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Meet the Judges! Blue Patch Sustainable Business Awards 2020

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At the start of 2019 there were 5.82 million small businesses in the UK (with 0 to 49 employees). SMEs accounted for 99.9% of the business population (5.9 million businesses), three-fifths of employment and around half of the turnover in the private sector. UK Small Business Statistics, FSB.

Despite these encouraging numbers, 2020 has been an unexpected and difficult year.

The Blue Patch Awards were created in 2016 to recognise high quality design as well as genuine, innovative and sustainable approaches to ethical business. In their 5th year now, the mission of the awards remains the same.

In fact, it is even more important now that outstanding sustainable British and Irish SMEs be brought into the limelight and recognised.

This year our judges come from the world of business, design, journalism, academia, writing and sustainability and are experts in their fields. We are grateful to them for their time and their support of the awards, sustainable businesses in the UK, Ireland and globally and our mission.

The 2020 awards are now closed.


Esha Elawadhi is Co-Founder at Future Office Talks and Event Director of London Design Fair which is the largest collection of international exhibitors, brands and designers during the London Design Festival. She’s a highly experienced Event Director with a passion for creating live experiences for designers and architects with speciality in product development strategy, exhibition management, social media strategy, sales planning, people management and account management in the design industry. Linkedin.

Eva Sonaike is a London-based Interiors company specialising in luxury home textiles and soft furnishings with a distinctive and vibrant West-African aesthetic. The company’s ethos ‘Bringing Colour to Life’ is reflected in its signature collections of cushions, rugs, furnishings, lamps and interior textiles. Creative Director Eva Sonaike graduated with an MA in Fashion Journalism from the London College of Fashion, where she specialised in contemporary African fashion and textiles. She then pursued an editorial career working as UK Fashion Editor for one of Germany’s leading magazine publishers for six years, working for titles such as German Elle, InStyle and Focus from their London office. Driven by her enormous passion for African fabrics and interior design, she set up the company in 2009 with the mission of bringing the vibrancy of African colours and aesthetics to the luxury home- décor and accessories market. 

Founder of  The Cookery School and Chef Extraordinaire Rosalind Rathouse is obsessed with food. She has worked as a professional cook, run her own cookery business and taught cookery to over 40,000 adults and children. Cookery School’s aim is to take people back to honest, homely, delicious cooking. ‘There is nothing cheffy or fancy about our food – we simply love sharing our ideas for delicious home-made food, using common utensils that can be found in most home kitchens. Our focus is on demystifying cooking, removing jargon and bringing back solid cooking skills, using high quality, primarily organic, sustainable ingredients.’

Check out the Cookery School’s online cooking projects and their aim to start the younger generation cooking healthy food at home – a really brilliant idea! Team Blue Patch’s cooking has improved no end!

Roddy Clarke works as a journalist covering many areas of design, with a strong focus on the positive social and environmental impacts it can have. A regular contributor to titles including Forbes, The Financial Times and the London Evening Standard, he is also working on a new online restoration platform, The Restoration Collective.

His passion for interiors, antiques and sustainability stems from a young age, learning directly from his father – a China and Porcelain restorer. Igniting a keen interest for reconditioning and handling luxury items, he moved into the industry where he spent over four years managing multiple restoration projects for private clients, stately homes and larger public spaces. Upon moving to London Roddy then focused his energy on the furniture retail industry. Working as a freelance stylist and offering creative direction for brands led him back to his roots to discover the true purpose of design and its role within a future society where a conscious ethos and a beautiful aesthetic can be successfully merged. Instagram  Website. 

Edward Bulmer, founder of Edward Bulmer Natural Paint has spent the last 30 years working in some of Britain’s finest buildings. He is a leading interior designer, architectural historian and ‘colourman’, renowned for restoring our heritage buildings, bringing his expert knowledge to conservation and his design flair to the creation of new spaces for modern living. Edward is an environmental campaigner and the company embodies the ethos of sustainability in everything they do.

Dr Virginia Button is an art historian, writer, curator, teacher and consultant with a deeply-held belief in the positive, transformative power of art as a catalyst for social change and personal fulfilment. After completing her PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art, as a specialist in modern and contemporary British art she was a Tate curator in London for ten years – initially at the Tate Gallery, then as Senior Curator at Tate Britain – before moving to Cornwall. She became Director of Falmouth School of Art at Falmouth University, leaving her post in 2018 to pursue work in arts advocacy and cultural leadership, alongside writing and curating. She has authored books on such artists as Ben Nicholson and Lucian Freud, and her book on Wilhelmina Barns-Graham is published this year. She is a Trustee of Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange in Penzance. Virginia Button on Linkedin. Photo credit: Steve Tanner.

Social entrepreneur Mobeen Butt founded the Muslim Museum Initiative with the support of the AYA Foundation. A business strategist, Mobeen has 20 years’ experience across Public Sector, Financial Services, Academia, Engineering, IT, and Arts, Heritage & Culture. With a ‘can-do’ attitude and a broad view of business, his long-term aim is to establish the first museum celebrating Muslim History and Culture in Britain.

Alex Oliver is the Founder of Oliver Boo Coaching & Consulting Ltd. Alex is a strategy and coaching professional with many years’ experience spanning public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Alex began her career in the private sector in international marketing, strategy and training roles before joining the UK Government’s Cabinet Office to lead a cross-government programme of work around citizen-led service and policy design.  She later joined global consultancy Kantar where she has managed public/ non-profit sector teams and led projects for government and public clients around the world.  Since 2012, Alex has worked independently through her own business. This includes working at board level as strategy advisor for the public global government consultancy and research division within Kantar. Alex is a professional, certified life and leadership coach (Co-Active method).  She is an executive mentor for high potential women in business, and also has a large pro bono portfolio including a board trusteeship for ground-breaking older people’s charity, Claremont.

Simon Hamilton is a native Londoner, who gained his Interior Design degree in Nottingham. During a career spanning 30 years and counting, he has operated as a creative within the built environment sector. Initially working for architects and other interior designers in the workplace, hospitality, retail and residential sectors. Simon to set up his own interior design consultancy from 2002 – 2013. In addition to writing a design book – ‘Listen, Design, Inspire’, about the creative journey of Italian Interior and Product Designer, Matteo Bianchi, he is also a visiting tutor at Central Saint Martins, University of The Arts London and The Interior Design School. From 2010 to 2014, he served as International Director for the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID). Simon has always been an active supporter of inclusion, diversity, sustainability and environmental issues. He has now combined his design expertise and professional knowledge to create his own Design Career Consultancy which helps Interior Designers at all levels and from all backgrounds to thrive, developing long and exciting creative careers.  Design Career Consulting.

Ben Faulkner joined EQ Investors in 2015 and has over 17 years of experience across the pensions, financial technology and wealth management sectors. At EQ, he is responsible for developing, managing and implementing the marketing communications strategy. Outside of work, Ben’s two daughters keep him busy. He enjoys keeping fit, especially running and cycling along the Pilgrim’s Way.

EQ Investors have kindly sponsored the Global Impact Award. They are also Blue Patch members. Thanks so much!

Anne MacCaig is passionate about achieving sustainable ways of living and working. She is a Non-Executive Director at the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL). It is the leading recycling label in the UK with 7 out of 10 consumers recognising and acting on its messages. She is a Mentor on the Expert Impact programme run by The British Library, mentoring leaders of “social enterprises” who are seeking to have a positive social and environmental impact through their businesses. Previously Anne was CEO of Cafedirect PLC, (£14 million) running the organisation on behalf of small-holder farmers in Africa and Latin America.  By reinvesting profits into programmes to support farmers and their communities she led the business to win The Guardian Sustainable Business Award for Social Impact in 2011. She is passionate about the Environment, Biodiversity, Gardens, Health and Social Care, Theatre and Dance. Anne’s on Linkedin.

With a background in Business and Marketing Johanna Davies began her career in London creative agencies working with clients to convey their brand message across all forms of media.  After relocating to Somerset, an opportunity for a career change came in the form of an extensive interior refurbishment project – a Grade II listed building that was home to a marketing agency who wanted to renovate their building in line with a company rebrand. Johanna set up an interior design practice with a niche in wellbeing and sustainability, low chemical and low impact homes.  Combining her love of being outside in nature and interest in the principles of Biophilic Design she has recently worked with clients in health & wellness, architecture and hospitality on projects that span branding, interior design and marketing communications, and digital marketing, all of which have wellbeing, good design and sustainability at the heart of what they do. Instagram. Website

Rukmini Patel is an interior designer who runs an interior design studio known for its colourful, and modern style. Having left her corporate career in Banking she decided to set up her own interior design studio after completing various design courses at Central Saint Martins, Interior Designer’s Business School and many other design and business courses. Her studio specialises in renovation properties in and around London. Rukmini is also co-founder of Design for Diversity initiative which is a simple pledge to encourage businesses and brands to create diversity across their marketing, opportunities and events. 

Kate Watson-Smyth is a former print journalist who has written for the The Financial Times, the Independent and The Daily Mail. She has been writing about property, interiors and design for the last 20 years, and won Lifestyle/Interiors writer of the year at the 2013 Property Press Awards during her time at the FT. She is currently a columnist at Red Magazine.

She began writing her blog, Mad about the House, in 2012 as an online CV hoping it would lead to more freelance journalism as newspapers were in decline. It has gone from strength-to-strength, picking up a number of awards and has been ranked Vuelio’s no 1 UK Interiors Blog since 2016. 

Kate is the also author of three books: Mad about the House: How to decorate your home with style; Shades of Grey: Decorating with the most elegant of neutrals; and Mad about the House: 101 Interior Design Answers (out March 2020). Her fourth book will be out next year. 

More recently, Kate spearheaded the #DoLessHarm campaign, promoting brands with a strong sustainability ethos which helps consumers to make more environmentally-friendly choices when furnishing their homes and she is a co-founder of Design for Diversity, a three line pledge committing brands to be more diverse on their channels, at their events and in their hiring processes. 

Daniel Gava has more than twenty years of professional experience in the design industry and has been employed in primary positions within the departments of marketing, PR, sales and board of directors in well-known international high-end furniture manufacturers. 

He lived and worked in various countries including Italy, Spain, United States and since 2011 he is based in London where he currently works as an independent consultant assisting top companies and designers grow their brand and business.

Daniel is an innovator and understands that business is all about great relationship building. He has consistently been one of the most perceptive, generous and intelligent presences on the London design scene for a number of years and he has proven to be a tireless champion of design and the design industry, bringing fresh thinking and contributing to the diffusion of creativity and design culture in London. 

Daniel is Design Patron of the Design Museum, Affiliate Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and Ambassador of the London School of Architecture. 

Carsten Holm is the Managing Director of Diversified UK, heading up a team of highly talented, creative people. Diversified runs around 20 market leading trade events, including London’s most exciting design event, London Design Fair. Carsten is passionate about great design and the pleasure it brings to people in their everyday lives.

Martin Hurn is Event Director of Futurebuild. Futurebuild brings to life important issues in the future of our industry, latest technology, fresh thinking and the most innovative materials to keep you at the forefront of the built environment. Martin has worked for over 15 years in the built environment and has a passion for sustainability and driving the green agenda through Futurebuild.

Melanie Callender founded MC Creative in 2012 after she qualified as an Interior Architect. With a MA in Advertising Branding & Communication, her expertise includes marketing and brand development, primarily focusing on brand equity through customer experience. Melanie’s multi-disciplinary background fuels her creative passion and flair which allows her to think outside the box; paying close attention to the details that will make any brand successful pushing them to be culturally progressive, gender identity conscious and commercially inclusive.

Melanie worked with Blue Patch on their London Design Fair stand designs in 2017 and 2018. 

William Knight has worked at the centre of UK design promotion for over 20 years. Recruited by the Design Council in 1999, he managed parliamentary relations, international promotion and policy dialogue during a key period of recognition for the UK’s creative industries.  Deputy Director London Design Festival he played a significant role in establishing what is now one of the world’s most important annual creative events. He then went on to lead some of the UK’s largest commercial design events and exhibitions as Director of both 100% Design and Clerkenwell Design Week.  More recently, William spent two years working in the Middle East, as Director of Dubai Design Week. Back in London from 2019 he then established The Renew Consultancy. This has allowed him to work with a diverse range of organisations and individuals to build strategy, content and communities for design-focussed business and promotion.Design Career Consulting.

Abena Poku-Awuah is the Managing Director of Legacy, a sustainable events agency that organises events and special occasions whilst considering their environmental impact, carbon footprint, and potential for positive social change. She also runs the Legacy Marketplace, an online marketplace to help anyone organise an event using environmentally friendly suppliers.

Legacy represents the next generation of events and experiences, transforming the old ways and creating a market shift towards sustainable events. With her team, Abena is on a mission to revolutionise the way events are planned and run, demonstrating that sustainable events can be beautiful, engaging and inspiring.

Anna Szeler is a Business Advisor at Advance London, an ERDF funded programme that makes circular economy everyone’s business by supporting SMEs to implement circular business models. The programme is an integral part of the London Waste and Recycling Board‘s mission to transform London into a world-leading, low carbon, circular city. On the programme Anna offers support to SME’s from various sectors and with an expertise around plastics and packaging as well as with assessment of Environmental impact of products and services.

Anna has a consultancy background and has advised corporations and government agencies on sustainability and circular economy. Anna is an experienced environmental consultant with a strong track record in environmental modelling, life cycle assessment and sustainable product design. She has a master’s degree in Design Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark, with a specialisation in sustainable product and service development.

Matthew Clayton is the Managing Director of Thrive Renewables . Thrive Renewables connects people to sustainable energy and offer accessible opportunities for individuals and businesses to invest in clean energy projects. Matthew has worked in the Thrive Renewables team (formerly Triodos Renewables) since 2006 and undertakes the overall full time management of Thrive Renewables Plc. In this time Matthew has contributed to 15-fold growth in the Company.

Thrive Renewables are Blue Patch members and Gold Patrons. We’d like to thank them for supporting the 2020 Awards and encouraging sustainable business in the UK.

Paul Croucher, Managing Director, Reliance Bank.

Paul is responsible for the day to day running of the Bank through leadership of its executive committee. Paul’s leadership of the Bank extends from the delivery of its strategic and operational plan as well as being proactive in the social impact finance market. Paul spent the first part of his career working for large banks including Lloyds and The Royal Bank of Scotland. With experience in both retail and corporate banking, Paul achieved the position of Regional Director. He has extensive business restructuring and change management experience and latterly formed part of the executive team at The UK’s Export Credit Agency where he delivered a successful government finance intervention to assist SMEs. Paul is also a Trustee of The Barnsole Multi Academy Trust in Kent and is also Non-Executive Audit and Risk Committee Chair of Caledonian Maritime Assets – The Scottish Government Body that owns the Ferries Ports and Infrastructure for the important community lifeline services serving Scotland.“Leading Reliance Bank is a great privilege – to serve our very special owners The Salvation Army and to deliver on our founder’s vision to create a Bank that can make a difference in society.”

Reliance Bank kindly sponsored the Social Impact Award. They are Silver Patrons and members of Blue Patch.  Thanks so much!

Matthew Criddle founded Naturesave Insurance in Oxford in 1993, now based in Totnes, Devon, the company recognised as the leading ethical insurance provider in the UK.  Matthew, formerly a Lloyds insurance broker set up the business to act as a vehicle for sustainable development within the insurance industry. This endeavour was recognised in 2011 when Naturesave was awarded a Queens Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development, becoming the first insurance company to do so. In the award citation Naturesave was described as “an exemplar ethical insurance cover provider for individuals, companies, and the voluntary sector throughout the UK, which has set a clear benchmark for others within the insurance industry” The company donates profits into its charity, The Naturesave Trust, which has provided grants for hundreds of environmental projects across the UK. The Trust also funds environmental reviews for small businesses which are conducted using Bioregional’s 10 One Planet Living framework.  Naturesave plant a tree for every new insurance policy issued, has a no-fly business policy and is a founder member of the Climate Perks initiative, which incentives staff to travel overland for their holidays.

Naturesave are Blue Patch members and Gold Patrons. We’d like to thank them for supporting the 2020 Awards and encouraging sustainable business in the UK. We’d also like to thank them for insuring Blue Patch – keeping everyone safe and sound.

Jane Langley founded Blue Patch in 2014, having spent over 20 years as a painter, teacher and curator of exhibitions. In 2001 after a talk on climate change, she founded a creative environmental programme for young people and international film competition, screening children’s films at the BFI and the Barbican. She then realised climate change was tied to consumption and sketched out the idea for Blue Patch, where sustainable SMEs can be easily found and 100% of the company’s profit used to fund community-owned renewable energy. She lives in South London with her family and a lot of animals.

Our Awards are generously supported by Blue Patch Patrons, Thrive Renewables and Naturesave. Thanks so much!

And our wonderful 2020 individual award sponsors:

Global Impact Award Sponsored by EQ Investors

Social Impact Award sponsored by Reliance Bank

Thank you.


Posted on July 7, 2020 by Blue Patch Team
Blue Patch Team

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