Small but perfectly formed - Grimsby duo triumph on national stage

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 14 May 2019

GRIMSBY has taken the Small Awards by storm with three of the 11 category gongs heading back to North East Lincolnshire.

Fortis Therapy and Training was named Small Business of the Year – the overall winner – while also taking the At Your Service category.

Riverhead Coffee followed up with the High Street Hero accolade.

They were presented with the awards at Marylebone’s historic St Mary’s Church.

Fortis is a provider of mental health therapeutic services and training at a national level, based on Abbey Walk, and now expanding into other therapy spaces and training rooms in Hull and Scunthorpe. It works with businesses,schools and other organisations across the UK to improve provisions and culture in the workplace in many sectors.

Alexis Powell-Howard, founder and managing director, said: “It’s such an honour to be crowned Small Business of the Year. The conversation about mental health in this country has taken big strides over the past few years, but there is still a long way to go. I hope that winning this award will go some way to show that any small business can do their bit by reaching out to their community.”

MORE: South Bank stars scoop top mentor and company gongs

From a start-up, she now heads a 24-strong team, and is in the running for two accolades at the Northern Lincolnshire Business Awards on Friday.

Michelle Ovens MBE, founder of the Small Awards, said: “Fortis Therapy and Training is an outstanding reflection of the Grimsby community it operates in, and a more than deserving winner of our small business of the year award. Grimsby is one of many towns across the country that has faced up to volatility and uncertainty, yet maintained a thriving small business sector that both improves its community and contributes to the wider economy.

“The Small Awards is not just about one small business, but the huge contribution that all of the UK’s 5.6 million small businesses make to the economy and broader society. There are huge numbers of small businesses doing great things, making great products and excelling in customer service, and they all deserve recognition. I am proud that there is now a spotlight on vibrant, dynamic and exciting UK businesses such as these.”

Nic Till receives her High Street Hero Small Award. Riverhead Coffee.

Riverhead Coffee, which has a second outlet in St Peter’s Avenue, was recognised for offering a children’s play area to entertain kids while parents get their caffeine fix. It also played a major part in Totally Locally NEL, an independent discount plan.

Speaking after hearing she was shortlisted, owner Nic Till - who launched four years ago - said: “It is the first time we have entered anything like this. It is great for small businesses to be recognised for their hard work and in particular for supporting and encouraging community relationships which is really at the heart of what we’re trying to do at Riverhead Coffee.”

A third year of the awards, more than 200 finalists and guests from across the UK’s small business community gathered for a glittering black tie dinner and evening of awards, networking, food, drink and music.

Small Business Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP said: “Small businesses, such as those recognised by the Small Awards, are the backbone of our economy, employing 16 million people and accounting for £1.9 trillion of turnover.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy we are committed to ensuring the UK remains the best place in the world to start and grow a business, while helping small business owners replicate the outstanding achievements of the businesses being recognised today by these Awards.”

MORE: In-depth with Alexis Powell-Howard

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