2013 Business profiles

Since nominations closed, PwC and HSBC Private Bank have been interviewing and researching the huge volume of nominated companies. Several of the longlisted companies were subsequently invited to attend a dinner to welcome them into the Private Business Awards club.

Please click on the region below to see pictures and profiles from a selection of the longlisted companies.

London event Thursday 30 May at The Ivy, London.

Read more









Zaggora creates technology-enhanced exercise wear and bodycare to help women be healthier and happier. Its original and signature product, ‘HotPants’ exercise leggings, are embedded with patent-pending Celu‐Lite™ fabric technology that increases the body’s metabolic rate to help to boost calorie burn and optimise the results of aerobic activity.

Nominated for Technology Innovation of the Year Award

HotPants were the brainchild of founder Dessi Bell, who spied a gap in the market for time-effective fitness solutions whilst she was preparing for her wedding. Dessi, husband Malcolm Bell, and their uni friend Khurshid Faizullaev founded Zaggora (all while in their 20s) and co-manage it.

“Being nominated for the Private Business Awards really energises our whole organisation. We have a fantastic team of over 50 people in the UK who work so hard to power the business forward. To be recognised as doing something really special with an award that has been won by pioneering companies is really exciting and motivating for all of us.”

Malcolm Bell, CEO, Zaggora.com


Jamie’s Italian

Jamie's Italian Ltd was established in 2008.  It is a restaurant business created by Jamie Oliver, and is a mid spend urban casual dining restaurant.  It is fun, experimental, stylish, contemporary and accessible to the masses in terms of price point and location.  It currently has 31 restaurants in the UK, right across the country, and 3 overseas restaurants.

Nominated for Private Business of the Year Award

The USP of Jamie's Italian is quality food, great friendly service and a value for money proposition.  Year on year it has grown sales and profitability.

“We are extremely proud and honoured to be nominated for a Private Business Award. We have had some success at several restaurant awards, but it is particularly exciting to be nominated for an award outside of our industry and to be recognised at a prestigious business focussed awards ceremony.”

Simon Blagden, CEO, Jamie’s Italian


Nimax Theatres

Nica is CEO of Nimax Theatres as well as a successful commercial theatre producer and Director of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Establishing Nimax in 2005 to acquire 4 theatres from her former employer by mortgaging her house, she is now co-owner of a business valued in excess of £45million. She has over 30 years' experience in theatre - after training as an actress she became artistic director of the then unfunded Donmar Warehouse; production director of Really Useful Theatres - programming and running10 West End theatres before acquiring her own portfolio.

Nominated for Private Business of the Year Award

“Winning the Private Business Woman of the Year award would, besides being a well deserved recognition of Nica as a successful business leader, undoubtedly enhance the reputation of Nimax Theatres Limited. Winning a high profile event such as this would, I think, change how our company is perceived by competitors, clients, production investors, and the talent we try to engage as not only having sound theatrical production and business operational expertise and values, but as a proven financially successful company with innovative financing strategies and solid financial foundations.”

Laurie Denton, Finance Director, Nimax Theatres



Blipp [blipp] v. & n. blipp-ed, blipp-ing: the action of instantaneously converting anything in the real world into an interactive wow experience through a smart device's camera lens. Blippar is the market-leading image-recognition platform for smartphones designed to convert real-world media and brands into instantaneous digital experiences.  Through one free app on a phone, Blippar opens in camera mode and becomes a magic 'lens' through which print and real-world objects such as newspapers, magazines, billboards, logos, product packaging or even landmarks can be spontaneously 'unlocked' and converted into content-rich, interactive experiences. The business was founded by Ambarish Mitra CEO, Omar Tayeb CTO, Steve Spencer CCO & Jessica Butcher CMO.

Nominated for Technology Innovation of the Year Award

“Being nominated at the Private Business Awards is a huge honour for Blippar as it provides recognition of a company that is just 19 months old and demonstrates that it has already developed into a meaningful business in both the UK and also the USA. It is very encouraging for our organisation as we make progress globally and we hope the awards will contribute to our growth strategy."

Andrew Graham, Finance and Strategy Director, Blippar


Mind Candy

Mind Candy is a digital entertainment company most well known for creating Moshimonsters.com, a kid's online social experience and virtual world aimed at ages 6 to 12. Moshi Monsters is now a global entertainment franchise which exists across different platforms and through a wide range of very successful consumer products. Divinia joined the business in October 2006; she is Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Divinia started in the business as Studio Manager - a role encompassing HR, operations and finance when the business was made up of just 15 staff, working directly alongside the company founder and CEO, Michael Acton Smith. Divinia's career has grown with the company working up through Head Of Operations & Financial Controller to COO & CFO.

Nominated for Private Business of the Year Award

“As previous winners of The Rising Star of the Year Award at the Private Business Awards 2012, we are extremely honoured to be nominated for an award for a second consecutive year. Winning the award helped raise our profile and cemented our growth strategy and is assisting to achieve global awareness of our brand.”

Divinia /Knowles, CFO, Mind Candy Ltd.

Northern Ireland event Thursday 30 May at Waterfront Plaza, Belfast

Read more

CDE Global Limited

'We are delighted to be recognised by PWC through the Private Business Awards. The nomination is testament to the quality of our Team and relentless focus on Innovation which in turn has supported our aim to become the number one washing equipment supplier in every country in the world. Awards are always pleasing but one endorsed by PWC is particularly motivating.'

Over the last 20 years CDE Global has grown to be recognised as the leading supplier of washing equipment for quarries and mines on the global market.

We are unique, bold and original in everything we do. We have sold, installed and commissioned more compact washing plants than any other company in the world.

Nominated for Exporter of the Year

Our areas of expertise include sand washing, dust washing, lignite removal, construction & demolition waste recycling and various areas of waste water treatment. A combination of substantial industry experience and a team of dedicated, highly skilled engineers have established CDE as a global market leader with a reputation for product development, innovation and excellence.

Brendan McGurgan, Managing Director, CDE Global Limited



'Having already had some notable successes this year within the Social Enterprise sector we were delighted to be nominated for the Private Business Award, giving us the chance for recognition outside of our industry. With over 90 employees EBM is an innovative and forward thinking organisation; we welcome all opportunities to collaborate with the private sector with a view to taking the organisation to the next level whilst maintaining our core community values.'

Nominated for Social Enterprise of the Year

From its early roots of running a church soup kitchen during the Depression, EBM became a registered charity in 1985 to provide integrated community support in inner east Belfast. This community is afflicted with high unemployment, low educational attainment, ill health and paramilitary influence and EBM's mission is to "transform and renew East Belfast". The Christian ethos of EBM excludes traditional funding, such as lottery funding/ballots. It also wanted to be mission led rather than grant led. Social Enterprise was the way forward. Today EBM provides Stepping Stones: information on employment, training & education; Restore Social Economy Programme: 12 ‘restore' shops and 2 refurbishment workshops; Refresh community cafe: delivers 20,000 MOW's to the housebound and disabled; Bright Sparks Childcare: affordable care for 68 children; Hosford Homeless Hostel: 26 place hostel; Cross Community programme; Counselling Service and Youth and Community Development Programmes.

Barbara Baird, Business Development Project Manager, EBM



'We're really delighted to be nominated for the private business awards – our teams work really hard and are extremely dedicated – to have the chance to talk about this, describe our achievements, and to receive validation from an organisation like PwC is extremely rewarding. Irrespective of whether we win an award or not, taking part in the process has been extremely beneficial.'

Nominated for Social Enterprise of the Year

Formed in 1959 to provide community support to people with mental illness, Niamh developed from a volunteer organisation to a professionally run organisation. It has three strands: Beacon, Carecall and Compass. Beacon provides a wide range of services: 14 Day Centres, 19 Supported Housing schemes, 3 Floating Support schemes and Advocacy (8,000 clients supported). It works with people with mental health issues to find and maintain hope, re-establish a positive identity, build a meaningful life and take responsibility and control. Carecall formed in response to employer demand to provide mental health counselling and therapeutic interventions for employees of 186 organisations including the NI Civil service, NI Police Service, Bombardier. Compass works with health/social care stakeholders, bridging the mental health evidence gap. Research areas include health promotion, epidemiology, evaluation of service delivery and development of health/social care interventions.

Peter McBride, Chief Executive, Niamh


Vita Liberata

'I am delighted to have been shortlisted for the private business awards. It is so easy to get consumed by one's own goals, and being involved in something like this encourages one to share experience and learn from different businesses from very diverse sectors. I have enjoyed every minute of it, and been very inspired by the success of my colleagues!'

Alyson Hogg is the CEO and driving force behind Vita Liberata. Having previously enjoyed a career that spanned fashion, academia, hospitality, politics and broadcasting, Alyson formed Vita Liberata in 2003. Initially the first product range was natural skincare and in 2007 Alyson chose to focus only on tanning products. Dissatisfied with existing tanning products and believing there must be a better solution she set out to create the world's first odourless tan. After careful research involving 3 pharmacists, 2 formulators and 30 different attempts she was successful and Rich was launched. The past year has seen Alyson reformulate her entire product range to be completely non toxic and organic, a first in the industry. She also invented the first 2-3 week tan - pHenomenal - which lasts up to 4 times longer than any other tan on the market.

Nominated for Private Business Woman of the Year

The retail customer base includes Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Sephora Europe and distributors in Scandinavia and Europe and a retail partnership with Sephora for the US market. The product is the 2nd biggest tanning seller in Debenhams and the 3rd in Boots and after just three weeks on the shelf it became the number one selling tan in Sephora.

Alyson Hogg, Founder and CEO, Vita Liberata


Ulster Carpets

'We take great pride in being nominated for the Exporter of the Year Award. It is extremely rewarding for our company to be recognised for its commitment to the global market, and we are honoured to receive such an endorsement by the Private Business Awards.'

Nominated for Exporter of the Year

Ulster supplies carpets to high-profile clients across the world. It operates from its headquarters in Portadown (Northern Ireland) with offices in key locations including: London, Paris, Dubai, New York and Las Vegas. Since taking the decision 20 years ago to target export markets, Ulster has carpeted many prestigious locations: in Las Vegas the MGM Grand, Bellagio and Luxor casinos as well as the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore casinos; hotels such as the Ritz in Paris, the seven-star Burj al Arab in Dubai, the Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg and the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janerio. It has also supplied prestigious cruise liners in the Royal Caribbean and Carnival fleets including the Azura and Queen Elizabeth II.

Nick Coburn, Managing Director, Ulster Carpets

Midlands event Wednesday 15 May at Brownsover Hall Hotel, Warwickshire

Read more

Intelligent Energy Holdings PLC

'Intelligent Energy is honoured to be nominated for the Private Business Awards and excited at the prospect of joining the ranks of previous winners JCB and Mind Candy. We believe we have a great story to tell as we accelerate the commercialisation of our power technologies into new geographies and market sectors. Having this recognised with a nomination for awards that celebrate the best of private business in the country, and are sponsored by PwC and HSBC, is a testament to both the success of the company and the dedication of its employees.'


Intelligent Energy delivers efficient and clean energy technology for the global consumer electronics, automotive and stationary power markets – from compact energy packs for mobile devices, to power-trains for zero-emission vehicles, and stationary power units for the always-on infrastructure.

Intelligent Energy's unique hydrogen fuel cell technology is used by global blue chip companies to create differentiated, cost-efficient fuel cell power systems for mass market applications. It enables Intelligent Energy and our business partners to solve the challenges of continuous power and productivity, by creating convenient everyday energy solutions to power your life.

Intelligent Energy operates globally, with offices in Europe, Asia and the US.

Henri Winand, CEO, Intelligent Energy Holdings PLC


Blue Skies Holdings Ltd

'We are honoured to be nominated for the Private Business Awards. It is a source of great pride and encouragement to our organisation which employs over 2,000 people in Africa, South America and Europe.'


Blue Skies produces fresh-cut fruit and freshly squeezed juice products from its network of factories in Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil and the UK. The company prides itself on delivering fresh from harvest prepared fruit that is processed 'at source' in the country of origin. The business is recognised for its contribution to sustainable development and has twice won a Queens Award for its positive social and economic impact in Africa.

Iain Highlands, Group Finance Director, Blue Skies Holdings Ltd


IM Properties PLC

'To be nominated for a Private Business Award is testament to the expertise and hard work of the IM Properties' team. Even in these challenging times we are delivering consistently good profits from our work in the UK, Europe and USA. Being recognised in such a prestigious awards scheme is very encouraging, especially when the competition is so high.'


IM Properties was formed in 1987 and is one of the UK's largest privately owned property companies. It has an investment and development portfolio of circa £800 million spanning the industrial, retail and office sectors in the UK, Europe and the USA and counts BMW, Ocado and House of Fraser among its long list of high profile clients. With its headquarters in Coleshill, IM Properties is committed to the West Midlands, with nearly 50 per cent of its portfolio in the region.

Tim Wooldridge, Managing Director, IM Properties PLC



'With family businesses making up almost 70 per cent of the UK's small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) – I was particularly impressed with the high levels of commitment and resource which PwC and HSBC invests into championing this sector.

High praise from MEP: West Midlands Conservative MEP Anthea McIntrye with Frank and Adrian Maxwell (right) and Fracino team members during a recent visit to the factory.

'The high calibre of the Private Business Awards is apparent throughout the application process and the support provided for entrants. It is also reflected in the strong reputation of the judging panel.'

The UK's only manufacturer of espresso and cappuccino machines, Fracino is a multi-award winning third generation family business which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Crowned as UK's Winner of Winners and also awarded the Outstanding Export Award from UK manufacturers association, EEF, Fracino commands 50 per cent of the UK market and distributes machines to over 50 countries across five continents.

Fracino's Piccino machines have been showcased as 'Best of British' at this year's G8 Summit where they were available in the quarters of Prime Minister David Cameron and fellow world leaders. A machine is also in Number 10 Downing Street.

Adrian Maxwell, Managing Director, Fracino

Scotland event Thursday 20 June at The Atholl, Edinburgh

Read more

Street Soccer

'On behalf of everyone at Street Soccer Scotland, players, partners and staff, I would like to emphasise how proud we are to be associated and recognised by the PwC/HSBC Private Business Awards (Scotland). Our business helps deliver social change and impact to communities across Scotland and we are trying to maintain a sustainable business model in order to achieve more impact for more people. We had an excellent time at the recent PwC dinner, which was great for networking and also hearing the successes of the private businesses who are shortlisted in each category. Many Thanks'.


Street Soccer Scotland is a Social Enterprise which aims to use the power of football to create positive social change in the lives of socially disadvantaged adults and young people across Scotland, through participation in sport and personal development programmes. David Duke set up Street Soccer Scotland after using the power of sport to change his own life 10 years ago. David was homeless and whilst living in a hostel in Glasgow, he got involved in the Scotland Homeless World Cup Team which changed his own life, and his experiences were used in creating this enterprise. Engaging with over 5000 participants, we offer a pathway for people who are facing a range of difficulties which includes Regular Football Drop in Sessions, National/Regional Football Festivals, Personal Development Courses offering Employability, Education and Training, Youth Services, Women's Programmes and Scotland's Homeless World Cup Team. Sir Alex Ferguson is the National Ambassador of Street Soccer Scotland.

David Duke, Chief Executive, Street Soccer (Scotland)


SPEX Group

'For a company like SPEX to receive these awards is fantastic. It recognises that growing from 0 to 100 people in 4 short years is some achievement. We look forward to building on these foundations towards an even brighter future, innovating within the oil and gas industry'.


Aberdeen based SPEX Group ('SPEX') is split into 2 divisions both serving the oil and gas industry; an outsourced new technology/product development division ('SPEX Services') and a service business specialising in reducing time stuck when drilling ('SPEX Offshore'). SPEX was formed utilising management's expertise in the use of explosives within the oil and gas industry. The SPEX Services division runs numerous projects resulting in commercial technologies the latest being the Emergency Separation Tool ('EST') for oil supermajor Shell (1 of 4 Shell projects). The EST is a world first allowing oil companies to cut 'non-shearable' components and assist in preventing disasters like the BP Macondo incident. It was developed in less than 2 years compared to industry averages of closer to 10. Once developed, SPEX Offshore runs technologies in the field. A very experienced senior management team has been built in a short period to deliver the vision of being a global technology company.

Ryan Strachan, Chief Financial Officer, SPEX Group


Entiér Limited

'This is a great accolade for Entier to be Scottish Regional winners in two categories in the Private Business Awards – CEO of the Year and High business growth of the year. The success of the private sector is crucial to the overall recovery of the UK's economy and to be recognised by PwC as an outstanding growing company is a great achievement. Our growth and success is based on delivering a quality service to our customers and clients every day and not forgetting our founding values of 'a passion for People, Safety and Quality' and supporting the communities in which we work'.


Entier was created in 2008 to meet the changing needs of the Oil & Gas Industry. The founding directors believed there to be a gap in the market to provide a quality service using quality local produce and providing a superior service. Entier provide offshore catering and hotel services to 24 units both UK North Sea and Internationally in 8 different countries.

They key to the success of our growth is in delivering what we promised through performance. Growth has been with new clients but more importantly with existing clients who have given us additional business based on delivery of a superior and consistent service.

Colin Henry, Business Development Director, Entiér Limited

Sign up here to receive notifications about these Awards:

Register now



The UK Private Business Awards are organised in a joint venture between:

PwC_logo_H100px.png  and     logo.png

Other Ford Sinclair events:

AIM Awards | UK tech awards | PLC Awards

Sitemap    Accessibility    Privacy    Terms    Cookies

Charity supported by
the UK Private
Business Awards


Read more