GBEA; we have history!
We had amazing support from some of Great Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs from the start
We were incredibly fortunate to be supported by some of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs who supported our mission and joined our judging panel. You can view our full judging panel here.
Julie Deane, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company, picked up a hat-trick of gongs at the inaugural Great British Entrepreneur Awards!
Julie founded The Cambridge Satchel Company from her kitchen table in Cambridge, with only £600, as a means of paying school fees for her children. Being seen on the arms of celebrities and bloggers such as Taylor Swift and Liberty London Girl quickly gave the brand global recognition.
Many years later, Julie returned to GBEA to join our judging panel like many of our former winners do (but more on that later!)
More than ‘just’ an awards programme
Our alumni was growing. We quickly realised that we were more than ‘just’ an awards programme, instead a community and thriving eco-system of support all year round and provision of opportunities for winners and finalists to connect and showcase their businesses.
We expanded out of London
We also decided to shake up the format
Scrapping the black tie format for our regional events, instead we took over comedy clubs and music venues for a more relaxed vibe with better opportunities for networking.
We then added three more cities to our regional tour!
Entrepreneurship is very much alive and well in:
We had a record breaking year!
Amazing things started to happen
Emeka and Ifeyinwa were one of six businesses showcasing themselves as part of our Great British Entrepreneurs Champions Hall of Fame event. Speaking to the brother and sister, host Wynne Evans asked how much they had left to raise to complete their crowdfunding campaign. They explained that they needed a further £1,500 before the deadline on Saturday. A call came from the audience. That call was from Steven Smith, the founder of Poundland, a member of the GBEA judging panel who himself was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Steven, reminiscing how his Dad helped him get his first business off the ground, offered to donate £1,500 and complete the sibling duo’s campaign.
Starling Bank joined us on our mission to support & champion entrepreneurs
It’s particularly exciting for us to have such a committed partner with a real entrepreneurial success story behind it. Starling’s founder and CEO, Anne Boden MBE, is someone who saw so many problems with traditional banking and decided to do something about it, disrupting an entire industry in the process.
We developed a community magazine
This magazine brings the incredible stories of entrepreneurs together in one place, helping to shine a spotlight on some of the best entrepreneurial stories and biggest issues facing entrepreneurs in the UK today. We expanded the distribution of our magazine, Great British Entrepreneurs (available in print and digital) to 10,000 issues per quarter.
You can check out previous online editions here.
Our host Wynne Evans is very much a part of the community too
You might recognise him as his alter ego, the man with the twirly moustache who sings about insurance!
We love it when we see collaborations within our alumni like this
GBEA 2020: Reimagined
“As the founder of an awards programme that has championing, celebrating and connecting entrepreneurs as part of its DNA, I have thought long and hard about what is the right course of action to take given the current situation”.
Online learning in times of disruption
This is a time when as a business community we need to come together and support one another and we’re lucky enough to work with so many organisations and individuals who are passionate about supporting these communities.
We’ve run a number of online sessions to support entrepreneurs with expert practitioners and the founders of:
- King of Shaves
- Little Venice Cake Company
- Cobra Beer
- The Covent Garden Soup Company