Employee of the Year award, sponsored by Luton company Basepoint.
He is the creator of the annual Community Awards which have raised many thousands of pounds for charity and was also in the team collecting the Community Business award, sponsored by Center Parcs, on behalf of the Bartham Group.
Mr Koyes said: “The awards night was fantastic and with so many great businesses in Bedfordshire it was amazing to win. It was not expected as our application was made at the last minute after one of our friends recommended that we enter!
“Doing business these days is not just about providing great customer service as that is expected.
“I always look to the long term and work with people to build relationships of trust. I have found that by doing that, business automatically comes back, even if it takes a while.
“The whole Bartham Group team thoroughly enjoyed the awards and I am looking forward to seeing many of the winners at the Community Awards later this year.”
The judges said “giving something back is very close to this business” and praised Mr Koyes for his “selfless involvement in the wider community.”
Irena Oliver, of FM Cosmetics, won the Business Person of the Year category.
One of the judges said “wow, what an inspiration!” She also took runner-up spot in the Real Life Entrepreneur category.
Creative advertising agency Stare Into The Sun, Ltd, of Basepoint Business & Innovation Centre, Butterfield, Great Marlings, was runner up in the Best New Business category, sponsored by Wenta.
Marc Scott, of Liberty Bishop Contractor Services, also from Basepoint Business & Innovation Centre, was runner up in the Young Business Person category.
The overall winner was Georgia O’Keefe, of Look C, in Biggleswade.