The cream of the crop from Hastings to Portsmouth turned up at the Grand Hotel in Brighton to find out if they had won one of the prestigious gongs.
TV star Fred Dinenage presented the awards, and said; “I love these awards this event in particular, because this is the crème de la crème, this is the battle of the giants.
“These are winners from Johnston Press awards all over the south. They come together and find out who are the real champions.”
Hastings firm Balloons for Events picked up two accolades in the prestigious awards, getting a highly commended in Customer Service, and beating companies from across Sussex to win the Going Green award.
The company was recognised for its biodegradable products and its great record in keeping clients happy.
Lee Harrington who runs the firm, said: “It’s nice to get recognition for what we do for the environment.”
Robertsbridge company Milbrook Design and Print won the Small Business award. The company makes business cards, letterheads, and anything else you might need to run a successful business.
Hurst Green Shop and Cafe was highly commended in the Outstanding Contribution to the Community award. The village shop was closed in 2008, but after years of fundraising, the church, parish council, and Lord Longford’s family reopened the shop which is now run by volunteers.
The Star of the Future award went to Cathy Sharp from St Leonards, for her Home and Dry Laundry Services.
“It is really great, but I wouldn’t have done any of it without fantastic family, friends and staff,” she said.
In two-and-a-half years she has built the business, and has taken on five staff.
“I’ve built an amazing team now,” she said.
Proud mum Helen Rekert was there to cheer on her daughter, and she said: “She is absolutely amazing. She started from nothing without going into debt - and now I work for her!”
Three Oaks company Recruitment South East took home the award for Best Start-up Business. The firm’s turnover has doubles in the last two years and recruit for companies locally, as well as in Dubaim Korea, India and Latin America.
Mandy Brooke picked up the award and said the win was ‘unbelievable’ and ‘fantastic’.