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The search for the 2019 Great British Entrepreneur of the Year has begun as the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards opens for entries.

The NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards acknowledges the hard work and inspiring stories of British entrepreneurs and businesses in the United Kingdom. It celebrates the incredible stories that have taken entrepreneurs to where they are today, regardless of size or turnover.

2018 saw the founders of Grenade, Alan & Juliet Barratt, crowned national Great British Entrepreneur of the Year after picking up the same award for the Midlands region.

After hosting regional finals in Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards will expand its reach, hosting finals in Belfast, Exeter and Newcastle to represent the Northern Ireland, South West and North East regions.

Since launching in 2013, the Awards have celebrated some outstanding entrepreneurs who have gone on to become household names, including: Julie Deane OBE of The Cambridge Satchel Co., James Watt of BrewDog, David Buttress of Just Eat UK, Shaun Pulfrey of Tangle Teezer, and Hannah & Sophie Pycroft of Spectrum Collections.

The 2019 Awards programme sees two new categories up for grabs, Food & Drink and Health & Beauty, while categories such as Small Business, Scale-Up, Young and Creative Industries all make a return.

Founder Francesca James said: “2018 was an incredible year for us as we received 3,000 entries, shortlisted 300 entrepreneurs and crowned 58 regional winners and 13 national winners. We can’t wait to kick things off for 2019 and start to read more inspiring stories.”

Gordon Merrylees, managing director of entrepreneurship at NatWest said: “Grenade, and its founders Alan and Juliet Barratt, were a very deserving overall winner of the 2018 NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, the most competitive to date. Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the UK economy with small to medium-sized businesses making up 99% of the UK’s enterprises and so it’s pivotal that we create the best environment where they can start, scale and succeed.

“The growth mindset demonstrated by Alan and Juliet should inspire others and be seen as role models for anyone starting their own business. It is essential that we recognise and celebrate the successes of our entrepreneurs who change the wold, and we are looking forward to enabling even more success in 2019.”

You can find more information on the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards and start your application here.