Our Judges

We have developed our judging over 18 years and our judges, all top business people within their chosen arena, have cited our awards as both the most transparent and professionally executed. Each application is scored by up to 4 different judges from a panel of up to 30 judges, all applications are seen by different members of the judging panel. The judges spend several hours and score not only their own sponsored category but several others too, this ensures transparency. The first page of questions is designed to give the judges a real feel for your business, followed by several questions that are scored from 1 to 5. It is worth noting that although all judging is computer based please ensure you upload images or screen shots of all important pages. There are no site visits or presentations involved. The finalists are chosen by adding all the scores and up to 16 entrants can make it through to the final, however if scoring is low, less entrants make it through.

Amity Walia

Founder & Director | City To Coast Minibus Hire

Amity Walia & Rebecca Tyler are the Founders and Directors of City To Coast Minibus Hire. Based in Stanwell and Lowestoft.

Bringing a new and fresh approach to the passenger transportation industry, Amity & Rebecca have gained a significant reputation with customers and other coach companies.

City To Coast offer a comfortable and bespoke service when catering for journeys, making each journey unique.

Originally starting as a tour company for international visitors towards the end of 2018, by the time 2019 came the business had collapsed due to Covid.

“As new Kids on the Block” they had to make themselves stand out from other coach companies…Amity being from Heathrow (City) and Rebecca from Lowestoft (Coast), City To Coast Minibus Hire was born.

To date, City To Coast, has gained substantial growth in bookings and contract work, meaning they have a second vehicle on order and are starting to create employment opportunities.

Lisa Carver

Managing Director & Founder | Carver Coaching

Lisa is an experienced leadership and team development expert who after 16 years of running complex high pressured teams and organisations, launched her coaching consultancy in 2017 (Carver Coaching Ltd). Lisa has a deep understanding of team dynamics, leadership and change built on an extensive leadership career spanning global markets.

Since launching Carver Coaching Lisa has been featured in HR News, Employer News, CIPD Webinars, Chambers of Commerce podcasts and the HR Uprising podcasts. In 2022 Carver Coaching started representing the ICF (International Coaching Federation) in Surrey. They operate as the group leaders for events and programmes in the area.

During the pandemic whilst working with a variety of corporates, Lisa has also been extensively supporting leadership teams within the NHS. One-to-one coaching, facilitating strategy days and team interventions, along with designing and delivering impactful workshops about coaching, leadership, well-being, stress, resilience and change.

Carver Coaching has completed numerous leadership development projects for a variety of organisations in both the public and private sectors in the last 5 years. The team’s ability to design and deliver programmes which facilitate learning and change has been acknowledged and celebrated by being nominated, shortlisted and winning a number of awards, locally and nationally.

For the first part of my career I commuted in and out of Surrey each day. When I launched this business I wanted to grow from my local roots. To connect with and support pivotal local professionals and businesses. I am delighted to be judging the 2023 SME Surrey Business Awards.

Lizzie Witney

Owner and Founder | Love Smile Bake

Lizzie Witney is owner and founder of Love Smile Bake, a wholesale bakery selling vegan cakes to local cafes and businesses. Lizzie started the business with the mission to create incredibly tasty vegan cakes and meet a surging demand for good plant based options at local coffee shops.

Since starting in 2020 Lizzie has significantly grown the business, with improving sustainability at the heart of their partnership with various local businesses. She was the winner of a SME Surrey Sustainable Business award in 2022.

Sarah-Jane Butler

Solicitor and Founder | Farringford Legal

Having started her qualified legal career within debt and equity markets, over the past ten years Sarah-Jane has diversified her skill set and gained experience in employment and commercial law focusing on supporting SMEs.

Sarah-Jane qualified in debt equity finance at Linklaters and worked with Freshfields LLP, Goldman Sachs and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP (previously Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP) before retraining as an employment lawyer.

Whilst retraining, she set up her own corporate business (Working Life Solutions) helping small businesses set up and grow with the law on their side.

For the past ten years, she has advised individuals and small businesses in relation to their employment and commercial legal needs.

Sarah-Jane, along with fellow directors, launched Farringford Legal in September 2021. It was in response to spotting a gap in the market for a new breed of law firm. One focused on delivering exceptional personalised service to SMEs which was not widely available at a price which reflected the budgets of many SME owners.

Debbie Turner

Marketing Manager | Sea Change Wine

Debbie is the Marketing Manager at Sea Change Wine, the Surrey-based business which is making waves with its award-winning, eco-friendly wine that directly supports global ocean conservation projects.

Debbie started her career in journalism before moving into marketing and PR and now has over 25 years’ experience in sectors including food & drink, engineering and motoring.

With a keen eye on branding and innovation, Debbie is looking forward to being part of this year’s SME Surrey Business Awards judging panel.

Dueyna Chinere

Branch Leader | The Family Network West Surrey

Dueyna established the West Surrey branch of The Family Network in 2016.

The Family Network UK was founded in 2006 and has branches across the country. They offer a dynamic business community and connect small businesses with free networking, affordable workshops and events, with family at the heart of everything they do.

Dueyna won Networking Group of the Year 2022 in the SME Surrey Awards and has also been awarded Branch Leader of the Year 3 times in the Family Network’s national business awards.

Alongside running the branch, Dueyna also runs a health and wellness business, Zotheka Lifestyle, and coaches people to set up home-based businesses of their own.

As well as being involved in several community organisations including being a trustee for her local neighbourhood association and vice chair of PTA at her youngest son’s school.

Elizabeth Hunt

Owner and Founder | Elizabeth Hunt & Associates

Elizabeth is owner and founder of Elizabeth Hunt & Associates, a bespoke estate agency specialising in all aspects of sales, letting and property management. Together with her business partner, Paolo Nacca, they established the business in 2011 and have 50 years combined experience working for corporate and independent agencies before joining forces.

We work hard to develop a personal, friendly, and bespoke service for all our clients by building trust, being transparent and offering honest advice. We ensure that we provide a professional and efficient service that is tailored to each clients’ needs. We believe that by offering this we can offer a credible alternative to the mainstream agents.

Nazanin Nankali

Director | Powertutors

In 2016, Naz embarked on a mission to make a difference in the education world. Her journey started as a finalist in the Reigate & Banstead Entrepreneurs Academy, and since then, her and her team’s dedication has led Powertutors to become a national business, supporting over 20,000 students across the UK. Collaborating with more than 100 schools and multiple local authorities, Powertutors has become a growing force in the tutoring industry. Passionate about equal opportunities, Naz’s vision is to ensure no child – as unique as they each are – is left behind, empowering every student to achieve their full potential.

Zara Mizen

Founder and Director | Koala Kids Parties LTD

Zara Mizen is the Founder and Director of Koala Kids Parties LTD, a children’s entertainment company based in Woking. With over 10 years’ experience in the entertainment industry, Zara has created a brilliant reputation for providing imaginative experiences for children. Her passion to ignite imaginations shines through her unique way of providing themed adventures to suit any celebration.

Combining her theatrical training and childcare experience she began Koala Kids Parties in 2019, where the initial idea and name derived from a 6 month trip to Australia!

Since then, she has taken Koala Kids Parties from strength to strength, she now has a fully booked team, has won numerous business awards and exceeded all financial targets set.

The business continues to grow and strive to make parents lives easier and children’s experiences magical.

Steve Catling

Owner and Director | Hippo Events

Steve is the Owner and Director of Hippo Events, an Event Management company specialising in Global Venue Finding and Event Project Management.

Having spent the past 15 years in the events industry in various roles, including both agency and corporate sides, he formed Hippo Event’s in 2018. Placing a great emphasis on a proactive approach to working and a relentless focus on “client first” mentality the company motto is “The answers ‘yes’, what’s the question?”, placing value in showing personality, initiative and honesty.

Steve was selected as a finalist in the C&IT A-List award and most recently won the SME Surrey Business Person Of The Year 2022. Hippo Events is also a Finalist in the SME National Awards for Hospitality Business Of The Year 2023.

James Morris

Founder and MD | Trafalgar Marquees

“Described as “One of Surrey’s most dynamic entrepreneurs” by Surrey Life and The Business Magazine, James Morris is an experienced entrepreneur with a proven track record in growing award-winning businesses organically and through acquisition. Founder and MD at Trafalgar Marquees, James is a business mentor and SME consultant.”

Siva Kugathas

Managing Director | ServiceMaster AAA

Siva Kugathas is Managing Director of ServiceMaster AAA since 2017, an inspiring business leader. With the company growing year after year, Siva has gone from one territory to thirteen in span of 5 years. His company specialises in custom cleaning services keeping people healthy and safe, nurture well-being and shape strong and reputable workplaces – offering smart technology, best in class products and expertly trained staff.

Recently he won International Brilliance Business Leader of the Year 2021 followed by SME Business Person of the Year 2021.

Alongside ServiceMaster AAA has been actively involved in charities – Police Community Clubs of Great Britain – to support and educate children about Covid and its impact. We have also been supporting YMCA – vulnerable young people & Refugee – helping refugee make the UK their home.

Guy Strang

Contract Services Brand Manager | ServiceMaster

Guy leads the ServiceMaster Contract Services brand, one of 8 franchise opportunities offered by ServiceMaster.

With franchise expertise spanning almost 3 decades, Guy has built a reputation for positively impacting change, raising standards, improving commercial activity, and re-energising under-performing businesses.

In his existing role, Guy’s focus is to “recruit, train and develop,” supporting individuals with a desire to be in businesses for themselves. His support spans the whole business lifecycle, from launch, to sale, and vitally, the highs and lows in between. Drawing on his wealth of experience, Guy is well versed in all aspects of business operation.

With his analytical approach to business, Guy is relishing the opportunity to evaluate this year’s selection of Surrey’s best enterprises.

Alan Coleman

General Manager | Bentley Surrey

With over 21 years in the Automotive industry; 10 of those as a Manager, Alan Coleman is proudly Bentley Surrey’s General Manager. With the responsibility of two Bentley Sales and Service sites. Alan is passionate about delivering an outstanding customer experience whilst maximising revenue opportunities within H.R. Owen, the UK’s leading luxury retailer group. His demonstrable track record of effective leadership, exceeding financial targets and KPIs is showcased across his 7-year period within the role.

Beginning his career as a Trainee Sales Executive at a Volkswagen dealership before moving to Mercedes’ Benz, he successfully has projected himself up the career ladder.

With close to two decades of industry experience, Alan also holds valuable background within the Executive Search Recruitment industry before he returned to the Luxury sector.

His speciality lies in ensuring extraordinary journeys and memorable experiences for every Bentley customer. Plus feels proud and privileged to lead the recent launch of Bentley Surrey’s brand-new cutting-edge showroom in Ripley.

Steve Hyland

Breakfast Show Presenter | Lite RADIO

Steve Hyland is the host of Lite Breakfast on Lite RADIO – on air across Surrey & the South East each weekday morning from 7-10am.

Steve Hyland is an experienced radio and television presenter, with thousands of hours of on-air experience. Entrepreneur, Speaker and Broadcast Consultant, Steve brings all his broadcast expertise to Business Connections Live, his corporate video and audio production business in Surrey.

Steve started his professional broadcast career in radio, having worked for Independent Radio in London and the South East, and also presenting on a number of television channels both here in the UK, and in the United States. Speaker, Interviewer and Corporate Presenter.

Prior to broadcast, he worked for a Pan European computer distribution company as Marketing Manager.

Sally Raith-Riches

Director of Sales and Marketing | Foxhills

An experienced sales leader and hospitality professional, Sally Raith-Riches is currently Group Director of Sales for the Foxhills Collection, responsible for Foxhills Club & Resort and Farleigh Golf Club.

Her career started in South Africa where she held Reservations Manager and Rooms Division Manager Roles at Balalaika Hotel & Crowne Court before landing the top job as General Manager of Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa.

Since Sally’s move to the UK she has led the sales and marketing departments at several prestigious properties – including Brooklands Hotel, Oatlands Park, Radisson Blu and the Edwardian Group – before making the move to Foxhills where she’s been for the past seven years. In that time, Sally has overseen substantial growth in all areas of the business, particularly membership where Foxhills now sits at record numbers

John Osborne

Director & Chair | AELP

Highly experienced Business Leader and Engineering Training Strategist, with expertise gained working in Engineering, Manufacturing, and Education (including apprenticeships), and a career long commitment to continuous business improvement: helping make commercial ambitions a practical reality.

Proven track record of successfully devising and delivering Lean methodologies as a foundation for sustainable growth, as well as being a trusted and reliable adviser at board level. Chair of the AELP Engineering, Manufacturing and Automotive Sector Forum from 2015 to date; Director of Business Development and Partnerships with MIT Skills since 2009.

Director and Chair of ALP Surrey since 2015 Conducted numerous national meetings and relayed to Central Government details of core issues affecting the industry.

Sue Taylor

Network Manager | ALPS

I have worked for ALPS for 17 years and have ran the network for the past 11 years. My role is to work with providers including the colleges and the independent sector to represent them on various groups such as the Local Enterprise Partnerships, The Surrey Skills Leadership Forum and The Apprenticeship Hub. I work closely with both the Federation of Small Business and the Chambers of Commerce. I am also responsible for the successful delivery of the Apprenticeship Skills and Knowledge Programme into our Surrey and Hampshire Schools.

Simon Bland

Head of Economic Prosperity | Reigate & Banstead Borough Council

Simon Bland is the Head of Economic Prosperity at Reigate and Banstead Borough Council. In this role he is responsible for the creation and delivery of a number of initiatives and services aimed at helping local businesses start, develop and grow.

He has extensive experience of delivering engagement programmes in both local government and further education devised to resolve issues, and to provide strategic intelligence.

He is and member of the Coast to Capital Skills 360 Board, an Orbital South Colleges governor, and one of the founders of RBInspire.net