Cuffley photographer and Hatfield DJ triumph at small business awards

A PHOTOGRAPHER from Cuffley and a DJ from Hatfield have triumphed in the final of a county-wide business awards.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) second annual Hertfordshire Small Business Awards saw photographer Hannah Couzens scoop three gongs for her company Hannah Couzens Photography, with Mark Potter from Hatfield, walking away with the Self Employed Person of the year award for his company BlueMark Entertainment.

Hannah Couzens Photography was named Overall Winner, winning �1,000 cash and �20,000 worth of advertising, while Hannah herself was named Young Business Person of the Year.

Her studio manager Gemma Knichel, walked away with the Employee of the Year award, at the ceremony at Tewin Bury Farm Hotel.

“I was amazed, and really pleased for the whole business,” said Hannah, 27, who opened her first studio in Station Road aged just 22.

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“It reminds you why you do this – all of your hard work feels like it’s been recognised and it’s a great feeling.”

Gemma, 24, said: “I’m really pleased to get my work recognised. I love working here, it’s so much fun and the girls are all fantastic so it makes it easier. I don’t really think of it as a job, really.”

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Both Hannah and Gemma beat other Times Territory companies to the accolades.

Ben Higgens, owner of Elegant Landscapes in Wild Hill, was a finalist in the Young Business Person category, while Lauren Wilsdon, from Potters Bar-based Shout Promotional Merchandise, was named runner-up in the Employee of the Year category.

“I was really pleased to be selected as a finalist and am absolutely thrilled that I was the runner-up for the Employee of the Year award,” said Lauren, 25. “It was a really enjoyable night.”

Ben, 24, said: “I was disapointed not to win, but there’s always next time. I’ll certainly be entering again.”

Meanwhile, Mark Potter was delighted to scoop the Self-Employed Person of the Year gong.

The 39-year-old set up BlueMark Entertainment in 2004, and provides a bespoke entertainment service for weddings, civil ceremonies, children’s parties and corporate functions.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Mark. “One of my clients suggested I entered. For one of my customers to think I was good enough to win an award – I’m absolutely over the moon.”

He added he would be offering a discount to any customer who mentions his win in celebration.

Maree Atkinson of the FSB said: “The standard of entries was really high and were a fantastic reflection of the diverse nature of Hertfordshire’s thriving small business community.

“I’m thrilled so many businesses entered and I’d like to thank every one of them for doing so.”

It was also a great night for the Herts Air Ambulance, after it raised more than �1,250 at the awards as the night’s sponsored charity.

Hertfordshire Air Ambulance co-ordinator Nikki Caborn said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen by the FSB for the second year in a row.

“We’re a small business ourselves, so it was great to be in the same room as people who are experiencing the same changes and challenges as we are.”

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