Dragons' Den reject, Shaun Pulfrey, scooped the prestigious Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Award at a glitzy, entrepreneur-star-studded occasion last night at the Lancaster Hotel.

Shaun Pulfrey, the founder of Tangle Teezer, won the big prize against tough competition at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, an annual event that celebrates the best of British entrepreneurism.

The event, which also saw awards across a multiple of categories, including Entrepreneurial City of the Year, Start-up Entrepreneur of the Year and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and several awards within the category Great British Technology Entrepreneurs, truly demonstrated how in the UK, entrepreneurial spirit is flourishing, but may be becoming more obvious too.

Pulfrey is the man behind the Tangle Teezer hairbrush, a product that was described by Dragon Den’s star Deborah Meaden, “as like a horse brush,” but which is now selling into 70 countries and earned the company £23.4 million in revenues in the year to March 2015.

Shaun also won the award for International Trade Entrepreneur of the year.

Other winners were:

  • Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year – Rosie Davies, London Fashion Agency
  • Eco Entrepreneur of the Year – Laurence Kemball Cook, Pavegen
  • Entrepreneurial City of the Year – Edinburgh
  • Entrepreneurial Co-working Space of the Year – Tom Ball, Desklodge
  • Entrepreneurs’ Champion of the Year – Matt Gubba, Biz Britain
  • Food and Drink Entrepreneur of the Year – Paula Wilkinson, Mum Bakes Cakes
  • Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year – Jason Trost, Smarkets
  • International Trade Entrepreneur of the Year – Shaun Pulfrey, Tangle Teezer
  • Intrapreneur of the Year – Matt Asman, CISCO
  • Micro Business Entrepreneur of the Year – Rachel Dunseath, Myroo SkinCare
  • Retail Entrepreneur of the Year – Jacyn Heavens, Epos Now
  • Service Industries Entrepreneur of the Year – Sebastian Steinhauser, Parcelly
  • Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year – Dr Imrat Sohanpal & Liss Sohanpal, Nom Noms World Food
  • Social Enterprise Entrepreneur of the Year – Ben & Mike Dyer, National Enterprise Challenge
  • Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year – Dr. David Tuch, Lightpoint Medical Limited
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Simon Crowther, Flood Protection Solutions Ltd & Skyrocket Solutions Ltd
Nick James, the CEO of Amplified Business Content, which also owns Fresh Business Thinking, cited David Bowie, who once said: “You can neither win nor lose if you don't run the race.” One thing is for sure, the UK’s top entrepreneurial talent put themselves in the race, and open themselves up to criticism, even if, in the case of Shaun Pulfrey appearing on Dragons' Den, the criticism, was both viscous and turned out to be wrong.

Maybe that is one of the keys for entrepreneurial success, to stick at your idea even when the odds seem to be against you.

Gordon Merrylees, head of entrepreneurs at NatWest, which was the main sponsor of the event, said that “Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well” in the UK.

It was certainly alive last night, and congratulations, not only to the winners, but all those who made the short-list. It was a special achievement.