Awards Evening and Reception

KF Celebrating the successes of 2019

2019 was a big year for the Kent Foundation, new services have been launched, and the number of businesses who accessed support through our mentoring program nearly doubled to 160 businesses. We are very proud of the achievements we have made, but more importantly, we are proud to be a part of the achievements made by young entrepreneurs and business owners in Kent. This is why we want to publicly celebrate with them, and recognise their achievements.

Young Entrepreneurs and business owners, Mentors, Trustees and the staff team gathered for our annual Kent Foundation Awards hosted by Ann Allen MBE, Chairman of Kent County Council at County Hall on 22 January.  We were overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of nominations this year and delighted to make awards to such worthy winners.  The room was buzzing with conversation before and after the awards ceremony and we managed to only overrun by nearly an hour!

It was a pleasure for everyone there to see the recognition given to both Kent Foundation Members and Volunteers. So much has been achieved in 2019 by the businesses that were nominated, and, through the support and appreciation of their Kent Foundation Business Mentors.

Finally, a big thank you to Kent County Council, and in particular Cllr. Ann Allen MBE for hosting this event. It has become a highlight in our calendar, and it would not be possible without your support.

Business of the Month

Optimum Performance – Jamie Bird

The Kent Foundation has got to know Jamie really well over the last year, and I am sure many of you will of met him at our Kent Foundation events, and a few networking groups too. To see his business journey first hand has been a privilege, and what he has achieved with the business has demonstrated to us how much it means to him, and ultimately providing a great service for his clients.

I’m Jamie, a sports performance and injury specialist personal trainer and my business is Optimum Performance. I work with athletes of all abilities who are aspiring to get to the next level.

Optimum Performance is still very much a new business. I say new because for the past two years we have been trading as ‘Bird Fitness’, a personal training company. To keep it short, most of our client base had goals surrounding either recovery from an injury or improving their performance in sports. So, the rebrand came about naturally and here we are today.

Optimum Performance is more than just personal training. In all cases we try to work with other experts to create a complete training programme that’s going to, firstly, excel our client forward and, secondly, complement any additional training that coaches, physios or massage therapists bring to our attention. We have created our OP Model and use this to train our athletes. This is what separates us from our competitors, a training model designed specifically for athletes.

On a personal level, there is nothing better than seeing someone succeed and knowing that you were a part of their journey, a part of a team that have helped them move forward. Our most recent success story is a competitive golf player Mark. He had great success in the US Pro-am Pebble Beach tour, coming 2nd in both his individual and team event. Check out his testimonial on our website.

I want athletes to have access to the best physical training that they can, to help with injury recovery, as well as keep injury away. Working with athletes there is a commitment level that is already firmly embedded; they want the best and will work very hard to achieve it. Looking to the future I aim for Optimum Performance to be the go-to place for sport performance and injury recovery.

Running the business at the start was quite challenging, as I had lots of ideas. The excitement and reality of being your own boss is very rewarding. If I was asked for some advice I would 100% recommend a mentor as an extra set of eyes that have the best intentions to help you succeed. Someone with the experience to be able to talk things through. I feel the Kent Foundation has greatly helped me gain clarity.

If you’d like to find out a bit more about us, check out our website or socials @myopfitness – we’d love to hear from you and build some connections. 

Business of the Month

H&BAI – Sam Davey

The Kent Foundation likes nothing more than when a young person following in the footsteps of their Family. Sam Davey is one of them! Growing up in a family of business people it was inevitable he was going to take his own step into business at some point.

Sam Davey – From a very young age I have been surrounded by ironmongery and its many topics! Growing up the only boy in my family with a Granddad, 3 Uncles and a Dad that are all involved in the family business, Hinges & Brackets ironmongery stores. I was quizzed on a pretty much daily basis. So it was only right that I did my share by becoming Ashford’s Saturday boy when I started secondary school in 2005. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunities and guidance to try new things, and explore paths in the industry that most don’t get to. I believe with my lifelong involvement in the industry and the guidance from my relatives and colleagues, I am the perfect product for my environment. My abilities come from knowing how to tackle jobs and projects with a personal service that the internet can never beat.

I started my own company H&B Architectural Ironmongers Ltd in 2018 with a strong idea of what I want to provide, and what I want to achieve, satisfied customers is my business strategy. Two major factors in achieving that are service and products. I’ve always been a “proper ironmongery” nerd and thrive when I work independently. Coming from a retail perspective I could see that purely having a retail premises was not enough in a changing market. I supply good quality locks, doors and window fittings and uniquely I provide a fix and install service. With the ever-changing retail market in a state of flux worldwide and the continuous flood of information available on the web.  A new strategy is needed from most modern businesses that wish to keep up. What I believe is needed is an innovative new approach to the way we do business, combining old fashioned personal service and hands on experience that builds trust and relationships with the help and efficiency of the web to communicate and relay important information and ideas.

With deep knowledge and understanding of this industry I have gained expertise in the products that I favour to specify. I always recommend the best product for the situation depending on many factors that become vital; Quality, Design, Price, Lead time, Mechanical function, Finish Quality, Product guarantee, Product support and recognition.

Some quick fire questions from The Kent Foundation

What’s been your biggest success/proudest moment to date? My biggest success so far has been designing and supplying high end British made bespoke brass ironmongery for Rochester Brewery development.

What’s been your biggest challenge? Gaining and maintaining cash flow.

What are your plans for the future? I aim to continue growing and developing my business as the market determines.

I do want to give credit to, Stuart and my business mentor Bryan for making me confident enough to realise I can do it, and do it well! Meeting the Kent Foundation has given me the confidence to believe I can achieve everything I want to in and out of work. This last year, I built a business, bought my first house, got engaged. A helpful pat on the back has sent me into a sprint.

My business tip for other young people in business is find your passion, then look for the opportunities within it, stay committed, and focus on your own vision and dream.

Find out more about Sam’s business here

The Kent Foundation Business Awards

22nd January 2020

Last years winners! who should be in this year line-up?

The Kent Foundation Business Awards Evening Reception is the perfect opportunity for all involved with The Kent Foundation to look back over the last year (2019) and celebrate the achievements that have been made by the businesses we supported, as well as recognise and thank the contribution our business mentors make. It’s also a great opportunity to meet up with everyone involved in The Kent Foundation, from new start-up businesses to experienced business mentors whilst enjoying a glass of wine.

Nominations are open for following categories:

  • The Spirit of The Kent Foundation – Recognising the contribution of a Volunteer Business Mentor.
  • Kent Foundation Start up of the Year – For the achievement of a Young Person in Business (Mentee).
  • The BIG Impact Award – Someone who has gone over and above (Young Person in Business or Volunteer) to support the wider work of the Kent Foundation, or contribution to growing the economy of Kent.

To make a nomination please email us ( with your nominee’s name, which award you would like to put them forward for, and a brief statement of why you believe they should be awarded it, in no more than 100 words.

All nominations must be received by Friday 20th December 2019.

Great to catch up with everyone too!

We really look forward to seeing you there!

Business of the Month

Construction Trader – Jake Body

I started working on the business in January 2019 when a family member passed the domain name onto me. Since then, I was focused on launching it as quickly as possible. I put countless hours into building the website – all self taught! – to make it look right, and be as simple as possible for users to navigate.

Construction Trader officially launched and started trading in August 2019, on my 18th Birthday! It is an online marketplace for buying and selling machinery, from diggers to dumper trucks, and anything else related to the construction industry. It is different from other marketplaces because it currently offers free listing for sellers and the cost of running the site is through paid advertising.

This has been a huge task to take an idea to a live business in just 8 months and one of my proudest moments would either be making my first sale on Construction Trader, or exhibiting the business at Kent Construction Expo 2019. The Expo was a great experience for myself – it was a packed event at The County ShowGround, Detling, meeting people from the construction industry as well as an exciting opportunity to promote my business to the public and really raise awareness of Construction Trader. It was a big step for us and a great opportunity.

I think the biggest challenge for me at this stage of the business was learning to build a website from scratch. I made sure I had the right people around me that offered support and they also connected me with others who gave me some great advice as well. However, it was a lot to learn in a very short period.

I would say my business mentoring from The Kent Foundation has helped me massively too. I have met with one mentor who has given me invaluable advice on the banking and financial elements of the business, and another who has spent a lot of time with me looking for great ideas to boost my audience and build good relationships with clients. The list goes on with the support that they have offered me. I can’t thank The Kent Foundation staff enough too as they have also been like a mentor to me giving me advice and a shoulder to lean on whenever I’ve had issues.

My plans for the future is to become the number one place to buy and sell construction machinery, to be in a good financial position, and to constantly work towards giving our customers a great service. I would also look to employ staff in the future to support the business development when we take it to the next level.

My tips would be to work hard and the results will come, and when times are hard, don’t give up, and get some support.

For more information about Jake’s business, visit his website here. Construction Trader

Make It: Happen! Get a Mentor – Grow Your Business

On the 2nd of October we hosted a networking event in collaboration with Sun Pier House, Chatham, to raise awareness of The Kent Foundation in Medway. Young entrepreneurs Dayzee Potter (Dream Academy PA and Moondance Bar) and Anthony Bliss (Brave Little Tank) gave inspirational talks about the highs and lows of running a business and how the support of their mentors has helped them to succeed.

This was followed by a Q&A session as well as a brief introduction to the support offered from Medway Council and the benefits of co-working from Roland at Dragon Co-working. We had a great turnout from across the business community and five new sign-ups to The Kent Foundation on the night! Watch this space for similar events near you.