Checkatrade founder honoured with national award

Founder of Checkatrade, Kevin Byrne, was honoured with a British Citizen Award for Services to Business at the Palace of Westminster on January 24. Picture: Event host Michael Underwood, Kevin Byrne and Lindsey Podolanski. Photo by Mark Hakansson
Founder of Checkatrade, Kevin Byrne, was honoured with a British Citizen Award for Services to Business at the Palace of Westminster on January 24. Picture: Event host Michael Underwood, Kevin Byrne and Lindsey Podolanski. Photo by Mark Hakansson

The founder of Selsey-based Checkatrade has been honoured with a national award for services to business.

Kevin Byrne is one of 31 people set to receive the British Citizen Award for Services to Business (BCAb), known as a People’s Honour, last Thursday at the Palace of Westminster at an event hosted by TV presenter Michael Underwood.

“I genuinely thought my award days were over so this has come as a complete surprise,” the Walberton resident said.

“Being recognised or awarded is one of the best feelings. However few are awarded just for their own efforts. When you start looking carefully you’ll see there have been heaps of others alongside you and I’m certainly no different.

“My old team at Checkatrade believed in me and my vision and worked tirelessly to see it come to a reality, so this is for them also.

“I’d like to thank the British Citizen Award team and, of course, my old Checkatrade team and all those who helped in the sidelines.

“I’m delighted to say the least.”

Kevin founded Checkatrade.com in his hallway with no investment 20 years ago when a tornado caused £10m of damage to his home town.

Sadly, victims of the weather became victims of rogue traders, so he set about differentiating between them and the reputable and professional companies.

Checkatrade.com is estimated to have saved consumers more than £50m by avoiding these rogues.  

Kevin pioneered online reviews and introduced a strict vetting criteria for membership, which is now in partnership with ten trading standards authorities across the country.

Checkatrade.com has become an industry leader, setting an example for traders that can be trusted.  

Kevin grew the company to 320 staff and during 2017 was indirectly responsible for generating more than 9,500 new trade employment positions. The company has generated £3.5 billion for the UK economy.  

Kevin, who announced he was selling the company in 2017, has now started the Byrne Family Foundation, which currently has £4.5 million earmarked for good causes.

The awards were launched in 2015 to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society.