FAMILY-RUN businesses in and around Woking have secured nearly half the final places in a national award scheme.

Fifteen small companies in the West Surrey branch are in line to win a category in the Family Network UK National Recognition Business Awards. They have been chosen for 16 of the 38 finalist places, out of thousands of members from groups across the country.

Dueyna Chinere, the branch leader who started up the group five years ago, said: “We are lucky to have so many fantastic businesses in Woking and the surrounding area, many who have worked extremely hard through these last difficult years to grow their business significantly. It is great that they are being recognised for this.”

The local finalists are:

Small Business:  Little Bears Music; Love Thy Body Project

Business Growth: Bare+Fair; Koala Kids Parties; ShyneFest 

New Business Start-up: The Warren; White Rabbit Executive Coaching; 

Best Product: Emma Martin Mindfulness; Sims Selections

Business Mum: Caterpillar Music Guildford; Jolley Consultancy 

Best Networker: Hannah Bruce Art; Jolley Consultancy 

Against All Odds: Dee’s Kitchen; Kamelia Photography

Dee’s Kitchen and Jolley Consultancy were winners in the awards last year, which were held on Zoom for the second year running because of the pandemic.

This year there will be an in-person ceremony and dinner on 5 March at The Forest of Arden Hotel in Birmingham.

“I am thrilled and proud to become a finalist and cannot wait for the awards ceremony,” said Selina Sims.

Selina, who lives in Bisley, started her wooden gifts business Sims Selections in 2019 after taking up woodwork as a hobby the previous year. “For a small business owner this is very exciting and extremely uplifting.”

Emma Martin set up her mindfulness business from her home in Knaphill in 2020, after benefitting from the concept after suffering from postnatal depression. She began by helping friends, family and local mums and now runs mindfulness and wellbeing workshops and courses at various venues, including fellow awards finalist The Warren.

Emma donates 2.5% of the profits from her “Mindfulness in a box” to mental health charity Woking Mind.

Clare Frankland, who runs the Chobham-based White Rabbit Executive Coaching, said: “I feel privileged to be a finalist in the New Business Start-up category.

“The Family Network has provided me with practical ideas on how to build the business but also so much support and encouragement to succeed. 

“TFN is a real network of wonderful friends. Dueyna is a marvellous group leader as she promotes each business and provides a strong sense of community.”

Other finalists include children’s party organiser Zara Mizen, who runs Koala Kids Parties, dressing as the birthday boy or girl’s favourite character. During lockdown, she organised live chats and recorded messages for children whose parties were cancelled due to the pandemic, donating the proceeds to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Also in the Business Growth category with Zara is zero waste and refill shop Bare + Fair, and family friendly live music festival ShyneFest. One of its organisers, Kevin Adcock, said: “We are so honoured to have been nominated and to have got through to the finals this year.”

ShyneFest was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic and rescheduled twice before returning successfully in September last year.

ShyneFest started as a 40th birthday party on a friend’s farm and has grown to become a music festival including camping, glamping options, kids’ entertainment and silent disco.

Kevin, plus fellow organisers Shyne Adcock and Ciaron and Colleen Sykes, are excited to be moving to a new venue this year at Merrist Wood College, saying the woodland location will add extras to the festival.

“The last couple of years have been hard on everyone,” said Kevin. “To have come back from the ashes late summer and to go ahead with such an amazing turnout, absolutely blew us away.

“I am very proud of the ShyneFest team and very thankful to our ShyneFesters who supported us.”

For more information, visit