Funeral industry worker Claire Austin has been named the UK’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by the British Chambers of Commerce.
Claire, who is the managing director of Austin’s Funeral Directors, was invited to collect her award at a gala dinner held at London’s Guildhall.
A delighted Claire said: “I am amazed and thrilled to have won this award, but I really couldn’t have done it without the support and loyalty of the entire Austin’s team. Our whole business is about providing an outstanding service to our clients and everybody in the team plays a vital role in doing that.”
Austin’s made it to the national final, which was hosted by BBC journalist and broadcaster Declan Curry, having won the ‘Business of the Year’ and ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ categories at the Chamber’s East of England awards. In total, 85 companies from across the country attended the national final, competing in 14 categories.
The ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award is designed to recognise an individual who has been “instrumental in the success of a business, taking into consideration the overall performance of the business over the last three years.”
Claire is the 10th generation of her family to lead Austin’s and has been in charge since 2001. She was praised for significantly growing the 312-year-old company whilst continuing to focus on offering a level of service that “set the company apart from its national competitors”. Judges were particularly impressed by Claire’s use of feedback and a mystery shopper review.
President of the British Chambers of Commerce Martyn Pellew remarked: “Claire Austin is a fitting winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year award and she shows what can be achieved when you innovate and continually improve the way you do business.”
Austin’s has eight branches throughout north and east Hertfordshire and also owns and operates Harwood Park Crematorium in Stevenage.
Image: (L-R) Claire receiving her award from Sarah Wood of Unruly Media.