SURREY: Sonin Celebrate Gold at SDA17

Following the third annual Surrey Digital Awards on 9 March, we spoke to Paul Jarrett, Managing Director at Sonin App Development, who won Gold for ‘Mobile App’ for their work for Forfeit Football.

Could you tell us a little about your organisation?
At Sonin we specialise in helping businesses and entrepreneurs in Surrey and beyond to utilise mobile apps and the latest technology to reach their customers, improve their businesses and create the most engaging mobile experiences. We’ve worked with a range of clients, from large enterprises, to SMEs, to independent start-ups.

What made you get involved in the SDAs?
As The Surrey Digital Awards is a platform to reward both innovation and forward thinking, we wanted to showcase to all businesses how effective mobile technology can be to achieve their goals, and see real results. Getting involved also gave us the chance to see fantastic examples of how other businesses are leveraging digital technology in new and innovative ways!

What does winning gold at the SDAs mean to your organisation?
Winning gold is a huge achievement not only for us, but also for our clients. In such a competitive market where first impressions are vital to the success of an app, it’s important that we give our clients that competitive edge to help them stand out from the crowd.

Where will you be putting your award?
In our reception area right next to our bronze award from 2016! We want everyone who walks through our doors to know that we only create award winning apps for all of our clients.

What was your most memorable moment from the SDA presentation evening?
Hearing that we won gold is naturally the most memorable moment for us. However, the energy in the room was fantastic and it was great to see so many businesses passionate about creating immersive digital experiences for themselves and their clients. Innovation is key, and this was certainly on show!

What’s the best thing about the Surrey business community?
The Surrey business community is a friendly and supportive network, who not only celebrate businesses who are embracing new technology, but encourage others during a time where digital is vital for all businesses.

You can find out more about Sonin at their website right here.

SURREY: Plug And Play Pick Up Two Awards at SDA17

Following the third annual Surrey Digital Awards on 9 March, we spoke to Gabrielle Richardson, Operations Manager at Plug and Play, who won Gold for ‘Website: Lifestyle & Culture’ for their work for Somlo, as well as silver in ‘Website: Sports & Entertainment’ for The Jockey Club Live.

Could you tell us a little about your organisation?
We are a full service digital agency offering web design and digital marketing services to a wide range of clients. We started out in a spare bedroom in 2006 and now have a team of 15 and offices in Surrey and London. Our clients are a mix of small businesses, startups and large corporates each looking to improve their online presence, which is where we come in.

What made you get involved in the SDAs?
We love working with our clients in Surrey- it’s where we started out and we’ve always had a strong presence in the area. We’re really proud of the work we’ve done recently and jumped at the chance to showcase it.

What does winning gold at the SDAs mean to your organisation?
Being recognised for our hard work with our nomination was really exciting, so winning was just the icing on the cake. Somlo was a real passion project for us so we’re thrilled that it’s been so well received.

Where will you be putting your award?
We’re leaving our office in Godalming to move to a base in Guildford over the next few months, so we are looking forward to our award taking pride of place in our new home!

What was your most memorable moment from the SDA presentation evening?
Sadly we weren’t able to make it to the night itself! We were really disappointed not to be able to pick up our award or meet any of the other nominees on the night, but will definitely be there next year.

What’s the best thing about the Surrey business community?
The variety of different businesses in Surrey is really interesting. We work with clients based in both London and Surrey and our Surrey clients are certainly as much fun as the London ones!

You can find a lovely post by the company themselves on their website target=”_blank”>right here.

SURREY: DadBlogUK Discuss Winning Gold at SDA17

Following the third annual Surrey Digital Awards on 9 March, we spoke to John Adams, founder of DadBlogUK, who won Gold in our ‘Blog’ category.

Could you tell us a little about your organisation?
I originally set my company up as a PR company. It was something I did on the side while blogging about parenting and fatherhood was a hobby. Over time, however, I realised I could make money as a blogger and turned the business on its head with the focus on blogging and writing with PR becoming a sideline. The fact remains, however, that I am the main carer for my children. I fit my blogging activities around family life: the school run, after school clubs, homework etc.

What made you get involved in the SDAs?
The Internet is without borders and operates internationally. This is how I have always approached my blogging. Although I have an International focus, I thought it was about time to cement my reputation as a Surrey-based blogger. I entered the awards in the hope it may increase my profile. I certainly didn’t expect to win a Gold award.

What does winning gold at the SDAs mean to your organisation?
Winning the Gold award is superb recognition of what I do. It increases my profile and further demonstrates that us bloggers are now a part of the mainstream media scene and have influence.

Where will you be putting your award?
I will be putting up some picture hooks and hanging it on the wall in my office.

What was your most memorable moment from the SDA presentation evening?
The most memorable moment was when Robin started reading out the description of the Blog award Gold winner. I was convinced Informed Choice was going to win but he started describing a parenting blog. As I was the only parenting blog in the finals it was clear I had won the award. I then had a minor panic as I knew I’d have to get on stage and say a few words when I hadn’t prepared anything! I was sat next to Catherine from Deco Baby who won the Silver Online retailer award. She had turned to me beforehand and said she thought I was going to win. They were very kind words but I was totally unconvinced until the big reveal.

What’s the best thing about the Surrey business community?
I have always found the Surrey business community to be very friendly and approachable. Being so close to London, I think the community is influenced by the city and very dynamic. I am glad to be a part of it.

You can target=”_blank”>find out more about DadBlogUK by clicking here.

MILTON KEYNES: Vusiem Discuss Their Gold-Winning App for the British Museum

Following the Milton Keynes Digital Awards on 13 October, we spoke to Aarthi Irvathraya of Vusiem, who won Gold for Mobile App for their British Museum guide.

Could you tell us a little about your organisation?
At Vusiem, we are focused on creating interactive educational experiences for museums and galleries. Our goal is to create a next-generation technology platform that is fun, easily accessible, appeals to an emerging digital-savvy young audience and gets them involved in our fantastic museums showcasing our heritage and human ingenuity.

What made you get involved in the MKDAs?
Digital is the future, both of our post-Brexit economy and our increasingly plugged-in way of life. With such breathtaking innovations that are going on in the digital space, we were eager to showcase some of the interesting stuff that we at Vusiem have been up to. And what better place to showcase our achievements than at the annual Milton Keynes Digital Awards.

What does winning gold at the MKDAs mean to your organisation?
These awards are a tremendous encouragement for us. As a startup, it is often a lot of hardwork, late nights and seemingly endless bouts of tough challenges. When such an opportunity to celebrate comes along, it is like a shot of adrenaline right into the veins of our motivation.

Where will you be putting your award?
Right at the entrance, where everyone can see. Where else?!! It does make for such a great showcase and conversation-starter.

What was your most memorable moment from the MKDA presentation evening?
To be honest, we were not expecting to win the gold considering the stellar competition in the Mobile App category. So, after the bronze and silver awards were announced, we were a bit downcast wondering what to do the rest of the evening. So when we were called out for the Gold, it certainly came as a bit of a shock and surprise (albeit in an extremely good way!!).

What’s the best thing about the Milton Keynes business community?
There are places which are great places to work but can be a bit boring to live. And there are places which are great places to live but are the back of beyond from a business perspective. The fantastic thing about Milton Keynes is that it is not only a great place to live for a young family like ours, but also buzzing with entrepreneurship and business growth. The community here is closely-knit and very supportive to entrepreneurs like us with a special mention to the digitally ambitious and pro-innovation initiatives of the Milton Keynes Council and Administration.

You can find out more about Vusiem at their website here.

HERTFORDSHIRE: Bishop’s Stortford College Double Up On Gold Awards

Following the Hertfordshire Digital Awards on 23 September, we spoke to Sarah Gowans, Marketing Manager at Bishop’s Stortford College – who won two Gold awards, for Website and Website: School, Education or Charity.

Could you tell us a little about your organisation?
We are an independent day and boarding school for 4 – 18 years olds. We are consistently in the top 100 independent schools based on A Level results but the breadth of experience that is woven into daily life means that pupils can and do pursue high academic standards whilst enjoying and succeeding in many other interests.

What made you get involved in the HDAs?
We saw an ad and filled in the entry form. Our website was new and only launched in October last year and we’re very proud of it – it’s our shop window to the world.

What does winning gold at the HDAs mean to your organisation?
It’s a tremendous accolade and a reflection that not all the good work goes on in the classroom!

Where will you be putting your award?
One will be put into our main reception and the other into the Prep School Reception area.

What was your most memorable moment from the HDA presentation evening?
Not falling up the stairs onto the stage was certainly an achievement and one I’m very relieved about too!

What’s the best thing about the Hertfordshire business community?
We try to use local suppliers and support our local business community wherever we can so to have a wealth of digital talent on our doorstep is not only valuable but stimulating too.

You can visit the Bishop’s Stortford College website here.

HERTFORDSHIRE: Fluid Studios Discuss Winning Gold at HDA16

Following the Hertfordshire Digital Awards on 23 September, we caught up with Baldock-based web designers Fluid Studios – who took home Gold for Use of Social Media for Business, and Bronze for Website:Lifestyle & Culture – to get their take on the evening and find out what winning means to them.

Could you tell us a little about your organisation?
Fluid Studios is a leading website design and development company based in Baldock. Over the last 12 years we have been refining and building our large online portfolio, with a huge variety of clients from sole traders to international corporations. You won’t get a normal website design experience from us, there are so many things that set us apart. We’re a small team of talented individuals with skills in both design and development. We have a massive focus on customer service so you can be sure of always getting a quick and friendly response. We’re bursting with so many ideas we’ve taken to drawing them on our studio walls, honest!

What made you get involved in the HDAs?
Being at the forefront of all things digital and technological is a huge part of our industry, so the Hertfordshire Digital Awards were an excellent opportunity to not only showcase some of our recent designs and development projects, but to also find out more about what the rest of Hertfordshire has to offer.

What does winning gold at the HDAs mean to your organisation?
Winning Gold for ‘use of social media for business’ means a great deal to us, we absolutely love all of our social media platforms, so are over the moon! We have made some great connections through social media and it is a tool that greatly helps to support our business development. Our Marketing Manager, Jessie Lansbury, has worked extremely hard over the last year to build up our social media accounts and help to improve our online presence. Our online brand in particular is something that we have put a lot of time in to, and as a website design company, it is something that is very important to us. We take great care to keep our content well branded and in-line with our brand guidelines. Over the past few years this has helped our posts be instantly recognisable and has greatly helped us build our online presence. Being recognised as being at the forefront of the social media industry in Hertfordshire is just amazing, and something that we are truly proud of.

Where will you be putting your award?
Our gold award will be going in pride of place in our reception area!

What was your most memorable moment from the HDA presentation evening?
There are far too many to choose from! We had an absolutely amazing evening, and it was so lovely to meet and catch up with all of the other finalists. We also loved the quiz – but were pipped to the post by table 5!

What’s the best thing about the Hertfordshire business community?
I think the best thing is the community spirit we have! There are so many instances of Hertfordshire based Businesses working with each other and supporting each other in a whole range of different projects. It’s also amazing to see how many Hertfordshire companies are digital advocates, and taking full advantage of all the digital services that are available to them!

You can find out more about Fluid Studios right here.

UK Government Department Backs The Digital Awards

A new Government Department which was announced last month to promote UK business overseas has given its name to The Digital Awards.

The Department for International Trade – led by The Rt Hon Liam Fox, MP – has signed up as a Supporter of the Digital Awards schemes in Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire.

Previously known as UK Trade & Investment, DIT is responsible for promoting British trade across the world and “ensures the UK takes advantage of the huge opportunities open to it”.

Specifically, DIT is responsible for developing, coordinating and delivering a new trade and investment policy to promote UK business across the globe.

It also develops and negotiates free trade agreements and market access deals with non-EU countries and negotiates plurilateral trade deals (focused on specific sectors or products) and provides operational support for exports and facilitating inward and outward investment.

Robin Bailey, Chair of the Judging Panel at the Digital Awards said: “We are thrilled have the backing of the DIT and it is yet another ‘feather in the cap’ for the Digital Awards which has very quickly grown into one of the most progressive and exciting business and community awards schemes in the UK”.

For more information about DIT click here.

ESSEX: EDA16 Finalists Announced

The finalists of the third Essex Digital Awards, the county’s only scheme dedicated to celebrating online work, have been announced.

The remaining contenders in each of the categories at the Essex Digital Awards 2016 are now in with a chance of clinching Gold, Silver and Bronze accolades at the Presentation Evening on April 14 at Weston Homes Community Stadium, Colchester.

Tickets are available now and expected to shift quickly following last year’s event, which was hailed a tremendous success.

The Essex Digital Awards is the first and only scheme dedicated to recognising the online achievements of businesses, charities and schools from across the county.

EDA organisers claim this year’s event will “break new ground” with an array of networking opportunities and entertainment lined up alongside the grand ceremony.

Iain Johnson from the EDA team revealed that 2016 has been the “most exciting” competition yet.

He added: “What a few months it been for the EDAs and what an impressive group of finalists. Organisations of all sizes from a broad range of industries are represented and the Presentation Evening promises to be a thriller.”

EDA16 is supported by Lookers Volvo Colchester (headline sponsor, Freelance SEO Essex (associate sponsor), Essex Chronicle (media partner), Essex Chambers of Commerce (key supporter), Superfast Essex, Essex Employment & Skills Board, Seetec Skills and Capricorn Media.

To celebrate today’s announcement, all finalists are advised to watch out for an exclusive offer from associate sponsor, Freelance SEO Essex, which will be sent out shortly.

The Essex Digital Awards 2016 Presentation Evening tickets will include an arrival drink, two-course meal and a complimentary third of a bottle of wine person. The event will be hosted by the former BBC presenter Robin Bailey.

Tickets are priced at £59.95+VAT or £539.50+VAT a table of ten. Click here to purchase tickets.


Essex Digital Awards 2016 – The Finalists

 

BLOG: BUSINESS in association with Freelance SEO Essex

Birkett Long LLP
Copperfox Model Horses
Fireplace Products
North Essex Parking Partnership by Colchester Borough Council
Silkstream
The Authentic Branding Company
Voodoo Creative

BLOG: ENTERTAINMENT
Bang On Style
Carousel Diary
Debbie Knight
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy by Skyblue Creations
Julia M. Hammond
Pritchard’s Point of View by Colchester Borough Council
Project: Wanderlust

Mobile App
DF2020 Author
Eye-Sign
Fallen by Teaboy Games
My World Of Atoms
Pro Tax Accounting


ONLINE RETAILER in association with Superfast Essex

Bondara
Bulk Powders
Ingatestone Saddlery Centre by Graphic Evidence
Solopress
The Bra Closet
The Lampshade Company
Visit Essex

RESPONSIVE WEBSITE

Countryside
Creative & Cultural Skills
Geekeey
iHeart Essex
Keith Ashton Estate Agents
TGV

SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITE in association the Essex Employment & Skills Board

Buy Essex
Essex Security Gates
JandJ Cleaning Group by Digital Reflow
Laban Brown Design
Paperless Wedding
Skinners of Tunbridge Wells by MC+Co
Truly Chocolates


USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BUSINESS in association with Seetec Skills
Big Cars
Ford by Burrows
Countryside
Essex Baby
Masuri by Digital Reflow
Radio Essex
The Parachute Regiment, HM Forces


USE OF VIDEO FOR BUSINESS

Angela Makepeace Motion Graphics Studio
Birkett Long LLP
Birketts LLP
Colchester Borough Homes
Ford by Burrows
Photo Booth Party Hire
Vidoo

WEBSITE in association with Lookers Volvo Colchester

Countryside
Laban Brown Design
Solopress
Spiffing Covers
TGV
Thompson Smith and Puxon by Graphic Evidence

WEBSITE: B2B in association with Essex Chambers of Commerce

Business Crowd
Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP
IAC Service Group by MC+Co
Skilful.co
TGV
Think1Marketing
Urban Network

WEBSITE: LIFESTYLE & CULTURE
Essex Baby
Guru Circus
Monumental Ink
Ranfields Brasserie by Skyblue Creations
Sarah Everett Photography
Skinners of Tunbridge Wells by MC+Co
UK Caravan Centre by Skyblue Creations

WEBSITE: MARKETING & CREATIVE
Bright Lights Creative
CliQQ Photography
Laban Brown Design
Polar Creative
Shout Design
Spiffing Covers
TGV

WEBSITE: SCHOOL, EDUCATION OR CHARITY in association with Essex Chronicle

Creative & Cultural Skills
Drapers’ Multi-Academy Trust
Havering College
Panathlon by Graphic Evidence
The Cornelius Vermuyden School by The Grow Creative Co
Thermoplastic Designs & Lines by Ryde Digital
UK College of Business & Computing by Whitefish Marketing

WEBSITE: SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Bulk Powders
Darkworld Gaming
DPL Production Lighting by Digital Pie
EWTO-Essex by Omni-Defence
Monkey Madness Play Centre by Laban Brown Design
The Cake Escape by Design Chambers
Total Fishing Tackle by Green Tornado

WEBSITE: TOURISM & HOSPITALITY
Aussie BBQ Co
Chauffeur Drive London by MC2 Marketing
iHeart Essex
Livedosa
The Cake Escape by Design Chambers
The Kilns Hotel
Visit Essex

ESSEX: Superfast Essex Connects With EDA16

Superfast Essex is to sponsor the “Online Retailer” category at the Essex Digital Awards 2016.

The Superfast Essex broadband programme, co-ordinated by Essex County Council, recognises that Superfast broadband is set to transform the way businesses operate from enabling global enterprise to reducing costs and increasing efficiency with Cloud-based services.

Connie Kerbst, Senior Programme Manager said: “Superfast Essex wants to encourage businesses to make the most of superfast connectivity when it arrives as part of our fibre broadband rollout across the county.

“So far our rollout has reached over 60,000 homes and businesses – the halfway milestone in the overall programme rollout and just 5,000 away from the total set to be reached by the end of the first phase of work, this summer.

“Sponsoring the Essex Digital Awards for a second year helps raise the profile of up and coming Essex-based businesses who have embraced the many benefits that a superfast broadband connection can offer their business. It also lets other businesses know that superfast broadband services are more readily available than ever before across Essex.”

Iain Johnson, from the EDA team, said: “We are delighted to be working with Superfast Essex for the second year running.

“Speedy broadband underpins Essex’s business community and we proud to play our part in promoting the new service that is being made available because of the brilliant Superfast Essex project.”

Superfast Essex has also recently launched a series of free expert-led Digital Business Workshops and an online toolkit to help small businesses improve their digital know-how.

The workshops will cover a range of topics including increasing online sales, attracting new customers, social media, blogging and the importance of Cloud-based systems.

The digital toolkit includes a Digital Health Check, to identify any areas where businesses can improve their digital expertise, and ‘Fast Tips’ download which provides information and advice around a range of digital developments, such as Cloud-based Services, Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media Marketing.

To find out more about the Digital Business Workshops, visit www.superfastessex.org/digitaltoolkit

Other information on business broadband, including a short film with David Bell, Essex Chair of The Federation of Small Businesses, and Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, and Waste & Recycling, on Broadband Improvements in Essex can be viewed by following this link www.superfastessex.org/forbusiness

Find out the latest broadband rollout information for your area at www.superfastessex.org/maps. Anyone not covered by the Superfast Essex programme can register their demand for superfast broadband by completing the Make the Connection Survey at www.superfastessex.org/getinvolved

To enter the Essex Digital Awards – the first and only scheme to exclusively recognise the online achievements of businesses, schools and charities across the county – click http://www.essexdigitalawards.co.uk/enter/

MILTON KEYNES: MKDA15 Winners Announced!

THE shining stars of the borough’s digital talent assembled for the first Milton Keynes Digital Awards, which was hailed a “roaring success”.

Prizes across a range of categories were presented to businesses, schools and charities from across Milton Keynes for their online achievements.

It is the first time an awards scheme within the borough has been exclusively dedicated to online work.

Hosting the event was former BBC journalist Robin Bailey who presented Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes with the help of special guests including Sukh Saini from headline sponsor Pictons Solicitors, the Managing Director of Heart Four Counties, Ian Stuart and Pam Gosal and Sarah Gonsalves from Milton Keynes Council and Invest MK.

Digital marketing agency Interdirect scooped Gold in the flagship “Website” category for their work on behalf of Biogen, a food waste and renewable energy firm.

Design team, SOtechnology, based at Cranfield Innovation Centre, saw double after picking Gold awards in the “Online Business” and “Responsive Website” areas, the former for their creation of an e-store for the Downton Abbey at Home collection.

Fitness orgnanisation, Hybrid Bootcamp won the “Use of Social Media for Business” title, with the help of Aspurian Digital, while Knowlhill communications agency Headlines won the top prize in the “Use of Video for Business” category on behalf of Lafarge Tarmac.

Matthew Hall Photography lifted the “Small Business Website” Gold and language coach, Lindsay Does Languages, walked away with the plaudits in the “Blog” classification.

Other Gold winners included Elixsoft’s “Budweiser Scan to Win” mobile app design and Tony Wild Camping by White Leopard.

White Leopard, a creative design agency in Bow Brickhill, made it double-gold after also coming out on top in the “Website” Marketing & Creative” category.

The gold award in the “Website: School, Education or Charity” section went to Sky Badger, a charity which helps find help and adventure for disabled children and their families across the UK.

Other sponsors of the Milton Keynes Digital Awards 2015 included Capricorn Media, Noise PR and designsixtyfour.com

Milton Keynes Digital Awards 2015 – The Winners

Website: Marketing & Creative

Gold

White Leopard

Silver

Upping Your Elvis by SOtechnology

Bronze

Milky Cereal

Online Business

Gold

Downton Abbey at Home by SOtechnology

Silver

Aspire Personnel by Aspurian Digital

Bronze

Tony Wild Camping by White Leopard

Website: Lifestyle & Culture

Gold

Tony Wild Camping by White Leopard

Silver

Destination Milton Keynes by Interdirect

Bronze

WhatsonMK.com

Use of Video for Business

Gold

Lafarge Tarmac by Headlines

Silver

Una Tickets

Bronze

Lindsay Does Languages

Small Business Website

Gold

Matthew Hall Photography

Silver

Hybrid Bootcamp by Aspurian Digital

Bronze

Smoking Rocket

Blog

Gold

Lindsay Does Languages

Silver

Headlines

Bronze

Kakkoii Club

Mobile App

Gold

Budweiser ‘Scan to Win’ by Elixsoft

Silver

WhatsonMK.com

Bronze

DHL ‘Inside Track’ by Elixsoft

Use of Social Media for Business

Gold

Hybrid Bootcamp by Aspurian Digital

Silver

Lindsay Does Languages

Bronze

The Brasserie at MK College

Responsive Website

Gold

Sasudi by SOtechnology

Silver

Biogen by Interdirect

Bronze

UCC Coffee by White Leopard

Website: School, Education or Charity

Gold

Sky Badger

Silver

Milton Keynes College

Bronze

Wealth Dynamics by SOtechnology

Website

Gold

Biogen by Interdirect

Silver

WhatsonMK.com

Bronze

Milton Keynes College