Finalists revealed for Southern Oxfordshire New Business Competition

Ten top new businesses including three from Thame, have been revealed as finalists in the Southern Oxfordshire New Business Competition 2017, organised by Jennings and supported by Olympic rowing gold medalist, Tim Foster MBE.


This year’s shortlist includes Rambles Pet Care, founded by a 29-year-old former PR consultant who swapped her London lifestyle to start-up a business in Wantage offering services such as dog walking.


Joanna Menzies, director of Rambles Pet Care, said: ‘Running my own business has been a dream come true, so to be shortlisted for the Southern Oxfordshire New Business Competition, really is amazing! I’m so excited to be in with the chance of winning this fantastic prize package. Since starting Rambles Pet Care, I’ve been learning as I go, so the expert business guidance and mentoring on offer would be hugely invaluable to me!”


The winner of the competition, organised by commercial property landlords and business mentors, Jennings, will receive a prize package worth over £10,000 including an office at Monument Business Park and a host of professional services provided by SONBC sponsors: Blooberry Design, Ask4Support Ltd, Mushroom Soufflé and Clark Howes.


Chris Williams, commercial manager for organiser and sponsor, Jennings, said: “The SONBC 2017 finalists represent a diverse number of sectors, but all share a passion for making a success of their business. We would like to offer our congratulations to all finalists who should feel proud to have got this far on what we hope will be a long prosperous business journey.  Whittling down our class of ten to just one winner and runner up will be a tough process for the SONBC judges.”   


The SONBC 2017 finalists are:

  • Active Paws (based in Chalgrove) – a fitness activity centre offering a range of fun training classes for dogs and their owners including muscle tone and conditioning, puppy training, first aid and gun dog training
  • Horsebox Coffee Co (Dorchester Upon Thames) – after returning from a trip to Peru, this horsebox owner took it out of retirement to create a coffee bar. Life is now spent on the road offering ethical and sustainable specialty coffee at events
  • Mark Hewitson Photography Ltd (based in Thame) – Now with his own studio, Mark is fulfilling is childhood dream, creating beautiful imagery of families, children and animals
  • Rambles Pet Care (based in Wantage) – this business offers a complete contrast for its founder who swapped the bright lights of London to offer a friendly, reliable service including dog walking, visits and feeds for cats and other small animals plus a pet sitting service
  • Smurf-fit (based in Watlington) – the founder of this business turned to fitness after giving birth to her first child and now offers fitness classes to improve people’s health such as kettle bells, boxercise and body conditioning
  • Starbuck and James Ltd (based in Wallingford) – architects who believe that changing a space can change someone’s life. Their fun and engaging approach starts with a brainstorming session and for each of these undertaken, 10% of their fee is donated to a local homeless charity
  • Style and Sophistication (based in Wallingford) – this flourishing salon offers luxury and affordable hairdressing giving clients the best possible service and advice for homecare and keeping up to date with the latest products and trends
  • Tekat (based in Thame) – this started as a web design business but has grown to offer websites for mobile devices alongside services including search engine optimisation, online security and branding advice
  • The Deli at No: 5 (based in Thame) – after taking the plunge and turning their love of quality foods into a business that offers a wide range of hand sourced produce from the UK, this Deli is a developing family business
  • Trust on Tap (based in Long Wittenham) – an online system that match makes carers with families who need support looking after older generations


SONBC Finalist, Mark Hewitson, added: “I am honoured and humbled to be a finalist in SONBC. Since our opening last year we have gone from strength to strength. Winning this award would provide recognition of our place among the finest South Oxfordshire businesses while the support provided in the prize package will no doubt assist with ensuring our continued future growth.”


The SONBC winner will be presented with an award by Tim Foster and his wife Joy (founder of digital start-up resource agency Tech Pixies and social enterprise Made with Joy) on 7 April 2017.


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