2022 marks the 10th year of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, and all of the talent and success we’ve seen over the last decade is definitely something worth celebrating. Last year alone we received 4,800 entries, filled with amazing entrepreneurs, and we’re expecting that this year will be even bigger.
To celebrate the 10 year anniversary we want to take a look back at some of our highly successful winners from over the years and shine a spotlight on what winning the Great British Entrepreneur Awards means to them.
Julie Deane CBE, The Cambridge Satchel Company
‘The tough times are when you will learn most, so push through and keep that vision front and centre.’
Previous winner, now judge and member of our Hall of Fame, Julie Deane CBE set up her company, The Cambridge Satchel Company with her mother in 2008. Aiming to raise enough money to move her daughter from a school where she was being bullied to a new school, she came up with the idea to make traditional leather satchels for the schoolchildren of Cambridge – and since then the business has flourished.
We caught up with Julie to discuss the upcoming 10 year anniversary and how winning the award has had an impact on her business. She lets us know what’s in store for her business this year and gives us some tips for future entrepreneurs.
What does being a Great British Entrepreneur Awards winner mean to you, and how has winning this award helped your business?
‘ I can honestly say I didn’t think when I entered the awards all those years ago that I’d stand a chance of winning, let alone winning so many! It was an unforgettable evening and one which I still think back to – particularly when times get tough, it’s those high points that keep us going and keep us motivated. Winning in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards is a very sure sign that you’re on the right track. One thing that’s tough when you’re on your own starting a business is that there’s no one to give you feedback, no six-monthly appraisal, so to be recognised and congratulated becomes even more important.’
You’re now a judge on the panel, so how does it feel to be giving back to the next generation of entrepreneurs, and what advice would you give to them?
‘Being a judge on the panel is a privilege, it means that I get to read what amazing journeys the applicants are on – what incredible new businesses are starting up and that is so inspiring. The vision, the energy, the determination – they all come through on the entries and what a boost that is, particularly following a very challenging time, we need good news stories and every entrant has one to share. I’ve been running The Cambridge Satchel Co. for over 13 years now and I’ve learned so much, don’t think for a moment that you are failing if things get tough – they will get tough but then a breakthrough is just around the corner.’
We’ve loved being a part of your business’ journey and are always excited to hear about your success. What can we expect next from The Cambridge Satchel Company?
‘The Cambridge Satchel Co. remains a truly made in Britain brand, our products are made in Britain and of that I am proud. We have just collaborated, once again, with Comme des Garçons and the collection has sold out in London and opened in Paris. We are making music bags for The Royal Opera House and our newest style, The Bowls Bag, has become one of our best sellers. We are launching a website in Japan and opening a shop in Shanghai, our fastest-growing market is the USA – this is why we are fully supporting the Department of Trade’s Export programme. Keep an eye open for our very colourful poster!’
Julie Deane and the success of her business is a shining example of the talent we see here at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, and we can’t wait to see the entries we receive this year.
To be in with the chance of winning this year’s Great British Entrepreneur Awards, register your interest here.