Covid Heroes

Three top national awards nominations for national COVID-19 heroes

Heroic business nominated for three top awards for their unprecedented COVID-19 support work.  KuKu Connect, an innovative business networking service have supported businesses and charities for free, for over 170 days.

KuKu Connect has been recognised at home and internationally having been nominated for three different awards programmes;  The Best Business Awards, The National Business Awards and The Global Business Excellence Awards for their outstanding and selfless impact in combatting the results of the pandemic upon businesses and community organisations.

KuKu Connect have supported over 30k organisations and charities every day throughout the pandemic since March and have been called COVID-19 ‘inspirational business heroes’ by those who have been supported.  KuKu have been freely posting on social media and over LinkedIn promoting organisations and charity appeals with over 30m hits over social media for different businesses who have been helped so far.

KuKu Connect’s co-founders, Stephen and Philip set-up a number of innovative free support services at the outset of the pandemic open to any business or charity in March, embracing digital tech and social media.  Their services have continued ever since, every day!  KuKu’s COVID-19 support services have included the ‘Carry On KuKu’ video-bulletins, broadcast over social media, like a kitsch news show, giving out daily business tips, events, opportunities, business news and offers to help viewing organisations, which has been refreshing and humorous.  KuKu also featured daily shout-outs for a range of individual businesses, venues and charity appeals recording over 100 videos from their kitchen, which they turned into a ‘mini-studio’.

Another free service is the now hugely popular KuKu Cocktail Hour, a networking event which uses Facebook Live where, dressed in black tie, Stephen and Philip connect businesses and charities together over virtual cocktails, offering something completely different to online networking events, which businesses have commented upon as being “a breath of fresh-air”, “a vital life-line for business”, “it’s almost as good as GoggleBox” with over 5k viewers from just one of the ‘KuKu Cocktail Hour’ networking events.

KuKu Connect’s reach and popularity has been so powerful that they have been supporting businesses all over the UK, even reaching international audiences in Europe and in the USA.  KuKu’s support has impacted upon the mental health and well-being of their viewers, has raised funds with a myriad of different COVID-19 charity appeals, the NHS and even resulted in PPE materials being manufactured and distributed to hospitals and care homes and all through KuKu connecting people together.

Philip commented, “We are really touched that we have been nominated for these prestigious awards, not just one, but with two national and one international awards nominations is just amazing.  We have been so proud to support so many different organisations throughout the pandemic and we are still here supporting, but we are really looking forward to hosting our physical business networking Connect Reception events as soon as is safe to do so, as we know that face-to-face networking will always be more powerful for building great business relationships.”

Stephen commented, “The awards nominations were such a surprise it has really lifted our spirits in what has been such a drastic time for us and so many organisations.  The power of social media and digital technology along with some ‘KuKu style’ creativeness has been immense in terms of keeping people connected and to carry on doing business.  We know just how hard the pandemic has been personally, so we are now really looking forward to meeting many of the businesses we have helped in person through our KuKu Connect Receptions.”

Which Awards are KuKu Nominated For?

KuKu Connect’s COVID-19 support work and services were set-up in March for free and to help their own Members, but were also open to any business or community organisation. KuKu paused their Member’s subscription payments and have focused 24/7 on supporting others, despite the impact on their own business viability.

The Best Business Awards

Category: Outstanding Support During COVID-19

The Best Business Awards are one of the UK’s highest profile awards and winning this accolade speaks volumes about the quality of your organisation. Due to its high profile, the Awards attract a wide range of entries from across all sectors from large international PLCs and public sector organisations to dynamic and innovative SMEs.

The National Business Awards

Category: Pivot For Purpose Award

Celebrating Businesses, Organisations and Individuals – The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards is the UK’s flagship awards programme, recognising and rewarding excellence across all sectors. These awards are the ones to win – any company within the UK, whether public, private or third sector can enter, regardless of size or industry. The awards have a range of categories suited for any successful organisation to tell their story; from large private and public companies through to thriving entrepreneurial businesses, promising start-ups and established SMEs.

The Global Business Excellence Awards

Category: Outstanding Support During COVID-19

The awards aim to recognise and reward business excellence across all sectors, private, public and charity. Open to organisations of any size and individuals, based anywhere in the world, entries are encouraged from those that feel they are working smarter than their competitors to create a business edge

What the Business Community Said

Dean Williams, DW Signature Designs

“If it wasn’t for going on the free KuKu Connect cocktail hour networking event which was set-up for businesses to help them through the pandemic I wouldn’t have had my orders grow.  Through KuKu Connect and the Cocktail Hour event I then I met Harmi from Pathway Group and I have now been able to manufacture over 1,500 visors for NHS staff, care homes and key workers, which have gone out across the Midlands. I’ve now raised over £1,500 pounds in less than a month on my Go-Fund page with donations being made direct to the NHS and a local hospice.  As a further result it looks like I could be manufacturing a new visor design which will turn into a small business venture by supplying the NHS frontline staff as I can now manufacture over 1,500 visors per week and I am now looking into buying more machines to double my manufacturing.  A massive thank you to KuKu Connect.  They have enabled me to help the NHS, care homes and key workers, start a new business venture and a new division of my own existing business.”

David Pearson, Director at East Midlands Chamber of Commerce

“KuKu Connect have done a great job and have worked alongside the Chambers of Commerce in raising opportunities for business people.”

Ninder Johal, DL,  West Midlands Growth Company Board

“KuKu Connect are one of the key networking organisations in the Midlands, but now after their COVID-19, one of the top in the UK.  It is no surprise that they have put all their efforts into supporting the business sector and wider community, as that is in the DNA of what KuKu is all about.  Without any hesitation they took to helping and saving businesses, even before lockdown with no thought to their own survival. They have set-up innovative and engaging services which are both filled with positivity, advice and opportunity, which has been effective in continuing business activity for thousands of businesses who taken up the support KuKu Connect has given freely.

Many businesses have been resilient but few have put others needs before their own and there only a few organisations like KuKu who have wholly focused on supporting other businesses.  KuKu Connect is a shining example of selfless service to other businesses and community organisations and I applaud the massive, positive impact they have had and for so many.”

Tim Moss, Director at 200 Degrees Coffee

“The pandemic has hit all businesses hard and whilst many of us have tried to be resilient and strong KuKu Connect has been there to support 200 Degrees Coffee and businesses all over Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands. Without any prompt KuKu who have been just as affected went out of their way to send out daily video messages of support, advice, news and opportunities in what for many is a really dark time in business.

KuKu has promoted businesses and venues, many of whom they have no previous contact or relationship with, being there to support any business without asking for a penny. They have helped kept our brand present and promoted 200 Degrees Coffee as one of the hundreds of businesses who have benefitted from their support, much of which KuKu have undertaken quietly in the background, as a welcomed and unexpected surprise to local businesses and venues, giving businesses a reach to thousands of other business people across the Midlands, which is a really effective platform to be featured within.

KuKu Connect is already well-known and respected as a caring and supportive connector of business people and as a networking organisation, but the pandemic has shown some truly inspirational and selfless efforts of which KuKu Connect is a star amongst many here in Nottingham and all over the region. KuKu Connect always tell us that 200 Degrees is their favourite coffee, so we look forward to connecting with them again soon at 200 Degrees, ‘Carry On KuKu!”

Maria Hanson, MBE, Founder of Me & Dee Charity

“Within this current climate, we have to stay visible, promoted, in touch with each other, and to have each others backs. KuKu Connect’s Philip and Stephen are a prime example of this. Every day, yes every day, they show up on line with their KuKu Connect virtual networking events, including a ‘cocktail hour’. Every day on rotation, companies and individuals are given air time and promotion. It is a place to gather strength from to keep going, to keep your confidence bolstered, and to interact with those you are currently unable to physically mix with. I cannot commend them highly enough for this endeavour and it is deeply appreciated.”

Sandie Vara, The Spice Guy & Lily’s Live Lounge

“When the pandemic hit business stopped overnight, it was scary and left so many business owners in disbelief that their business, their hard work, income and savings might vanish, particularly as one of my businesses is a venue and of course we have been hit hard, but before it has even sunk in for me and I know the same for many other businesses, KuKu Connect had thrown open their services to support anyone and even extended what they usually do to help businesses get through the pandemic. Practical advice, clever tips which any business could employ themselves very easily without incurring costs, online video bulletins and networking events where I’ve been able to make new connections, not just locally but all around the Midlands, and where business is actually happening. All KuKu have done for me is stand-out. Not only has it been effective, but for many people who are working on their own it has been a hugely uplifting and motivational. I have even started recording a live cookery video which KuKu has further promoted, supported and have helped build my own audience, which has enabled me to build my own networks massively, including Anthea Turner who started to watch my videos and send me a lovely supportive testimonial herself. KuKu Connect have created a supportive focus for business people like me to carry on going through this awful time. I have been so impressed by their commitment to helping other not only businesses, but charity and voluntary groups all over the Midlands. I am a part of a number of other business initiatives and online groups and I had been really disappointed by the lack support and community spirit amongst many of these networks, but KuKu Connect has outshone them all and I commend their selfless service to the business community and the impact this has had for me and many, many other, thank you KuKu.”

Kevin Urquhart, Managing Director at FU Media

“I’ve been so impressed with the team at KuKu Connect who have continued to keep the profile of businesses high and their open-armed approach to supporting one another inviting and inclusive. It’s not always easy to stay motivated, positive or engaging in such turbulent times, but they’ve done it with humour and style”.


Katie Neeves,  Trans Ambassador at Coll 2B Trans

“The current pandemic has affected many businesses in a very dramatic way, but KuKu Connect’s Stephen and Philip have been there for us every day with their brilliant Carry On KuKu business bulletins.  I have two businesses – a photography and video business and a trans awareness training business, but both of those rely on my being close to people, so as soon as we went into lockdown, my entire income disappeared.  I had to diversify quickly, so I am now offering to help people look like film stars when they are video conferencing by advising them on their lighting, camera position, background and sound.  Carry on KuKu has been an essential vehicle for letting the local business community know about my new offering.  Not only have Stephen and Philip featured me in their daily bulletins and cocktail hours, but they have allowed me to post photos and videos on their Facebook and LinkedIn pages which has definitely helped to bring in new clients.”

With thanks to Rachel Hargrave of RDZ PR

Photo Credit: Suzanne Fells Photography

Venue: Belvoir Castle