The 2011 Smarta 100 award for People goes to… umi hotels

Last night, at London’s IndigO2, the 2011 Smarta 100 awards ceremony took place and the UK’s most resourceful, original, exciting and disruptive small businesses celebrated their achievements.  We were presented with the special category award for People!

Judged by TV star and entrepreneur Sarah Beeny King of Shaves founder Will King, Bebo founder Michael Birch, PR guru Lynne Franks, Smarta’s Shaa Wasmund and O2’s Simon Devonshire, six special category award winners were chosen along with an overall Smarta 100 winner.  Umi hotels was crowned winner of the ‘People’ category for its work with young people and staff engagement and will receive £1,000 worth of training from RBS Mentor.

Steve Lowy has made the effort to work with many academic institutions both in the UK and abroad to help train hospitality students.  Ranging from 1 week GCSE work experience to 6 month language and hospitality placements, over 100 students have worked at umi so far, covering more than 15 different nationalities.

Delighted with the award, Steve said: “Being listed in the Smarta 100 was an honour for us, but winning the People category has made me so so proud!  I truly believe in a service-led environment and this can only happen with a great team that have a genuine passion for their role and for the business.”

He added “my staff always make our interns feel a valued part of the team as most of them remember starting their own careers.  Both the students and our permanent team members bring new ideas to the table which helps us remain innovative”.

Steve’s efforts with young people has earned him board member positions for STAY WYSE and the British Education Travel Association (BETA).  Umi also supports its local communities, works with local suppliers and is now offering franchise opportunities and hotel marketing services.

The Smarta 100 awards are run annually to honour Britain’s brightest small businesses and are supported by RBS, Intuit, NatWest, Viking and Mishcon de Reya.