With more than five million in the UK and generating a third of GDP, family businesses are the bedrock of the economy. Whether it’s the business that has been passed down through the generations or a new start-up launched by family members, these companies have longevity and innovation at their hearts.
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 family entrepreneurs to watch in 2021.
Seb and Amber are the husband and wife co-founders of Brave Foods, an award-winning brands of vegan roasted pea and chickpea snacks. A long-time vegan, Seb wanted to create a snack that was as exciting as it was influential in encouraging more people to eat a plant-based diet.
Sisters Naomi and Chineyere Simon are the co-founders of Byooti, an online cosmetics brand and platform for afro hair and skin products. With a large portion of haircare products containing chemicals that are damaging to afro hair, Byooti and its brands focus on natural ingredients, and advice and information so customers can make safe and healthy decisions.
The Donneky brothers are the co-founders of Cantails, a range of 100% natural canned cocktails. With craft beers, wines and spirits so easy to get hold of, the two brothers wanted people to enjoy great tasting cocktails without the need for bartending experience, fancy equipment or ice.
Elsie and Fred is a 90s-inspired fashion brand created by siblings Natalie, Leanne and Ryan Haynes that aims to empower every young female on the planet. Its bold and colourful designs mirror its belief that everyone should ‘live fierce and empowered’.
Harry and Jack Mayhew are the brothers behind Ember Snacks, a range of organic biltong snacks. Ember only uses meat from cows and pigs from old-fashioned British and Irish farms that prioritise natural nutrition, animal welfare and sustainable practices. Each of its products are packed with protein and are free from artificial ingredients, while its original recipe won a 2020 Great Taste Award.
Howard and Vivien Wong are the brother and sister founders of Little Moons, a range of Japanese mochi - traditional rice cakes - snacks infused with a modern twist. The pair work alongside top chefs and use the highest quality ingredients to create unique flavour combinations like ‘Himalayan Salted Caramel’, ‘Sumatran Coconut’, ‘Uji Matcha Green Tea’ and more.
Kady and Lafia Toure are the sibling founders of Muffin Sisters, a brand of children’s blankets, towels and soft furnishings. The products use traditional African fabrics and are merged with contemporary European styles, designed to ‘intermingle cultures’ and ‘preserve heritage for future generations’.
Guy and Abi Fennell are the husband and wife duo behind Pura, a brand of eco-friendly baby wipes. Noticing conventional wipes - which contain plastic and do not break down after flushing - all over their house, the couple decided to do something about it and leave a legacy for their son, Ezra. Pura offers either flushable or plastic-free biodegradable wipes that contain 99% water and organic aloe vera.
Simmy and Jhai Dhillon are the founders of RNS Meals, a healthy and nutritious ready meal subscription service. With support from their mother (who taught the brothers how to cook!), RNS allows customers to choose a plan that suits their needs, tailor it to their portion and nutritional needs and handmakes each meal.
Alice and Maisie Jones are the founders of Sisters and Seekers, a contemporary streetwear brand for women, designed to ‘empower the sisterhood’. The sisters hand sketch each item, which are based on their own style and inspired by the ‘appreciation of art and aesthetic’. The brand is available in select TOPSHOP stores across the UK.
Rob and Shelley Martin are the husband and wife founders of smughouse, a ‘simple, fun and functional’ furniture brand. smughouse creates pastel coloured industrial storage, seating and lighting products. Rob and Shelley started the business alongside their day jobs but went full-time when they were both made redundant at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Olly, Max and Josh Kohn are the trio of brothers behind The Jolly Hog, a Great Taste award-winning brand of high quality pork and sausage products. Olly, a former rugby player with Harlequins, started the business when he was out injured before convincing his brothers to join. Their gluten-free sausages have received high praise from acclaimed chefs Michel Roux and Michel Roux Jr, with the younger declaring on national television that they were the best sausages he had ever tasted.
Amy and Chris Cheadle are the husband and wife founders of The Northern Dough Co., a range of frozen DIY dough kits. Starting at food festivals and markets making pizzas with ‘The Original One’ dough, the pair soon secured listings for their frozen dough in farm shops and delis, and are now available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Ocado. Having started with pizza, they now produce sourdough and brioche kits as well as cookie dough.
Helenor and Mike Rogers are the founder of TrooFoods, a breakfast food brand that focuses on good gut health. From porridge and granola to syrups, its products promote good gut health by being high in fibre, low in sugar and free from nasties. TrooFoods is entirely vegan friendly and all packaging is either compostable or recyclable.
Derek and Chad Sarno are the brothers behind Wicked Foods, a chef-crafted range of plant-based ready meals, rising-crust pizzas and meat alternatives. Since launching, Wicked Foods has sold more than 20 million products in the UK that ‘set the standard of excellence in taste, quality and compassion’.
To find out more about our partners Starling Bank.
Start an application for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards!