'The awards provide us with an opportunity to support local businesses'

close up of beautiful young smiling professional black african business woman, coworkers hold a meet

The winner of the SME of the Year category at the Suffolk Business Awards 2021 will need to demonstrate great leadership - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Graham Mummery, corporate partner at Larking Gowen and judge of the SME of the Year category at the Suffolk Business Awards, says he's looking for a business with great leadership, passion, drive and enthusiasm.

Can you tell us a bit about your business journey?  

After starting work in a very small accountancy practice, I’ve worked in-house, at large, national practices and now at Larking Gowen, working with owner-managed businesses advising them how to achieve their goals.  

Why were you keen to get involved in the Suffolk Business Awards?  

The awards provide us with an opportunity to support local businesses which make a huge and vital contribution to the economy of Suffolk and the wider region. We look forward to meeting this year’s entrants and learning more about some of the fantastic work they do.    

Graham Mummery, corporate partner at Larking Gowen Picture: Larking Gowen

Graham Mummery, corporate partner at Larking Gowen - Credit: Sylvaine Poitau/Larking Gowen

What do you bring to the judging process?  

Having worked for over 20 years in East Anglia, I’ve seen such a wide variety of businesses – from different sectors, varying in size and using multiple different management styles. This leaves me really well-placed to assess and compare the candidates.  

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I think I’ll be able to bring a certain empathy to the judging process. Running a business is incredibly complex, with so many moving parts, a situation which has been exacerbated by the pandemic – to still be thriving in this environment is a big plus.  

What have your previous experiences of judging been like?  

I judged the Large Business Category of the Suffolk Business Awards last year. I was blown away by the calibre of presentations and passion demonstrated by the owners. It was a shame we had to pick a winner!  

What inspires you in business?  

People – my clients, my network and the teams I work with. I’m fascinated by what makes other people tick and get a huge personal reward if I manage to unlock that in someone.  

Do you have any anecdotes of moments that changed your business strategy?  

I remember conversations with great mentors I’ve had over the years. I once applied for an international leadership programme – which I was unsuccessful in. I followed up with one of the judges - Sacha Romanovitch – who explained the successful candidates had applications which demonstrated the benefit to their teams, whereas mine focused on me. In that one conversation she opened up the world of leadership to me.  

What will you be looking for in the winner?  

We’re looking for an SME with great leadership, who has the passion, drive and enthusiasm to not only succeed in their business goals but to give back to the local Suffolk community and demonstrate ownership of their market share.   

The winning business will demonstrate commitment to its purpose, community, employees and customers as well as development of products/services in this fast-changing culture we live in. 

What advice would you give to a business that’s considering entering?  

If you’re passionate and you feel you meet the criteria, then go for it! There is nothing better than self-belief, and who knows – you could even win!   

Prepare an evidence-based submission, detailing your achievements, what makes you different and your future plans. 


This category is open to businesses with a turnover between £2million and £50million. The winner of this award will be a company that has shown consistency in stability in their ownership of their market share. They will also show evidence of commitment to its purpose, community, employees, customers as well as development of products/service. 

The closing date for entries is August 15. To enter, go to www.suffolkbusinessawards.co.uk

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