Twenty top UK entrepreneurs including jelly sculptors and an online greengrocer have been awarded for their innovation and success in the national BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur competition. Despite the difficult economic year, the 20 small companies announced today by BT Business represent a diverse selection of UK businesses that are all using technology to succeed.
The winners, who have survived despite the recession, show that the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit is still alive. These also include a battery manufacturer, a professional care service and a small knitting shop. The entrepreneurs behind these unique businesses come from all backgrounds; from a 24-year old graduate, to a mother who has founded three successful businesses previously. They were picked from hundreds of finalists by a panel of judges headed up by Dragons Den’s Peter Jones and The Apprentice’s Claire Young.
The winners have had the essence of their business captured in a stunning portrait by renowned celebrity photographer Rankin, and these images will be displayed in a public exhibition at the gallery@oxo on London’s South Bank from 28th January – 28th February 2010.
The annual BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur competition celebrates UK entrepreneurs that have demonstrated exceptional dedication and passion towards their work. The winners are all at the forefront of using technology to help them succeed in a variety of different ways, from interactive customer websites to GPS tracking devices.
Mick Hegarty, Strategy Director BT Business said: “It’s an inspiration to see the great resolve of this country’s entrepreneurs in the face of tough times. Now, more than ever, businesses need the recognition and support that these awards are able to give them. Technology is helping entrepreneurs diversify, think differently about how they run their businesses and evolve the services they offer in a challenging economy. We have recognised some of the businesses that are at the forefront of these innovations.”
Head judge Peter Jones added: “The BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur winners are bucking a trend, creating stand-out businesses, harnessing the developments of technology and thriving. I was massively impressed with the standard of entries, and the diversity of the entrepreneurs, and I congratulate the winners for being selected.”
To continue supporting small businesses, BT Business also awarded a £10,000 business grant to the, Robert Matthams, founder of Shiply, a company which helps customers find cheap courier services by matching them up with delivery companies already making similar trips across the UK & Europe.
In addition the judges awarded certain winners additional accolades to celebrate their achievements:
• Young Entrepreneur – Fruit for the Office – Daniel Ox transformed his family’s traditional fruit and veg stall in Piccadilly Circus (London) into a thriving online business. Fruit for the Office were the first company in the UK to offer a specialised fruit and veg delivery service to the office.
• Female Entrepreneur – Buddi – Sara Murray set up Buddi after losing her daughter in a supermarket, and it is now a hugely successful company manufacturing the world’s smallest assisted GPS personal trackers with emergency support.
• Male Entrepreneur – Chemist Direct – Mitesh Soma set up Chemist Direct in 2007 with the help of his pharmacist wife. He supplies over 20,000 products at the lowest possible prices, and also processes prescriptions.
• Original Business Concept – Bompass and Parr – Calling themselves the Jelly Mongers, Sam Bompass and Harry Parr create fine English jellies, design bespoke jelly moulds and curate spectacular culinary events.
To find out more visit www.bt.com/entrepreneur.