Two companies founded by Cranfield School of Management's Business Growth Programme (BGP) alumni were winners at last night's (10 November) National Business Awards.

Go Ape, the outdoor adventure company set up by Tristram and Rebecca Mayhew took home 'The Customer Focus Award'. Jerome Mayhew, Managing Director of GoApe was there to collect the award. The judges said: "Go Ape go the extra mile when it comes to customer focus - they demonstrate strong ethics, excellent financials, continued innovation and a high level of commitment to delivering great experiences for their customers, or rather adventurous Apes!"

Livity, the youth marketing agency, were also winners picking up 'The Social Enterprise of the Year Award'. The founders Sam Conniff and Michelle Morgan received glowing feedback from the judges: "From the beginning Sam and Michelle 'wanted to change lives' and they have certainly accomplished that. Livity is a truly outstanding example of how social can be at the heart of a successful and highly regarded commercial business that serves big business and many top brands."

Livity mentors and works with young people from a broad range of backgrounds to co-create campaigns, content and communities for brands, government, charities and broadcasters that benefit the lives of young people.

Two more alumni from the Business Growth Programme had reason to celebrate as they were named as finalists - Debra Charles from Novacroft for 'The Entrepreneur of the Year Award' and Fuad Mahammed of Ashley Community Housing for 'The Social Enterprise of the Year Award'.

The quartet of BGP alumni – Go Ape, Livity, Ashley Community & Housing, and Novacroft – were chosen from hundreds of entries across 18 categories.

Fellow BGP alumni Martyn Curley and Stephen Oldbury from worked with the businesses on their entries for these prestigious national awards. 

Dr Veronica Burke, Director of the Business Growth Programme said: "We are very proud to see our alumni recognised at these prestigious awards. We see how hard the individuals who come on the BGP work and the contribution they make to business and society, so it is only right that their achievements are celebrated."

Opening the proceedings, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "These awards recognise people who have the guts to strike out on their own, who have the tenacity to work hard for every deal and who have the innovation and vision that lets you grow your business and take new people on. Its people like you who are making this the most entrepreneurial and dynamic period in our country's recent history. So thank you again for all you're doing."

Presented by Sky News' Ian King and Poppy Trowbridge, the National Business Awards, played host to over 1,200 business leaders and welcomed former Astronaut and second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin as headline speaker.

The Business Growth Programme at Cranfield is the UK's longest running and most successful programme for the development of owner-managers. It has been running with great success for 25 years and has helped over 2000 owner managers achieve their business and personal ambitions.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Leadership and Management at Cranfield

For more than 40 years Cranfield has been a world leader in management education and research, helping individuals and organisations learn and succeed by transforming knowledge into action. We are dedicated to creating responsible management thinking, improving business performance and inspiring the next generation of business leaders. We work to change the lives of our students and executives by encouraging innovation and creative thinking. Organisations as diverse as Jaguar Land Rover, BAE Systems, Royal Dutch Shell, L’Oreal, UNICEF and the African Development Bank have benefitted from our work, which ranges from management research projects, through staff talent management development on our MBA courses to customised executive programmes.