AMONG the winners of last year’s Clacks Business Awards was InnPac Ltd who picked up the prize for Most Promising New Business.
The ground-breaking company specialises in innovative packaging to the food, drink, retail industry as well as many other sectors.
They have a strong environmentally-friendly ethos. All their products are recyclable and bio-degradable, and the company is certified by the British Retail Consortium and the Forest Stewardship Council.
The firm has recently increased their staff to assist growth, with its budget having increased for the last three years in a row.
Kevin Porter, managing director, said: “It was great to win the award last year. We weren’t expecting it. The team were delighted; it was a great occasion.
“It was definitely good PR for the team and gave everyone a jag in the arm.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years but we are a still a new company. We brought a freshness to the market and it’s been going very well.
“Our year one forecast was met after six months and our year two forecast was met after about nine or 10 months.
“We have two directors and an office manager but expansion may be a possibility. We might look at possibly bringing on a designer trainee.”
InnPac believe in reducing labour, increasing efficiencies and reducing packaging costs through innovation. Since winning they have been nominated for Most Innovative Product or Service in the Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards.
InnPact also offers a free product evaluation, to give companies an insight into how their current packaging system is working from a practical and commercial perspective.
They then analyse material specification, print and performance, advise on packing techniques and styles, and design bespoke packaging at reduced costs.
KIDZ World Soft Play and Nursery scooped an accolade for Outstanding Performing Business at the Clacks Business Awards 2015.
Life has been pretty busy since then, with continued growth and a substantial refurbishment amongst other things.
Last year marked the first time the Alloa-based organisation appeared at the annual event and they never expected to win the award.
Managing director Gail Morrison said: “The win really gave us all a huge boost. There was a real buzz about the place and it gave everyone a lift.
“I am very proud of what we have achieved at Kidz World and it was the icing on the cake to many years of hard work.
“We have had a good year with fantastic publicity coming out of winning the awards. Our after school club has continued to grow and our nursery is busier than ever.
“We have just invested over £10,000 in refurbishing the soft play frame and café in the soft play so all in all it’s been a busy but rewarding year.”
Kidz World, which is located at Kelliebank, offers soft play, a day nursery and after school club.
It has the largest soft play centre in Clackmannanshire, for children 0-12 years for play and parties.
Kidz World Nursery cares for up to 53 children per day from age six weeks to five years in its three age appropriate play rooms with a great team of highly trained staff.
Meanwhile, Kidz World After School Club looks after 60 children per day during term time and the summer holidays; it has children from every school in Tullibody and Alloa.
Over the last few months, a range of developments have taken place to improve the service for both children and adults.
Ms Morrison said: “We have so far invested over £10,000 in the soft play, upgrading the play frame, installed a new coffee shop servery, employed a very experienced catering manager and have began an extensive programme of upgrading and redecorating.
“We have also made huge improvements in the nursery and are making big changes to our environment in line through redecoration, new flooring and new resources.
“And most recently we have just invested in our own minibus so we can start taking the children out on trips and we have just introduced our children to Kidz World Forest School which sees the children spending time in the woods building dens, lighting fires, knot tying and mud play.”
There are a few things that are central to the business – primarily those working there and the service they provide to customers.
Ms Morrison said: “The most important aspect of Kidz World is our team. We do what we can to make a happy team and a happy environment for them to work in.
“We do our best to offer further training opportunities and a big proportion of our staff are either fully qualified or are going through employer supported training from SVQ level to degree level.
“An excellent quality service is also hugely important to Kidz World. Through investment recently we aim to keep improving the service we offer in both the nursery and soft play.
“And finally rain is always very important at Kidz World, without the rain we would have no customers so we are always happy when the weather is bad!”
SCOTTISH Autism has had an exciting year since it picked up the Best Not for Profit Organisation trophy at the 2015 Clacks Business Awards.
The Alloa-based charity is dedicated to enriching the lives of people with autism. It is the largest provider of autism-specific services in Scotland, providing a wide range of innovative support for children and adults.
It maintains a focus on improving quality of life and central to this is recognising that each person has a unique set of needs.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “We really did not expect to win. There is so much great work in the third sector going on in Forth Valley, we were delighted to be shortlisted and even more so to win.
“It meant a great deal for our work in Forth Valley to be recognised, both for our employees and for the charity as a whole. We have several services in the area supporting over 90 individuals with autism.
“We support individuals to utilise their skills and talents for the benefit of those in the local community and to be recognised for this was fantastic. The award has pride of place in our Head Office in Alloa.”
Scottish Autism employs around 300 people and within Clackmannanshire, it has a range of services including vocational services, day services, supported living and education at New Struan School.
The organisation had an exciting year with lots of successes within its services in the Forth Valley area as it continues to support people with autism to achieve goals which are meaningful to them.
Scottish Autism has developed several new initiatives across Scotland and has just launched a new online support programme for autistic women and girls.
The programme has been designed to provide valuable information in addressing health and wellbeing challenges for females who live with the condition as well as their parents, carers and other professionals working in the field of autism. Funded by the Scottish Government, the programme is free to access and will be available from July.
A musical theatre group formed after one of the individuals supported and some of the staff were given the opportunity to attend an Autism and Arts Symposium in Iowa last year.
Inspired by the work they saw there, the team decided to create a new drama group within the services here in Clackmannanshire. Friends and family members recently enjoyed their fantastic performance of The Witch, the Wizard and the Dancing Queen.
Pupils at New Struan School have also been busy and they celebrated 10 years in their purpose built school by holding a family fun day where they raised more than £200 for their school curriculum activities.
This year has also seen the charity share its knowledge and experience with parents, carers and professionals in the Falkirk area at three seminars looking at how to better support individuals with autism.
Scottish Autism was also delighted that its outreach, supported living and residential services for adults in Clackmannanshire excelled in their most recent care inspection.
ACE Recycling took home the Green Business of the Year Award in 2015 and have since gone from strength to strength.
Lisa Toon, ACE business manager, said: “We really enjoyed the opportunity to attend the ceremony last year.
“It was a chance for us to say thank you to our staff for their commitment and hard work.
“It was great for all of us to learn about the achievements of other businesses in Clackmannanshire, and to network with other local organisations.
“We were very surprised to pick up the award as the competition was strong, but thrilled to win.”
ACE has had a tremendous year since winning. As well as being awarded a major new local authority contract in North Lanarkshire to collect household glass, the company has welcomed a number of new members of staff.
Lisa said: “We are growing our commercial and industrial recycling business, offering a full waste management service.
“We continue to offer traineeships and work placements for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing them with real, practical work skills.
“We’ve developed our website to be able to share our story more easily, and we’re in the process of a major refit in our Alloa store, including an original mural, depicting ACE’s development since its inception in 1984.”
Lisa added: “We would absolutely recommend that other businesses get involved with the Business Awards.
“The awards are a great opportunity to share successes and achievements and find out what other local businesses are doing well.
“It’s a great networking opportunity, and just a good night out.
“We proudly display our ‘winner’ logo on our emails and our website. We look forward to this year’s event.”