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Businesses that have struggled against the odds were among those recognised at a celebration event in Hemel Hempstead.

Simon Collins, of Industrial Floorcare Machines, in Apsley Industrial Estate, Kents Avenue, was badly hurt in a car accident 18 months ago,

And Patrick Burke has battled against the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis to set up

Both received at least £1,000 to help their ventures after they went through a gruelling Dacorum’s Den interview.

Presenting the businesses with their award wins on Friday (September 14), Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning, who was a Dacorum’s Den judge, said: “Patrick has asked ‘how can I help other people?’ – it was a no-brainer for us to give this money.

“After a car crash Simon was fighting for his life. He now wants to employ more people.”

Other Dacorum’s Den award winners included Hemel Stags rugby league club, a business making four-poster beds for pets, Baby Moments, which takes casts of baby hands and feet, Quest Joinery and a chilli sauce business called The Grim Reaper.

Grim Reaper owner, chef Russell Williams and Simon Collins each were awarded an extra £500.

The presentations were made at Maylands Business Centre, which has passed its first anniversary. A company signed up on the morning of the celebration event to bring occupancy at the mixed office and light-industrial premises in Redbourn Road up to 100 per cent.

Dacorum mayor Bert Chapman said: “The feeling I get here is just a buzz, it’s amazing and to be ahead of predictions for occupancy in this climate is amazing.”

Mark Gaynor, housing and regeneration supremo at Dacorum Borough Council, said the business centre was ‘ahead of its business plan by a mile’. He added that the council wanted to see a conveyor belt of businesses moving into the centre, growing and leaving. The centre is the focus of business advice services.

“We want to help these businesses move on,” he said. “The three year leases will give businesses time to develop a long term strategy.”

Mr Gaynor added: “One of the firms here has seen 80 per cent growth in the last year. If we could achieve that throughout the country, we would be laughing.

The video was supplied by Dacorum Borough Council.




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