It was a successful night for the Sussex Innovation community at the 2019 Croydon Business Excellence Awards, with awards handed out to a member business, one of the support team, and the Croydon centre as a whole.

Sussex Innovation Croydon received the Best Business for Customer Service award, given to the company that demonstrated the biggest commitment to customer experience. Catalyst team project manager Eva Poliszczuk was named Enterprising Young Person of the Year, while members Hozah were winners in the Best Business for Digital, Data and Technology category.

The highlight of the awards programme – the gala dinner and charity ball – drew over 450 people to the Grand Sapphire Hotel banqueting hall on Thursday, 3rd October.

“We’ve been involved as supporters and sponsors of the Croydon Business Excellence Awards every year since it started 5 years ago, and this year we decided it was high time that we apply ourselves,” said Saffron Saunders, Croydon centre manager. “Customer service felt like the most appropriate award to go for because it’s such a focus for us as an organisation – we are only successful if our clients are successful, and so as a team we really do go the extra mile to make sure that their needs are being met. It’s nice to be recognised for that and share in the celebration with our customers, many of whom are in the room tonight!”

The Sussex Innovation Croydon team with the Customer Service award

Several of those customer successes were showcased among the finalists for Best Business for Digital, Data and Technology, in which coupon marketing promotion engine Uniqodo was commended, and fully automated parking payment system Hozah was the eventual winner. Hozah thanked the wider Croydon community and in particular the local council’s part in helping to roll out their smart technology in car parks across the borough.

Hozah’s co-founder David Fowle was also highly commended in the hotly contested Entrepreneur of the Year award, which featured no less than four finalists from Sussex Innovation companies: Baskar Sundaram of Baachu, Eric Giroux of Giroux Ltd and Nisha Menon of Jack & Chill were also nominated.

Naomi Bishop and David Fowle, co-founders of Hozah

But the celebrations still hadn’t finished on the Sussex Innovation table, as Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for economy and jobs, presented the award for Enterprising Young Person of the Year to team member Eva Poliszczuk. Cllr Shahul-Hammed praised Eva’s commitment to business diversity initiatives, as well as the ambition and drive that has led to her project managing a team of ten young people, just over a year after graduating herself.

“I’m in shock!” said Eva on collecting her award. “It’s been a really inspiring evening – Croydon is a brilliant business community to be part of, because you can feel how passionate everybody is about rolling up their sleeves and getting to work. It’s easy to be ambitious and get involved when you’re surrounded by other people who want to make things happen.”

Eva Poliszczuk of Sussex Innovation lifts the Enterprising Young Person award

Hozah simplifies parking by allowing drivers to make automatic payments for their parking.

Uniqodo is a Software-as-a-Service platform and website plugin that retailers use to add advanced promotional code features to their eCommerce store.

GIROUX is a London-based insurance analytics platform and data analytics consultancy with an international focus.

Baachu is the trusted advisor to many of the UK’s largest business services companies.