By Daniel Hunter
The shortlist for the first ever Great British Entrepreneur Awards was announced last night (Tuesday) at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s London Headquarters.
The Awards have been recognised as the new benchmark for entrepreneurial success in the UK. Last night’s event reflected their appeal with attendance from a who’s who in UK business, politics and entrepreneurship.
With 90 shortlisted entrepreneurs in 17 categories including Entrepreneurs Champion and Serial Entrepreneur of the Year, those who won a place on the shortlist clearly demonstrated that the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit has not been diminished by the recession. Many of the entries had fascinating stories to tell of creativity and extraordinary resilience to overcoming challenges.
The shortlist includes the very young:
Henry Patterson of Not Before Tea; an online sweet shop set up by the UK’s youngest entrepreneur who is just nine years old. When asked what his business goal was Henry said: "To be where Alan Sugar is, just a bit happier."
To the more experienced:
Colin Stevens of Better Bathrooms. Ten years ago the business was set up in (then) 21 year old founder Colin’s bedroom. Better Bathrooms is now firmly established as the UK's largest independent bathroom and tiles retailer and employs 180 people.
Neil Barnfather who has invested in and successfully managed more than fifteen new start-ups, across multiple industry sectors, since his late teens. He has sold everything from chocolate to integrated circuit boards. As a blind man Neil is particularly passionate about inspiring others with disabilities to succeed.
And the well-known:
James Caan who was at the forefront of the Start Up Loan Company, one of the biggest social initiatives in decades to address youth unemployment and help revive the economy.
Julie Deane who set up The Cambridge Satchel Company to raise funds to remove her daughter from a situation where she was being bullied. Starting up five years ago, the Cambridge Satchel Company now employs more than 60 people, producing around 900 bags a day.
Simon Burton, Founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said: “The judges and I have been humbled by the quality of the entries. Our shortlist have all achieved extraordinary things, some against adversity. It is a real pleasure to be able to recognise and celebrate the true heroes of UK entrepreneurship.”
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