Business leaders, mentors and entrepreneurs gathered at the Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham last night (November 16th) to discover who had won a coveted NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Award at the Birmingham final.
Now in its fifth year, the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards recognise the hard work and inspiring stories of British entrepreneurs, rather than just their financial success.
The awards ceremony celebrated businesses from the Midlands across 11 categories, from Family Business of the Year to Small Business of the Year.
The number of businesses who entered the Awards has tripled this year, with well over a thousand entries received across five regions. Judges include Peter Roberts, founder of PureGym, and Toni Mascolo OBE, co-founder of Toni & Guy.
Founder of the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Francesca James, said: “The winning entrepreneurs have made a huge impact on entrepreneurship in their region and the wider UK economy and we hope that winning an award will help give them the recognition they thoroughly deserve.”
“This has been a really tough year for our judges, as not only have we seen more entries than ever before, but the standard of entries has also been the best ever. We’ve had an incredibly tough job narrowing down the winners from such a strong shortlist.
Francesca added: “We’d like to thank all of the entrepreneurs who entered this year, and send huge congratulations to those who have taken home awards. We look forward to seeing what the next year brings for you.”
Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship for NatWest, said: “We are incredibly proud to support these important awards. It has been so inspiring to see the number and calibre of entries this year, which proves that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Birmingham.
I want to extend my huge congratulations to all the winners of this year’s categories and hope that their businesses continue to grow in the future.”
Full list of winners:
#GoDo Entrepreneur of the Year
Pure CF is a British Contract Furniture specialist that manufactures custom-made furniture to create landmark interiors all over the world. Originally an apprentice at the company, Paul Gill quickly worked his way up until he made the decision to buy the company in 2002, and has never looked back.
Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year
On the Tools
Lee Wilcox is co-founder and CEO of On the Tools, the biggest construction community in the world. The site now has well over 1 billion views, has the highest viewed piece of branded content in the UK this year, beating the likes of LADBible & UniLad, and the company even hosts its own industry awards.
Entrepreneur for Good
Angus Drummond is CEO and founder of Limitless Travel, the accessible holiday and tour operator – providing friendly holidays for anyone living with disability or reduced mobility. Angus is a passionate and dedicated entrepreneur with expertise in leadership, innovation and social entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurs’ Champion of the Year
Jodie Cook & Ben Cook
Jodie and Ben Cook own the JayBee Group, which consists of companies in the marketing, tech and education sectors. They are rapidly gaining a reputation and profile as thought-leaders in social media and enterprise education, with many requests to appear in the national media and at conferences.
Family Business Entrepreneur of the Year
Chloe Watmore is changing the face of engineering in relation to gender and the physical environment. As one of the youngest female leaders in the industry, she demonstrates all the traits of a successful entrepreneur; vision, determination, passion for her industry and acts as an ambassador for change.
Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year
Steve Lindsey is the founder of Lontra, best known for its revolutionary Blade Compressor® technology. Without a formal background in engineering, Steve developed an innovative alternative to a long-existing technology, challenging the norm in a market which has long been thought declining.
Scale Up Entrepreneur of the Year
PM Connect Ltd
As a founding member of PM Connect, James Macfarlane’s key responsibilities are creating unique payment mechanisms, scalable marketing techniques, new business development and content product deliverables. He has driven the company to be the 11th fastest growing tech company in the UK in 2016.
Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year
The Strings Club Ltd
Having worked as a violinist and teacher for over 10 years, Amy Cunningham set up The Strings Club in 2012 to offer a range of high-quality musical experiences for children aged four to 11. The music education company has grown from strength to strength and now operates within seven locations, expanding to a new area every quarter.
Start Up Entrepreneur of the Year
Katjes Magic Candy Factory
Melissa Snover is an entrepreneur, visionary, and trendsetter in the world of food technology. She has founded and run several successful businesses, her most recent being Katjes Magic Candy Factory, a tech start-up that has developed the world’s first 3D printer for confectionary.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Stacey Barsby & Kerry Barsby
Identical twins Stacey and Kerry have dedicated their lives to education and broadening the range of opportunities available to children in rural and underprivileged areas. They co-founded ClubsComplete, a program that provides high quality extra-curricular and educational services to primary schools and families in the UK.
Overall Entrepreneur of the Year: Birmingham
On the Tools
To see the full shortlist for these events, click here.