THURROCK Gazette has been working closely with our colleagues at NatWest in an initiative across the South East to bang the drum for our amazing businesses, celebrating their immense impact on the communities they serve.  

Over the past three months, Newsquest/LOCALiQ titles, including the Brighton Argus, Southend/Basildon Echo, Colchester Gazette, Watford Observer and the News Shopper in South London have issued a call to action to companies to help us shine a light on their work. 

We were not disappointed. 

Dozens of our most promising companies nominated themselves for our awards, organised jointly with NatWest.

A team of NatWest judges, supported by other business experts, considered all nominations.

We have now produced a 32-page supplement showcasing the winners (pages two, three and four) and all nominations from p5.

The supplement can be found here

Samantha Hellen, Commercial Director for Newsquest South East, said: "We have been blown away by the number of businesses keen to showcase their outstanding achievements and successes. They should all be very proud."

In a foreword to the supplement, the London and South East Regional Board, NatWest said: "The UK is home to more than a million small-to-medium sized businesses and you can find hard-working people running them in just about every village, town and city. At NatWest we see first-hand how important these SMEs are to creating local jobs and forming the lifeblood of our local communities.

"Business owners and entrepreneurs everywhere across the South East have navigated many challenges over the last 18 months and deserve our support now more than ever as we recover together from the pandemic.

"That’s why we’re so thrilled to help celebrate and recognise 100 of the South East’s best and brightest businesses.

"All of these businesses are very different but we believe they are united in having a strong sense of purpose – or in other words, they know why they exist and who they exist to serve. This is something we ourselves are guided by as an organisation and want to encourage in the next generation of business leaders.

"We’re passionate supporters of UK enterprise and beyond our support during Covid-19, NatWest remains committed to helping create 50,000 new businesses across the UK by 2023, ensuring that people from all walks of life can access the support they need to start and grow a business.

"By helping people to tackle the specific barriers they are facing, we will in turn be helping to create more companies, more opportunities for companies to grow, and more reasons for our communities to thrive."