Eco-clothing company Rapanui has won the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry Business of the Year Award. Founded by brothers Rob and Martin Drake-Knight, with nothing more than £200 and a box of t-shirts, the young team picked up the top award at the showpiece awards ceremony at Cowes Yacht Haven. Rob said: “You think that sort of award is reserved for the Island’s big businesses; it’s amazing, brilliant.”

Steve Porter, chairman of the Steve Porter Transport Group, the largest road haulage operator on the Island, was lost for words after being named the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry Business Person of the Year. He said: “I am totally gobsmacked; I don’t believe it, I’m stunned.”

Kevin Smith, Chief Executive of the Chamber, said: “The Island’s business community is the dynamo that sustains the local economy, creating wealth and employment. We all know that the past few years have been tough for the UK economy and tough for many of our Island companies, but tonight we have seen many examples of great local companies who are doing well, in spite of these less than conducive economic conditions.”

The 2012 ‘honours’ list

Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry Business of the Year: Rapanui;

Isle of Wight Chamber Member of the Year: Hovertravel;

Isle of Wight Chamber Business Person of the Year: Steve Porter.

New Business Award, sponsored by Glanvilles Commercial

STRUCTeam – specialists in the engineering of structures involving composite materials.

Highly Commended: Sapper Surveys – professional surveying for the construction and development sector; and Solar and Renewable Installations – a complete package of electrical, mechanical and renewable services.

Small Business Award, sponsored by Lloyds TSB/Isle of Wight Lottery

Hydromar – providers of sub-contract profile cutting services using a computer controlled waterjet.

Highly Commended: Rapanui – designers and makers of casualwear using sustainable materials; and Solar and Renewable Installations.

International Business Award, sponsored by Moore Stephens

Marine Data Systems – developers and manufacturers of marine navigation and control systems.

Highly Commended: STRUCTeam and Vikoma International – world leaders in the design and manufacture of oil spill response and pollution control equipment.

Green Business Award, sponsored by Lloyds TSB Cardnet


Highly Commended: Vikoma International; and Zeta-pdm – designers, fabricators and installers for  oil and gas industries worldwide.

Employee Development Award, sponsored by Vikoma

Gurit Automotive – supplying leading luxury car manufacturers with A-Class carbon fibre body panels.

Highly Commended: Betapak – supplying Island businesses with everything they need from more than 150,000 product lines; and Rapanui.

Business in the Community Award, sponsored by Isle of Wight County Press

Isle of Wight Pearl – housing the UK’s largest collection of pearls, and attracting more than 200,000 visitors a year.

Highly Commended:  Betapak, and Isle of Wight Steam Railway – an educational charity preserving the history of railway locomotion.

Manufacturing and Technology Award, sponsored by Gurit Automotive

Vikoma International

Highly Commended: Click4Internet – providing a cost effective solution to the rural internet community; and Marine Data Systems.

Tourism and Leisure Award, sponsored by Lucas Fettes

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Highly Commended: Isle of Wight Experience – offering visiting school groups an out of classroom educational experience; and Robin Hill Adventure Park and Gardens – one of the Island’s leading tourist destinations, with more than 140,000 visitors a year.

Accommodation and Hospitality Award, sponsored by The Mottistone

Enchanted Manor – a unique bed and breakfast retreat, specialising in celebration and wedding breaks for couples.

Highly Commended: Chale Bay Farm – offering luxury accommodation with a restaurant, intimate bar and outside seating; and Vintage Vacations – specialising in unique holiday accommodation, featuring a vintage and quirky interior design.

Retail and Service Industry Award, sponsored by Steve Porter Transport


Highly Commended: Earl Mountbatten Hospice Income Generation – raising money through seven shops, and with a central warehouse and distribution centre; and JR Zone – offering children and adults a chance to escape through indoor play and laser combat.

Professional and Business Services Award, sponsored by WightFibre

Glanvilles – providing legal services to individuals and businesses.

Highly Commended: Sapper Surveys; and The Price is Wight – offering deals on the best things to do, see, visit, eat and buy on the Island.

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