–Winners from the BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur competition prove that successful businesses are bucking the trend–
Two businesses established by mums specifically catering for parents and families are amongst the 20 winners of BT Business’s Essence of the Entrepreneur competition. Holiday Nanny, based in Lincolnshire, provides families with a properly qualified and vetted nanny for their holiday. Since starting the company in 2007, founder Nicola Grant has grown it enormously, and now works with over 140 different families and many top travel companies including Kuoni, Cadogan Holidays and Elegant Resorts. NetMums, based in Middlesex, was founded in 2002 by three mums and provides an online yet localised community for parents and families completely free of charge. It currently has over half a million users. Both these businesses are committed to making life easier for families, and creating networks for parents to talk and share ideas through experience.
Now in its third year the Essence of the Entrepreneur competition celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit in the UK and, despite the current economic climate, the winners prove this enthusiasm is still strong. BT Business managing director, Bill Murphy, said: “It is so important that we continue to recognise the achievements of small businesses in these difficult times and BT Business is delighted to honour and applaud these companies.”
“There are many small businesses in the UK that are thriving and I am delighted to be involved in a campaign that champions this. The winners of the Essence of the Entrepreneur competition are bucking a trend, creating stand-out businesses, harnessing the developments of technology and thriving,” said judge Peter Jones.
The 20 winners were selected from hundreds of entries from across the UK by a panel of judges which also included BBC Radio 4’s Adam Shaw, Daily Mirror journalist Tricia Philips and John Dunsmere from the British Chambers of Commerce. For the first time BT Business also awarded a £20,000 business grant to the Most Outstanding Entrepreneur, Michael Welch, founder of BlackCircles.com; an online tyre retailer where customers can order through the website and have their tyres fitted through a network of 987 independent tyre franchisees.
The 20 winners in alphabetical order are:
Affixxius Productions creates engaging and alternative corporate videos using innovative digital technologies.
As the UK’s largest provider of on-demand rubbish clearance and recycling for homes and businesses, Any Junk collects unwanted items from any location, sweep up before they leave and reuse or recycle wherever possible.
Using web technology, ASuitThatFits.com allows customers design and customize individually hand-tailored suits from over 40 billion possible style, fabric and colour combinations.
BEcause (Winner of Best Female)
BEcause is an experiential marketing agency which creates live, face-to-face brand experiences where consumers can interact with brands in memorable ways at a personal level instead of being passive spectators.
Black Circles (Winner of Most Outstanding Entrepreneur)
Black Circles is the UK’s largest online tyre retailer and the company’s unique online and call centre service delivers savings of up to 40% and through a network of 987 independent tyre franchisees enabling customers to have tyres fitted at a locally convenient location.
Bright Ideas Global
Bright Ideas Global developed the ecobutton; a unique power saving device which automatically activates the most economical power saving mode on a computer. In addition to saving both electricity and costs, the ecobutton will reduce an individual’s carbon footprint.
Holiday Nanny provides qualified and vetted nannies to accompany families on holiday. As the only nanny agency in the UK that specialises in providing nannies, the team have completed over 280 weeks of assignments, worked with 140 different families and travelled throughout the world.
Liftshare (Winner of Best Male)
Liftshare is a social enterprise that helps individuals travel in an environmentally friendly way and is now the largest car-sharing network in the country with over 268,000 members. The free online network matches people making similar journeys by car, taxi, bike or on foot.
Marmalade Leasing (Winner of Original Business Concept)
By collaborating with car manufacturers, finance companies and an insurance company, Young Marmalade has developed a unique internet based solution to help young drivers stay safe on the roads. The company offers a one-stop shop for young drivers with a simple service package including vehicle and insurance, enabling them to save money and time searching for the cheapest deal.
MooFu began by producing bespoke films for schools and running video production workshops for students and has developed a successful product range which meets the needs of both the teacher and the learner.
NetMums is a networking website for young families to communicate, share information and advice. With half a million users, the site is free to use for families and offers major brands access to their core customer base through advertising. Over 4,000 parents meet up in person each month by using the NetMums website to meet like minded families in their area.
NotOnTheHighStree.com sells beautifully made products from jewellery to baby to homeware, bringing over seven hundred independent small UK businesses together to sell over 20,000 products through one online checkout.
From adventure trips to opulent city breaks, Original Travel is one of the UK’s fastest growing bespoke travel companies. Attention to detail and quality service means 50% of customers are repeat clients.
Rivers Run Red
Rivers Run Red offers marketing services to brands through digital channels such as virtual worlds. Since 2003, the team of programmers and designers have worked with companies including Adidas, Vodafone, SKY NEWS and Coca-Cola to extend their digital strategies.
SuperJam (Winner of Young Entrepreneur)
Fraser Doherty set up SuperJam at the age of 14 with his range of 100% fruit jam, using his Gran’s secret recipes. Now supplying most of the UK’s major supermarkets and selling over 500,00 jars a year, SuperJam also fronts a social project that provides tea parties for lonely elderly people who are housebound or in care.
The Cool Drinks Company
The Cool Drinks Company (CDC) provides pure, fresh and natural drinks to Yorkshire schools using leading edge automated machines and remote management systems.
T-Mac Technologies is a growing family-run business that designed the T-Mac energy management range to help business cut their carbon emissions. The T-Mac solution can monitor, meter, manage and control energy consumption for almost any industry, from the public sector to large corporate banks and retail outlets.
TravelGuru.tv went live in January 2008 and aims to become the number one trusted travel resource for the mature, discerning traveller. Harnessing an unrivalled expertise of a team of ‘gurus,’ TravelGuru.tv produces first hand and exclusive location reports on an inspiring selection of holiday products and destinations.
VirtualGym.tv is Europe’s only live on-demand online gym, providing a personalised fitness service to busy professionals and large companies through classes broadcast on the internet.
Yellow Octopus Ltd sells outlet clothing, footwear and high quality second hand clothing to twelve different countries in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. Jack Ostrowski, a polish immigrant who didn’t speak English 4 years ago speak founded the business and has created a successful enterprise despite the language barriers, which hit a turnover of over £1 million in its first year of trading.
For more information please log on to www.bt.com/entrepreneur