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Top award for blossoming firm

PUBLISHED: 11:49 05 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:29 03 July 2010

WINNERS: Philip Larkin, left, and Stuart Harvey

WINNERS: Philip Larkin, left, and Stuart Harvey

A GREAT Yarmouth business collected a prestigious national award after seeing sales of its specialist components increase by over 150pc a year since it started trading two-and-a-half years ago.

A GREAT Yarmouth business collected a prestigious national award after seeing sales of its specialist components increase by over 150pc a year since it started trading two-and-a-half years ago.

Softstart UK, based on Harfreys Industrial Estate, scooped the prize for Most Promising New Business at the British Chamber of Commerce awards in London, in recognition of the progress made by the two-man company, which provides components for pipelines and power stations.

But the award was a surprise to Softstart's sales and marketing director Stuart Harvey, even though the firm had already won the regional heat in October.

He said: “We really thought we were going down to the national awards for an entertaining evening to see the national awards being presented. I hope our award is an inspiration for other companies to know that if they have got a good idea then they should follow through with it.”

Since Softstart UK launched its annual turnover has increased from £18,000 in its first six months to £400,000 in its third full year and projected forecasts are looking at an annual turnover of between £6m and £8m by 2011. Softstart components can be found as far afield as Poland, Russia and Iran

Such has been the rate of expansion that Mr Harvey and his colleague, technical director Philip Larkin, are looking for bigger premises and to take on more staff. They are looking at sites including the Beacon Park Industrial Estate in Gorleston and a site in Beccles.

The firm's components control the flow of electricity to motors in a similar way to dimmer switches controlling lights and can be used to control giant water turbines supplying towns so they do not drain the electricity network and cause a power cut.

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