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Reaching for the Starlings: 15 creative entrepreneurs to watch in 2021

The UK is a huge player in the global creative industries. From TV, film and music, to publishing, advertising, design and more, the creative industries are a much loved and much needed component of the country’s economy, generating an estimated value in excess of £100 billion. And in a year of extreme challenges for creative businesses, these entrepreneurs have continued to shine. 

Along with our partners Starling Bank, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards prides itself on supporting exciting entrepreneurs making waves in the UK. Here are our 15 most exciting creative entrepreneurs to watch in 2021.

Helen Rush - Agency Rush

Helen Rush is the founder of Agency Rush, a dedicated illustration agency that represents and new and established artists around the world. It helps to connect brands with cutting edge artists on a variety of projects and commissions, and has worked with global brands like Nike, Disney, Liberty London, Harvey Nichols, Coca Cola and more.

Ben & Luke Mendoza, and Stephen Jones - Beatchain

Ben and Luke Mendoza and Stephen Jones are the co-founders of Beatchain, a platform designed to help independent musicians “unleash their full potential”. Beatchain provides a number of tools through a single app to help artists distribute their music, and engage and grow their fanbase.

Steve Harmston & Sarah Jane Thomson - Discover Film

Steve Harmston and Sarah Jane Thomson are the co-founders of Discover Film, a streaming platform hosting high-quality short films, documentaries and dramas across a range of genres and languages featuring both emerging acting talent and Hollywood stars.

Dorcas Magbadelo - DorcasCreates

Dorcas Madbadelo is the founder of DorcasCreates, a brand representing black women through illustration. Using bold colours and patterns inspired by her Nigerian heritage, Dorcas designs and sells everything from t-shirts and earrings to wall prints, notebooks and greetings cards.

Comfort Badaru Smithson - Fundi Box

Comfort Badaru Smithson is the founder of Fundi Box, an African-inspired craft subscription box. Each month, customers are sent a new piece designed by local artisans from across Africa, complete with items sourced through fair trade to ensure the artisans earn a proper living.

Daniela Paredes Fuentes - Gravity Sketch

Daniela Paredes Fuentes is the founder of Gravity Sketch, a virtual 3D design platform that allows teams to ‘create, collaborate and review’ in a new way. Using Oculus VR technology, designers can bring their ideas to life and scale and discuss feedback in real-time.

Simon & Andrew Salter - Limelyte

Simon and Andrew Salter are the co-founders of Limelyte, a consumer marketing and production studio built to truly engage the modern-day consumer. The brothers launched the company after kick starting the #Feelingnuts campaign to encourage men to regularly check their testicles for signs of testicular cancer which reached over one billion people in 157 countries.

Meredith O’Shaughnessy - Meredith Collective

Meredith O’Shaughnessy is the founder of Meredith Collective, an award-winning creative strategy business that helps retailers, restaurants, hotels and other in-person venues to create innovative and engagement-led experiences that deliver emotional impacts.

Rebecca & Jessica Stern - Mustard Made

Sisters Rebecca and Jessica Stern are the co-founders of Mustard Made, a business they launched in 2018 while living halfway around the world from each other. Inspired by Rebecca’s self-confessed ‘thing for lockers’, Mustard Made is a contemporary homeware brand focused on pastel-coloured traditional metal lockers.

Jane D’Offay - Pigment Perfect

Jane D’Offay is the founder of Pigment Perfect, an artistic print and products brand designed to inspire confidence and self-love among children and adults of colour. She started the business after her eldest daughter suffered racial abuse at school, leading to a long-term collapse in her self-esteem and confidence, and uses Pigment Perfect to change the way we approach artistic prints.

Giles Harrison & Guy Vero - Sculpd

Giles Harrison and Guy Vero are the co-founders of Sculpd, a range of at-home pottery sculpting kits. Encouraging creativity and relaxation, each Sculpd kit comes with everything you need to create your own pinch pot, bowl, plant pot or whatever you can think of.

Dan Gable - ShoutOut

Dan Gable is the founder of ShoutOut, an automated and crowdsourced video platform. Describing itself as ‘user generated content on steroids’, ShoutOut allows businesses to fully automate a customer video template that enables their clients and community to create branded content from their phones.

Ben Askins & Chris Donnelly - Verb

Ben Askins & Chris Donnelly are the co-founders of Verb, a data-driven, creative media agency for luxury and premium brands. Working across offices in London, Manchester, New York and Shanghai, Verb has worked with brands including Bugatti, Gaucho, Liz Earle, Jimmy Choo, and Grosvenor.

Simeon Quarrie - VIVIDA

Simeon Quarrie is the founder of VIVIDA, a creative edtech platform that combines storytelling, gamification, high-production video and content to develop immersive and powerful experiences that maximise learning. He was inspired to start the business from his own experiences struggling to learn from textbooks and traditional teaching methods.

Federica Pecis & Federica Attanasio - We Are F

Federica Pecis and Federica Attanasio are the co-founders of We Are F, a social media and creative boutique that helps brands speak directly to women in their audience. Made for women, by women in 2017, We Are F started with a focus on health, wellness, lifestyle and luxury brands and now goes further to embrace a variety of subjects that appeal to diverse interests.

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