“A Win For Scotland,” says CEO, as FSB crowns Scottish carbon capture innovator its Small Business of the Year 2024

Edinburgh-based CCU International is celebrating after being named Small Business of the Year 2024 in the prestigious Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) awards.  The trailblazing enterprise tackles carbon emissions through innovative carbon capture technology, and was also presented with the Award for Innovation.

Awards host and TV personality Tess Daly crowned CCU International the overall UK winner at the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2024. The grand final event, held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, saw representatives from more than 140 small businesses, plus self-employed professionals, gather from across the UK, with each previously named a regional winner in their respective area.

FSB’s UK winners were honoured in 12 categories, from innovation to growth, sustainability to family business. CCU International led the charge in small business success, clinching both the Innovation Award and the prestigious title of Small Business of the Year.

A start-up business revolutionising carbon capture, CCU International pioneers next-generation, proprietary technology that not only captures but refines carbon dioxide directly from industry chimney, flue, and exhaust stacks. It then channels CO2 back into industry or converts it to valued commodities such as aggregates for construction material, sustainable aviation fuels and surfactants used in household consumer products.

Sustainability was a hero theme throughout the ceremony, with several other environmentally conscious small businesses claiming UK titles. Also from Edinburgh, Beyond Green, which supports fellow businesses in making sustainable choices, claimed the Diversity & Inclusion Award, while 9Trees in Bristol, which balances carbon emissions by working with landowners to plant and maintain forests, won the Micro Business Award. Stubcroft Farm Campsite Ltd in Chichester was awarded the Sustainability Award for its multiple eco-friendly initiatives. Meanwhile, HJH Commercial Consultants in Deeside, a specialist in renewable energy, claimed the Start-Up Business Award.


Other UK winners spanned award categories, including Young Entrepreneur, Expansion & Growth, Community, Family Business, Franchise, Self-Employed/ Freelancer, and Service Excellence.

This year’s Celebrating Small Business Awards grand final, delivered in partnership with headline sponsor Tyl by Natwest, was a momentous occasion for FSB, representing a celebration of the UK’s best small businesses and self-employed professionals. Founded in 1974, FSB has been the leading voice for millions of small businesses and the self-employed community in the UK for half a century.


Martin McTague, National Chair of FSB, said: “Congratulations to CCU International. They are a shining example of how small businesses are harnessing and driving innovation, technology and sustainability to energise the UK’s economy and inspire the next generation.

“Well done, also, to all the category winners who have helped to demonstrate the diversity, creativity and tenacity of small businesses and the self-employed across the whole of the UK. It is through supporting small businesses that we’ll have a stronger economy.”


Beena Sharma, CEO and Co-Founder at CCU International, said: “Our double win is so humbling, especially considering we’ve only been at this for a short period compared to some of the other phenomenal businesses here. This is the small business awards, so it’s just the start of many things to come, and naturally, it feels amazing, all while validating that we’re on the right track.

“Our technology has proven that what we’re doing can be done, despite being told otherwise many times. Being recognised not just for innovation but as a business making a difference, impacting climate change in a big way, is incredibly rewarding.

“As a Scottish-based company, it’s a huge win for Scotland. We often compete for attention but have a phenomenally innovative business community and a great entrepreneurial ecosystem. Recognition from FSB will give us credibility with new and existing clients, firmly placing us as technology innovators, not just in Scotland, but the UK, and hopefully paving the way for confident global expansion.

“We’ve had many highlights, and each award win solidifies that we’re heading in the right direction. Stepping on stage for the first time was surreal, but winning the overall best UK small business award took us by surprise. It shows that it’s not about how long you’ve been doing it; it’s about the impact you’re having.”


The complete list of UK winners in the 12 categories is:

  • Small Business of the Year & Innovation Award – CCU International
  • Young Entrepreneur Award – Samantha Cage, Ocala Healthcare
  • Sustainability Award – Stubcroft Farm Campsite Ltd
  • Expansion & Growth Award – Technology Powered Services Ltd
  • Community Award – Nightstop Communities North-West CIC
  • Diversity & Inclusion Award – Beyond Green
  • Family Business Award – TEKShop
  • Franchise Award – Boogie Beat Music and Movement
  • Micro Business Award – 9Trees
  • Self-Employed / Freelancer Award – Neil Trewick of Trew Surveying Ltd
  • Service Excellence Award – Vanlife Conversions Ltd
  • Start-up Business Award – HJH Commercial Consultants