Do you have what it takes to impress the Times Business Awards judges?

Do you have what it takes to impress the Times Business Awards judges?

The winning businesses chosen from those shortlisted for the black tie evening at the Science Theatre at Salomons Estate on Thursday, March 24, will be chosen by this year’s panel of judges.

The judges for 2022 come from a range of sectors, and each one has been selected to bring their own unique take on not only what makes a good business, but also what makes them a good business for the area.

We have been honoured each year to have had some fantastic judges, all leaders in their respective fields, and 2022 is no different.

Joining TV’s Eamonn Holmes – one of Britain’s most well-known faces from breakfast and daytime TV – on centre stage will be head judge Jo James OBE.


Jo James

As Chief Executive of Kent Invicta, the county’s only accredited Chamber of Commerce Jo represents more than 1,300 members’ businesses across Kent.

Ms James also represents business on the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. She has been head judge at numerous Times Business Awards in the past.

She said: “I am delighted to be judging once again the Times Business Awards.

“The past 20 months have been excessively hard for our business community but despite the challenges and obstacles, so many businesses have not only survived but thrived through diversification and innovation and this year’s Awards will give us the opportunity to celebrate a truly innovative business community.”

Darren Austin

Joining Jo on the panel of judges is partner/ owner of Synergee, the chartered accountants and business advisors. Darren Austin has more than 30 years’ experience, most of which has been gained working closely with owner managed business covering all industries.

Tom Poynter

AS CEO of the creative agency Southpaw, which has been located in the town for over 50 years, Tom Poynter is in charge of servicing global clients like Honda, Diageo, Ahmad Tea, Brown-Forman and PZ Cussons it has always placed a significant importance on the town, its culture and talent.

“I am really looking forward to the entries for 2022. Covid has impacted businesses across all sectors and in many different ways.

“The move to different operating models has meant there is a genuine opportunity for local businesses to thrive.

“I am looking forward to hearing how companies have been creative through 2021 in looking after their staff, their customers and setting themselves up for future growth.”

Siobhan Stirling

Siobhan Stirling, director of marketing and PR agency, Sharp Minds Communications, is no stranger to awards, having been named Best Woman in PR and Marketing at this year’s national Best Business Women Awards and taken titles for the last four years at the Kent Business Women Awards.

“I know how hard business owners work to serve their customers and create jobs and opportunities, so I’m excited to get more insights into some of our fabulous local businesses and to do a small bit in providing the just recognition that our local entrepreneurs deserve.”

Tom Dawlings

Cllr Tom Dawlings is the current leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. Before joining the council in 2012 as a member for the Conservative Party, Tom worked at The Bank of England.

He said: “Encouraging and attracting new businesses and the growth of businesses is fundamentally important to the residents of the Borough in providing more employment and also to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council because growing the local economy and increasing business rates has a direct effect on the Council’s finances.”

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