A company based in leafy Letchmore Heath has been named one of the winners of the prestigious Startups Awards 2012.

Joe and Seph's Gourmet Popcorn is one of 12 companies from across the country that were named as winners at Kensington Roof Gardens, London, last week.

The ceremony was attended by more than 130 leading business figures including Dragons’ Den’s Duncan Bannatyne and former Pizza Express chairman Luke Johnson.

The Startups Awards, sponsored by NatWest and organised by Startups.co.uk, celebrate the success of businesses in the UK that have been trading for less than three years.

Presented by journalist and entrepreneur Adrienne Lawler, Joseph Sopher, director of Joe and Seph's Gourmet Popcorn was awarded the Silver Fox of the Year Award, open to entrepreneurs over 50.

Joe and Seph's makes all-natural popcorn products for customers including Selfridges, Wholefoods, Waitrose and W Hotel.

Duncan Bannatyne led the judging panel alongside a number of other highly successful entrepreneurs and business experts including James Hurley, enterprise editor for the Daily Telegraph and Julie Meyer MBE of Ariadne Capital.

Highlighting the diversity of start-up businesses across the UK, other winners included luxury holiday and hotel provider Secret Escapes, online retailer Made.com and sustainable building solutions firm PropertECO Ltd.

The overall title of NatWest Startups Business of the Year went to Abcodia Ltd, a London-based biomarker validation company.

Mr Sopher said Winning the Silver Fox Award is great recognition of our achievements and hopefully shows others that age is no barrier to achievement."

David Lester, founder of Startups.co.uk, commented: "As one in three start-up businesses don’t make it beyond the first year of trading, we are proud to recognise those that negotiate these early hurdles at the Startups Awards.

"Each year we unearth innovative new businesses representing the unique diversity the start-up community has to offer, which show that, despite the recession, British innovation is still booming.

"This year was no exception with many excellent entries and Joe and Seph's Gourmet Popcorn exemplified this, impressing judges with its rapid growth and impressive customer base in a short space of time."