Bookshop defeatstop tech talent to win best entrepreneur at Hackney business awards

Joanna De Guia holds her award for best entrepreneur with husband Crisanto De Guia at the Hackney Bu

Joanna De Guia holds her award for best entrepreneur with husband Crisanto De Guia at the Hackney Business awards - Credit: Archant

An old-fashioned bookshop fought off some of the top technology talent in London to scoop the award for best entrepreneur at the Mayor of Hackney’s Business Awards.

Despite Hackney being the centre for technology innovation in London, Victoria Park Children’s Bookshop in Victoria Park Road, Victoria Park won the award at the ceremony held at BL_NK in in East Road, Shoreditch on Thursday last week.

Proprietor and school governor Jo de Guia, who set up the shop in 2005, said: “We were very surprised and pleased. We did not expect to win. It’s such an old-fashioned business that we run. Hackney is known for it’s technology stuff. One of the other short-listed businesses in our group was a tech firm which reaches six million people. I thought I would be sitting with a drink in my hand for an hour.”

The bookshop works with schools, the local education authority and does outreach work with young readers.

In addition, six other awards were handed out including best Hackney creative business which was picked up by Pearson Lloyd, an industrial design and innovation company in Drysdale Street, Hoxton; best sustainable business was awarded to mental health arts charity Core Arts, based in St Barnabas Terrace , Homerton; best Hackney business went to Optimity, a wireless internet network providers in Scrutton Street, Shoreditch; and best business contribution went to digital creative agency, Poke, in Redchurch Street, Shoreditch.


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Cave of Plunder, a new milkshake parlour, cafe and gift shop in Lower Clapton Road, Clapton earned the judges’ special commendation.

The people’s choice award, which attracted nearly 1,600 votes from the public, was awarded to multi-purpose creative workspace, restaurant and innovation centre 90 Main Yard in Wallis Road, Hackney Wick, which won the coveted title by 600 votes.

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Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe, said: “These awards represent the vast diversity of businesses in the borough. From internationally renowned creative and design agencies to art galleries; from child care businesses to firms arranging holidays for disabled people; from stunning new restaurants to community minded cafes; and of course the tech sector from new apps to multi-national digital enterprises. Hackney has it all.”

A panel of entrepreneurs picked the winners from more than 9,000 businesses in Hackney ranging from market traders to international creative design and manufacturing agencies.

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