An Eversley firm is hoping for a case of second time lucky in the Get Hampshire -sponsored Inspire Business Awards.
Intelligent Waste Management Ltd (iWaste), which helps to dispose of electrical waste legally and safely, is a finalist in the Small Business of the Year category for the second year and director Sam Prentice is "overwhelmed" by the news.
In July, the company hit the headlines after making nearly 200 dangerous hoverboards safe.
“In the last 12 months our business has gone from strength to strength and it’s encouraging to see the judges recognise how we’ve developed,” Mr Prentice said.
“We’re delighted they feel iWaste is still a worthy competitor.
“Since last year, our team and warehouse space have doubled. This has increased our capacity and won us some big contracts along the way.
“While we still have the same ethos, management team and ambitions, our business and reputation has evolved.
"We believe this places us in a strong position for this award and we’re looking forward to showing the judges how far we’ve come in the last 12 months.
“The Inspire Business Awards is a fantastic initiative. Being a finalist last year really raised our profile and helped to establish our name in the area. We’re hoping this year will be even better.”
The Warbrook Lane firm is no stranger to awards.
Earlier this year it triumphed at the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce’s Mentor Magic challenge, a Dragons’ Den-style event where business owners pitch to a panel of experts to win a year’s worth of mentoring.
After a series of heats, Mr Prentice and his colleague, Sam Mountain, made it to the final and successfully beat the competition in a head-to-head pitch.
Delighted Mr Prentice said: “Mentor Magic was a fantastic experience and a huge learning curve for Sam and myself. We were put on the spot, quizzed and advised.
“The end result really pushed us to drill down into business planning, growth and people management.”
The firm was called into action earlier this year when thousands of self-balancing hoverboards were impounded across the UK after it was decided they posed a fire risk.
Labelled by the media as the UK’s "most dangerous Christmas gift", more than 17,000 were examined at national entry points in the months leading up to the festive period. Of these, more than 15,000 were assessed and deemed unsafe.
Mr Prentice said the iWaste team used "reverse technologies" to break down the boards. “
The components and materials were segregated and put into the recycling system to be turned into new products,” he said.
“Lithium ion batteries, which often contain useful metals like high-grade copper, aluminium, cobalt and nickel, as well as rare earths, went for specialist treatment.”
The firm collects and disposes of all types of waste electronics.
“We are getting more and more involved with trading standards and have had a number of LED lighting cannons, e-cigarettes and USB charging units that have failed tests and are not approved for the UK market,” said Mr Prentice.
Meanwhile, a husband and wife duo hope for double success at this year’s Inspire Business Awards, as their brewery business has twice been named a finalist.
Andwell Brewing Company LLP has made the final three in the Small Business of the Year and Family Business of the Year categories for the awards.
Launched in 2008 by Adam Komrower and wife Helen, the brewery has established a reputation for consistently producing high-quality cask, keg and bottled products.
In 2011 it relocated and expanded to its current site, a former trout smoke house on the A30 between Hook and Basingstoke.
Now the pair are edging closer to opening The Brewhouse – a cafe, shop and meeting & function venue.
“We’re hoping that the builders will be off site within the next week,” said Mr Komrower.
“We had looked to be open before Christmas but don’t want to rush it. We want to get it right so that customers don’t come along and be disappointed.”
The Brewhouse cafe will overlook the River Lyde and nearby countryside, with space above it used for business meetings, conferences and private functions. It will also feature a purpose-built brewery shop.
Mr Komrower added: “This will give a new dynamic to the business and create a customer-focussed site within the brewery so we can show what we are doing.”
Andwell also offers guided tours with the opportunity to sample the produce and look around the site.
Speaking about making two finalist spots, Mr Komrower added: “It’s brilliant. It highlights the fact that people like what we’re doing and the judges have thought we ticked the boxes.”