Essence of the Entrepreneur winners announced

BT Business has unveiled the 20 winners of its annual ‘Essence of the Entrepreneur’ competition.

Now in its third year, the BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur competition has once again found 20 entrepreneurs who are defining the UK's small business landscape.

Judges including serial entrepreneur Peter Jones, BBC Radio 4's Adam Shaw, Daily Mirror journalist Tricia Philips and John Dunsmere from the British Chambers of Commerce sifted through a record number of entries until they found 20 worthy of joining an illustrious group of previous winners.

The scheme seeks out entrepreneurs who are doing something pioneering in business with the help of technology, and honours them in its own innovative way by making them the stars of a high-profile photographic exhibition.

Of the 20 winners (see full list below), extra awards were given to the best female entrepreneur, best male entrepreneur, the young entrepreneur of the year and the most original business concept.

In a first for this year, the judges also chose an overall winner, Michael Welch of tyre franchise firm Blackcircles, who was crowned the Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year and awarded a £20,000 grant from BT. is the UK's largest online tyre retailer. It offers savings of up to 40% and has a network of 987 independent tyre franchisees.

Welch said he was honoured to scoop this year's top prize, but he believes Blackcircles is “the very essence of an entrepreneurial business”.

“We don't sit still and we work very hard. Everybody is equally as involved and deserves it as much,” he said.

He added that he will spend the majority of the grant on training for his team.

Celebrity photographer Rankin was charged with immortalising the essence of all of the winners' businesses.

The images can be viewed at or at a free exhibition at gallery@oxo on London's South Bank from Thursday January 29 to Sunday, March 1.

The winners:

  1., Michael Welch (Most Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year)
  2. Affixius Productions, Tim Cabrelli and Miles Latham
  3. A Suit That Fits, Warren Bennett and David Hathiramani
  4., Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish
  5. Young Marmalade, Crispin Moger (Most Original Concept)
  6. Moofu Education, Nick Palfrey
  7. BEcause, Sharon Richey (Female Entrepreneur of the Year)
  8. Bright Ideas Global, Jeff Gunn
  9. Holiday Nanny, Nicola Grant
  10., Ali Clabburn (Male Entrepreneur of the Year)
  11. Netmums, Cathy Court, Siobhan Freegard and Sally Russell
  12. Original Travel, Nick Newbury
  13. Rivers Run Red, Justin and Louise Bovington
  14. Superjam, Fraser Doherty (Young Entrepreneur of the Year)
  15. The Cool Drinks Company, Aaron Prout and Neil Harrison
  16. t-mac Technologies, Lisa and Jonathan Wilkinson
  17., Cathy Bartrop
  18. Yellow Octopus, Jack Ostrowski
  19. VirtualGym TV, Richard Davis
  20. Any Junk? Jason Mohr

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2009



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