The inventors of the world’s first coffee-powered coffee bean roaster have scooped the “Best Overall Business” at the 2016 FSB Worldpay Business Awards, beating off stiff competition from some of the UK’s most innovative small businesses.
Dorset-based 918 Coffee Co invented the Eco Roaster, a revolutionary low-carbon and zero-waste approach that uses coffee grounds as fuel to roast the next batch of coffee beans. As well as winning the overall award for best business, 918 Coffee Co also walked away with the trophy for Business and Product Innovation of the Year.
Other winners included a company that employs injured military veterans to help people achieve their full potential, a research and education centre that showcases the wonderful world of invertebrates, and an entrepreneur who overcame a life-changing illness to set up a knitwear empire.
‘Just a little coffee shop’
Speaking after picking up their award – along with a cheque for £12,000 – Chanel Cornelius, co-owner of 918 Coffee said: “I cannot believe this has happened to us. We were just a little coffee shop but then we thought that roasting coffee wasn’t very environmentally friendly and surely we could do something with the grains. That was when my husband came up with the idea of designing a coffee machine which would use the old grains to create energy to make the next batch of coffee. And that was how EcoRoast was born.
“But it goes further than that. We create enough energy to heat all the water in our business premises and there would be plenty for our home too if it were near enough to pump it there.”
Apprentice winner Tim Campbell, who hosted this year’s awards dinner at the QEII Centre in Westminster, added: “Small businesses are often talked about by politicians as being essential components of the UK economy. Tonight we are really privileged to be able to acknowledge the hard work, impact and success some of these businesses have across the country. The FSB Worldpay Business awards will hopefully inspire others to pursue their passions and dreams whilst creating jobs, continuing to bring innovation and maybe even winning awards too!”
Now in their third year, the FSB Worldpay Business Awards, celebrate innovation, diversity and social responsibility within the UK small business community, and recognises the crucial role that these companies play in the wider economy. This year the Awards received over 1,000 entries from fast-growing smaller businesses across the country, providing a welcoming sign of confidence for the year ahead.
Presenting on the night, James Frost, UK Chief Marketing Officer at Worldpay, added: “The stories we’ve heard from some of our winners have been truly inspirational and reinforce just why we’re passionate about backing small business. We want to shine a light on these hardworking entrepreneurs on the national stage; to celebrate their success and highlight their contribution to our country – not just in driving our economy but also in enriching our global reputation as a leader in commerce.”
Sandra Dexter, National Vice Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, praised the standard of year’s entries. She said: “Drawing up the shortlist was an extremely difficult task, with so many extraordinary businesses to choose from. The people here tonight really do represent the best of British business, and they are wonderful advertisements for this country’s imagination, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.”
The coveted awards boast seven categories: Microbusiness; Online Business; Business and Product Innovation; Business Exporter; Ethical/Green Business; Family Business and Start-up of the year.