The 2020 regional winners of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards were revealed in a virtual ceremony last night.
135 awards were handed out to 135 founders of 110 businesses across 15 categories and eight regions as the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to take the regional finals online for the first time.
Around 1,500 people from across the UK joined us for the celebration, which allowed entrepreneurs, judges and partners to network much like they would have done during a pre-event drinks reception. Guests also heard from special guests, including Julie Deane, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company, and previous winners.
In a video message to finalists, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Entrepreneurs [have shown they] stay strong, even during a global pandemic. Coronavirus hasn’t stifled enterprise.
“Entrepreneurs are creating new businesses and adapting to the crisis, as seen in this year’s entries. And that’s what we need to happen if we want our economy to bounce back. We need all of you to keep inventing, keep taking risks, keep creating new businesses.
“It’s my job as Chancellor to celebrate, champion and support you.
“Congratulations to all the winners. Thank you to all of you for everything you’ve done.”
Our founder, Francesca James, said: “Against the backdrop of 2020 and all the challenges it has posed, entrepreneurs have proved that they flourish in adversity.
“We all know what a difficult year it has been, and that makes it all the more important to recognise the incredible things that entrepreneurs have been able to achieve this year.
“Nothing can replace a live awards ceremony, but I’m really proud that we have still been able to come together as a community and celebrate all of our successes.”
Anne Boden, founder and CEO of Starling Bank, said: “We’re entrepreneurs and we have spirit. We fight back and we’re very good at dealing with adversity. And the nominees this evening are the example to us all, of businesses that are creative, innovative, that are changing the world.
“I’m so excited that Starling, a business I founded in 2014 and now Best British Bank, is sponsoring such an important Awards. And as one entrepreneur to another, congratulations to getting where you are this evening and best of luck for the future.”
The category winners will go onto the National Final in a bid to become the national winner of their respective category, with one being named 2020 Great British Entrepreneur of the Year. It is still our intention to hold the National Final in person at a live event. However, we are no clearer on when this type of event would be allowed to take place again and are therefore unable to confirm any details.