2016 New Years Honours list celebrates top UK entrepreneurs

Young Gun Samir Desai and Startups Awards 2015 judge Simon Devonshire among those recognised by the Queen

Our experts

We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality.
Written and reviewed by:
Direct to your inbox
Startups.co.uk Email Newsletter viewed on a phone

Sign up to the Startups Weekly Newsletter

Stay informed on the top business stories with Startups.co.uk’s weekly email newsletter


A number of the UK’s entrepreneurs have been given titles as part of the Queen’s 2016 New Years Honours list including Giles Andrews, founder of Startups 100-listed company Zopa, and 2012 Young Gun Samir Desai of Funding Circle.

Other notable recipients of honours for their contributions to business included Startups Awards 2015 judge Simon Devonshire and the CEO of Ann Summers; Jacqueline Gold.

Following a strong year for the UK’s small businesses, the entrepreneurs recognised with royal honours in the list of 1,196 individuals includes:


Samir Desai – co-founder and CEO of Funding Circle. For services to financial services. Having co-founded small business peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle in the wake of the financial crisis, 2012 Young Gun Desai has overseen its rapid growth to facilitate an estimated $1.8bn of loans to more than 15,000 global businesses since 2010. Over 45,000 individuals and institutions invest through the platform including the government backed British Business Bank.

Jacqueline Gold – CEO of Ann Summers. For services to entrepreneurship, women in business and social enterprise. The daughter of legendary businessman David Gold, the CEO of the high street lingerie chain has paved her own entrepreneurial path. She has transformed the company into a multi-million pound business with more than 140 stores in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Spain. An app is also in development.


Natalie Massenet – founder of Net-A-Porter Group. For services to the fashion and retail industries. A former fashion journalist, Massenet has been credited with changing the face of designer fashion retail after founding online high-fashion outlet Net-A-Porter. The entrepreneur sold the company for a reported £350m in 2010 to Swiss company Richemont but stepped down as chairman last year. She maintains an honorary role as chairman of the British Fashion Council.

Simon Devonshire – co-founder of Wayra Europe and former DBIS Entrepreneur in Residence. For services to enterprise, enterprise promotion and humanitarian issues. A serial entrepreneur and investor, 2015 Startups Awards judge Devonshire has supported more than 230 digital companies through business accelerator Wayra Europe. As well as co-founding and scaling-up multi-million pound businesses, he has also been recognised for his humanitarian work through One Water – an organisation that has donated £10m to clean drinking water projects in Africa.

Robin Rowland – chief executive of YO! Sushi. For services to the restaurant and hospitality industry. After joining as CEO in 1999, Rowland led a £10m management buyout of YO! Sushi in 2003 and has overseen the Japanese restaurant chain’s succession from a single store to a high street fixture, with more than 75 outlets across the UK.

Giles Andrews – co-founder and executive chairman of Zopa. For services to financial services. Following successful ventures in the automotive and consultancy sectors, Andrews has been awarded an MBE for his role as executive chairman of what is thought to be Europe’s largest peer-to-peer lender; Zopa, which has lent over £1bn since 2004. Andrews is also non-executive chairman of social and environmental technology accelerator Bethnal Green Ventures.


Rekha Mehr – founder of Pistachio Rose. For services to entrepreneurship and enterprise. From starting Indian boutique bakery Pistachio Rose in 2012, to fighting off competition from 200 applicants to be named as one of the government’s Entrepreneurs In Residence at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Mehr is an impressive name in enterprise. She has been recognised with an MBE for managing her own start-up while acting as a voice for the start-up community around her.

Written by:

Leave a comment

Leave a reply

We value your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. Please review our commenting policy.

Back to Top