An employee-owned marketing company in Lincolnshire has been named as the UK’s Employer of the Year by the Federation of Small Business.

Staff at DBS Internet Marketing in Navenby are celebrating after they fought off competition from more than 100 UK-wide applicants to take the coveted Employer of the Year prize at the FSB’s Celebrating Small Business Awards 2019 in London on Thursday 23rd May.

Founder and Director David Clarke handed over all the shares in the business to his employees in 2017 and DBS became the first 100% employee-owned company in Lincolnshire – a fact which impressed the award judges.

DBS Director Julie Priestley and her colleagues Matthew Rayner and James Hopkins received the award from Julie Lilley, Chief Executive of the Federation of Small Business.

The awards ceremony at Battersea Evolution was hosted by the actor, writer and comedian Meera Syal CBE and began with a speech from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP.

After winning the award Julie said: “I first joined DBS 18 years ago in an admin role. When the company became an employee-owned trust I was delighted that David not only gave me the opportunity to become a director, but also gave me and the rest of the team shares in the business.

“Our business is service-based and so relies on our employees to give the best service to our clients. By investing in our employees and giving them a vested interest for the business to do well we can give the best customer service to help our clients succeed.

“Words cannot describe how proud I am for Team DBS to receive this award. All of the congratulations and good wishes we have received from fellow businesses have been very humbling!”

Director David Clarke added: “For me, it makes great business sense to reward the very people who have helped to build DBS. Now that the whole team has equity, we have an incentive to grow the company even more.” 

Les Phillimore, FSB Chair for the East Midlands region, said: “DBS Internet Marketing is at the cutting edge of employee engagement, retention and development. This business is a fantastic example of a commercial operation that is both ethical and highly successful.

“My huge congratulations go to DBS Internet Marketing for winning this thoroughly deserved award. I have no doubt that they will continue to go from strength to strength in future.” 

DBS was founded in 1996 by David Clarke and originally specialised in printed directory advertising.

With the advent of the Internet the company found that to survive and thrive it had to evolve rapidly into its current core activities of web design and online marketing.

The eight-strong DBS team looks after around 140 clients across Lincolnshire, the East Midlands and the UK.

DBS won the Employer of the Year award at the East Midlands heat of the Celebrating Business Awards in Nottingham in March, which qualified them for the national final in London.