On 15th July, Gemma Cooper, Skillnet's Project Lead for Supported Internships in Medway, attended the National Family Business Awards at Wembley Stadium. Over the past year, Skillnet has been working closely with Family Business Place (FBP), who run the awards. FBP has been leading on working alongside us in refreshing our branding, marketing and communications. We were honoured to be invited to their Awards and Gemma was the perfect person to attend.
Here is Gemma's account of the night.
What an event! "The Oscars for family businesses" was one description used that evening and it was apt! The event was previously known as the Red Ribbon Awards and this was evident from the sea of red cocktail dresses, red gift bags and the all important red carpet.
On arrival, the entry to Wembley Stadium evokes a strong feeling of achievement and community; the home of Champions. Follow this with a red carpet reception, goody bags and access to the royal box looking out onto the pitch and you are on to a winner! After being seated with some amazing family businesses and hearing some inspiring stories of 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation run local businesses, I felt part of something much bigger; a room full of businesses that care about giving back to their local communities and training young people to become the future of their organisations. I sat with Unicom, a nominee for Family Business of the the Year, and a team who were sponsoring an award that evening. People were happy to discuss the employment of people with learning disabilities and it was clear the training of young people was high on the agenda for many. One business owner talked about her own children with dyslexia and her experience of getting support. Throughout the night we were provided with food, drink and entertainment from Funky Voices. It was wonderful to see people receiving their awards and hearing individual stories of the business world. There was also an auction to raise money for two charities and a guest appearance from Jamie Baulch the Olympic Sprinter. One of the charities, Caudwell Children, work to transform the life of disabled children across the UK [Skillnet's Eco Shed project has worked with Cauldwell Children in the past and run woodworking sessions with them]. The second charity supported was Fields for Life which works in East Africa to build schools and drill wells. This evening they were auctioning borehole wells and two organisations pledged £4,000 each on the night. Anita (Family Business Place's Director) and two others shared a story of a trek which was truely inspiring.
A huge thanks to Anita and Susan for making me, and Skillnet Group, so welcome and for sharing such a wonderful night with us. #NFBA2017
Find out more about Family Business Place, and the Awards, here - www.familybusinessplace.com