An eye on Havering business: 2010 awards

A COMPANY which suffered its worst ever loss last year only to undergo a dramatic reversal of fortune this year has scooped the top prize in the Havering 2010 Business Awards at the weekend

Family-run Coborn Engineering, which has designed and made machine tools for nearly 70 years, was named Havering Business of the Year at a glitzy awards ceremony in the City Pavilion, in Collier Row Road, Collier Row, last Friday evening (October 1).

Chairman John Innocent, 69, who has steered his business through five recessions, said: “Last year was our worst ever year and this year our best. Our turnover was down by 45 per-cent. It was exceptionally bad.

Each time we went into recession, we have battened down the hatches too much. This time I was determined to be braver. We didn’t lose any men and we had a lot of product on the floor ready to go. The gamble paid off and when we came out of recession we had an enormous amount to sell.”

Set up in 1941, it’s been based in Havering for 50 years. It employs nearly 60 people, including seven apprentices.

Cllr Robert Benham, cabinet member for regeneration said: “These have been difficult times for businesses, and these awards give us an opportunity to encourage and support Havering entrepreneurs and to recognise excellence in our community. Well done to Coborn and all our other fantastic winners.”

They were just one of ten winners at Havering’s big business night out – the sixth annual awards.

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Jeremy West, managing director of West and Coe and sponsor of the Havering Business of the Year award, said: “Coborn are an inspiration to us all. They’ve come through the recession with all their staff – and their biggest order book ever. They’re exporting their machines all over the world, and leading the market in China. All in all, a very deserving winner.”

The other winners:

Business Person of the Year

Sponsor: Lloyds TSB Commercial

Paul Harris, managing director, Harefield Manor Hotel

Harefield Manor Hotel is a four star hotel incorporating I Paparazzi Ristorante Italiano. The hotel and restaurant together offer leisure and corporate clients a high-quality, distinctive venue.

Services include weddings, functions, tribute nights and funeral hospitality, plus sustainable conference facilities complemented by the cuisine from the award-winning restaurant. Paul said the award “recognised the team effort and hard work that has gone into achieving business success for the Harefield Manor Hotel this year”.

Customer Care

Sponsor: Nexus Networking Group

Acumen Design Consultancy

Ray Calder, creative director, said: “We were very proud to be shortlisted for two awards, but the most satisfying was for customer service. To win or even be shortlisted in that category, all our clients have to believe in us! Everyone in business knows how hard things are at the moment – the need for cutbacks and changes. One thing we’ll never change or cut back on is customer service. It’s sticking to those values that have allowed us to survive, prosper in fact, in recent years.”

Excellence in Apprenticeship Training

Sponsor: Havering College

Thomas Sinden Ltd

Thomas Sinden Ltd is a construction company in Harold Wood, established in 1991 by Des Thomas and Graeme Sinden, which has taken on over 40 apprentices in all construction trades. The company has always been committed to training and supporting its younger workforce. Training and Development is a major aspect of its operations, as the company believes that people should be given the opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge especially during an unstable time for the economy.

5. Innovation

Sponsor: East London Business Place

By Design (Sealants) Ltd

By Design Sealants Ltd is a family-owned business which has provided application services since 1988. Together with partner companies – Corporate

Logos, Anti-Slip and 7-A Chem Systems – it designed a stainless steel, tactile and anti-slip stud for pedestrianised areas. Using a specially designed resin applied to the top, it provides a solution to a problem with existing studs which become slippery when wet or dirty. The studs, which are incredibly versatile, can be applied to any surface in any colour. They’re receiving international interest and have won architectural awards.

New Business of the Year

Sponsor: EnergyCentric

Total Site Construction

Total Site is a new breed of recruitment agency, offering absolute transparency to clients and operatives alike, delivering a local and national, on-site, trades and labour service to sub-contractors and main contractors in the construction arena.

Managing director Andy Cosias said: “The team at Total Site is proud of what we have achieved over the past two years of trading. Together, we’re a company that continues to go from strength to strength, and we’re extremely honoured to be in the final of the business awards.”

Shining Through

Sponsor: Business Link in London

Hornchurch Dry Cleaners

Hornchurch Dry Cleaners started out in 1996, specialising in expensive designer wear and wedding dresses. They have built up a solid reputation and faithful clientele by being professional and competent. 2009 was a disastrous year. The recession took away many of their customers, and trade was further hampered by road works, weather conditions and a costly and time-consuming legal battle following an arson attack. Hornchurch Dry Cleaners are proud to have overcome such adversity, and continue to trade with passion.

Sole Trader of the Year

Sponsor: Romford Seedbed Centre

All Awards

Pauline Cordell said: “Sales, accounts, marketing, production, despatch, office cleaner, just a few roles I need to fill in one day as a sole trader. By trade I’m an engraver, but learning that so many other skills are necessary when you only have yourself to rely on – and blame. Linking up with other businesses in the borough makes it possible to run a successful business like All Awards, using their skills to produce bespoke awards, trophies and signage to an international customer base for individuals and also corporate companies. I have found it a challenge but a rewarding one, and not just financially.”

Staff Training and Development

Sponsor: Sanofi-Aventis

Havering Mind

Havering Mind provides a wide range of services that support people with mental health problems. The organisation also works to end the stigma and discrimination faced by sufferers each day. The organisation’s success is due to its greatest asset – its dedicated team of possible outcomes for individuals.


Sponsor: Kilnbridge Waste Management

Juniper Food Waste

Juniper is a food waste collection company, offering a unique and effective solution for food waste recycling.

Barbara Peacock, operations administrator, said: “We can reduce your carbon footprint by composting your food waste into a valuable resource, avoiding the harmful methane emissions produced by landfill. Our services are simple and unobtrusive, and always carried out with the utmost care and consideration for hygiene and the environment. Our unique offering includes a dedicated fleet of vehicles, freshly washed and sterilised bins with every collection, regular collection times and a regular point of contact at Juniper with 24/7 call out.”