In the three years since launch, Justin Basini has established ClearScore not only as the first, but the leading UK company to offer a credit score and report for free.
ClearScore provides for 5.6 million customers across the UK and South Africa; growth which has secured its position in the marketplace as Britain’s number one credit-checking service.
Justin’s entrepreneurial story saw him bag the ‘Scale-Up Entrepreneur of the Year’ award, and later the overall prize for London and the South West. He then went on to win the 'Scale-Up' award for the UK at the National Winners Final.
We caught up with Justin to talk a bit more about the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards and his success.
How does it feel having won the Scale-Up award, but also the overall Great British Entrepreneur of the Year prize for your region?
It feels incredible, I was amazingly surprised that we won. We bought a table so I had nine of my closest colleagues with me, and normally when we win awards they’re for the ‘company’ or the ‘team’. So, this was quite unusual in that it was all for me. But, actually, what I believe is that my win is on the shoulders of the team and the hard work that they’ve put in, so it was wonderful to share it with them.
You mentioned there the focus on you – the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards is all about the entrepreneur’s story, rather than the balance sheet. So, how important do you think it is to give recognition to entrepreneurial stories?
I think that’s incredibly important, because being an entrepreneur is quite fashionable at the moment with Dragon’s Den and things like that giving it focus. That’s fantastic for the economy and Britain in general. What sometimes gets missed is the personal stories of entrepreneurs; why entrepreneurs do what they do. So, it’s really important to focus on that, rather than just the business aspect. The reality is that many of us may create successful businesses, but very few people I meet do it for the money. We all do it for lots of different reasons.
Entrepreneurial spirit is crucial to any great entrepreneurial story. Where do you get yours from?
I definitely think that being the son of immigrants; Italian on my father’s side and my mother’s side were refugees from Poland after World War II - Having to build everything up from scratch, relying on your wits to be able to create a life for your family and create value comes from that.
So other than your family, who inspires you in your work?
I have a few! The person I take the most inspiration from is Steve Jobs. I also admire Josiah Wedgwood, who created the Wedgewood dynasty as a scientist and business philosopher in the 1700s.
For the full interview, head to the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards website.