The team at Agencia is celebrating after being voted the Best Small Business in the UK at this year’s National Family Business Awards.
We overcame competition from more traditional small business sectors including biscuit-making, DIY retail and a brewery to win the award which was presented during a marathon ceremony at Wembley Stadium.
Judges, who included previous winners and professional advisers, recognised and rewarded Agencia as a small business which is making a big impact by applying family values to complicated, international, modern-day challenges.
In confirming Agencia’s place on the shortlist, the judges said: “We feel you truly encapsulate everything that makes Britain’s family businesses so special and unique.”
They added that Agencia is clearly proud to be a family business, has a brilliant story to tell and is passionate about being a pillar of the local community. They also said they had identified clear loyalty to those who have helped Agencia on our journey, a fantastic brand with a great reputation and dedication and commitment within the business to growth and innovation.
After the national award was confirmed, the awards judges commented: “Agencia’s contribution back into society across the world, with their health and judicial work, is outstanding and speaks volumes about the culture and ethos of the family business which encompasses all that makes family businesses both special and unique.”
The awards are organised by Family Business Place, which works to promote family firms of all sizes and in all sectors by publicising their achievements and celebrating their success.
Helen Gibson, Agencia’s Managing Director, said: “We were delighted when we found out we were shortlisted in all three categories for the north-east. We felt like winners and we celebrated because the regional awards were presented during the first half of the ceremony.
“When the national awards came around and our name was announced we thought we had mis-heard. We were asking if it was really us. It took us a minute or two to realise we had won!
“We didn’t believe it. Now I think wow, fantastic, well done us because it’s so nice as a small business with some pretty challenging things going on. Sometimes you ask yourself if it’s worth it and whether you should have an easier life doing something else but then something like this makes it really special. It’s so nice to be recognised and acknowledged.”
Even before the big announcement had been made, Agencia had supported the awards charity auction by paying £4,000 to sponsor a well for a village of up to 2,000 people and their descendants in Uganda.
The well is designed to provide safe, clean water for a lifetime, in a post-conflict country, and Agencia’s purchase prompted businesses to fund a further two wells.
Helen said: “Nobody else was bidding for it. We had a room full of 350-plus people, some of whom were large, multi-national companies, but it was just something I felt compelled to do. We could just hand the cheque over and get a picture, but we have people who would love to get involved a bit more. I suspect one or two of us will try and go there to help.
“We showed some leadership in the auction and we demonstrated the ethos of our business.”