By Jonathan Davies
Sixty-five of the country's brightest entrepreneurs were recognised for their achievements at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2014, with James Watt, founder of BrewDog, taking home the overall gong of Great British Entrepreneur of the Year.
Taking place at Old Billingsgate, the star-studded gala saw inspirational entrepreneurs being rewarded for their contributions.
James Watt, founder of BrewDog who won Food and Drink Entrepreneur of the Year, Retail Entrepreneur of the Year and the overall prize of Great British Entrepreneur of the Year.
As the Captain of BrewDog with an unyielding passion for all things craft beer, James Watt has developed BrewDog as an entrepreneur from two guys, their dog, and a truck full of beer in 2007, to a world-class first ever crowd funded Eco-Brewery, a whopping 14,568 Equity for Punks shareholders and impending world domination. Love hops and live the dream.
Nish and Sach Kukadia won Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year for their company SecretSales.com. A ‘members only' flash sales e-tailer, Secretsales.com has become the UK's number one destination for premium and designer brands at discounts of up to 70% off the RRP with over three million members. In addition to winning the trophy, the brothers also won a six month car loan from Premium Partners MINI.
Simon Mellin, won two awards for Rural Entrepreneur of the Year and Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year for successfully launching two start-up high growth businesses, which together amassed £4m this year and are forecast to reach £9m in 2015. His passion for traditional butchery and farming methods, coupled with cutting edge technology has catapulted online growth for both Roaming Roosters and Grassroots Wholesale Foods alike.
Shane Lake, founder of HungryHouse.co.uk, also walked away with multiple awards, including Urban Entrepreneur of the Year, Media Disruptor Entrepreneur of the Year and was highly commended in the Digital Entrepreneur of the Year. Online food ordering platform hungryhouse launched in 2006, bringing choice and ease to the process of ordering food online. Now with over 10,000 restaurant partners in the UK, hungryhouse is continuing to expand, and taking advantage of the mobile shift, making it even easier to order takeaway food.
Simon Burton, Founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said: "This year we had double the amount of entries for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, and every single category was fiercely contested. It is a sign that Britain means business and entrepreneurialism is alive and well in the UK. Last night was about celebrating true entrepreneurs, who are as much about their story as they are about their balance sheet. The Awards celebrate the truly inspiring entrepreneurs who are the agents of positive change in our country. Huge congratulations to them all."
Headline Sponsor NatWest awarded the NatWest Special Merit Awards to an entrepreneur in each category, who demonstrated true entrepreneurial spirit. Winners of this accolade included 16 year old, Ben Towers of Towers Design, Sarah Wood from Unruly and Christopher Baker-Brian of BBOXX.
In addition, NatWest also provided the overall winners prize, a unique mentoring opportunity with a senior NatWest executive, designed to take the business to the next level.
Abe Tilling, Regional Managing Director for London and South West at NatWest, said: "At NatWest we want to help more entrepreneurs reach their potential and to help develop a culture of enterprise across the country.
"As part of this commitment we're delighted to play our part in supporting the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2014 and would like to congratulate all 2014 nominees and winners."
Through the evening the entrepreneurs were treated to surprise guest speakers and presenters, including David Weir CBE (Paralympian), Derek Redmond (athlete) and Caprice Bourret (model and business woman), in addition to the main host Gyles Brandreth.
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