O2 sets out to crown the UK’s small business hero, but who will get your vote?

The five regional winners of O2’s Everyday Heroes Award now have the chance to be crowned the UK’s small business hero and win £5,000 cash

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Five UK small businesses have been named regional winners of O2’s Everyday Heroes awards, which celebrates those that have gone above and beyond in the last year to support their communities.

Public voting has now opened via O2’s Twitter to name one business the national winner, who will be crowned by interior design entrepreneur and former Dragon, Kelly Hoppen CBE.

The awards were created to recognise and celebrate small business owners for their impressive feats, and how they have adapted and flexed their businesses to provide support for their communities when they needed it most.

The regional winners include Leicestershire-based mentors who helped support musicians across the Midlands, to community legends who've brought together whole London Boroughs. Check out their profiles below.

Calypso Rose, Deal Delivers, Kent

Deal Delivers was born out of lockdown, as Calypso recognised the damage local high street stores would suffer as a result of being closed indefinitely. She immediately got to work and created an online marketplace for Deal businesses that could deliver to customers. The service is now a community of over 700 small businesses, and is a lifeline to those that might not have been able to reach their customers before, with some businesses going from six to eight deliveries per day to over 100.


Emma Rigby, Love Your Doorstep, Enfield, London

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Love Your Doorstep is an online community of over 23,000 local members, including volunteers, charities and businesses that has been steadily growing since 2011, when Emma set up the network as a result of the aftermath of the London Riots. Emma has frequently used her contacts and relationships with local businesses to deliver over 60,000 meals, recruit over 600 volunteers and transport medication across the region to ensure everyone in Enfield has access to the support they need. The community also helps people find jobs locally, with a dedicated jobs board.


Hannah Joe, Jackalope Joe Coffee Company Spalding, Lincolnshire

Not only is Jackalope Joe Coffee sustainably packaged and ethically sourced, it is also roasted by an important community figure in the rural Spalding community. During the pandemic, Hannah was involved in putting together food packages for those individuals shielding, and donated her coffee to those packages as a little pick me up. She regularly attends artisan fairs and events, and is always a friendly face and a great person for Spalding’s locals to speak to.


Yasin El Ashrafi, HQ CAN CIC, Leicester

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Yasin has always been passionate about mentoring people, spending his time guiding deprived or unemployed young adults through some of their toughest times. His record studio helps support young musicians and creatives, providing 14 internships to people who had lost their jobs due to COVID. He has previously won the Prince’s Trust mentor of the year award, and has had to overcome his own personal barriers to get to where he is today, using his own experiences to help support and mentor musicians across the Midlands. Yasin has now extended the mentoring services his HQ Familia record label and studio can provide, as he continues to build a real network and community of creatives in the region.


Becci Martin, Boo Coaching and Consulting, Bolton

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Becci founded Boo Coaching because she wanted organisations to build healthy leadership cultures all employees could thrive in. She aims to create through Boo Coaching an encouraging environment where women are given opportunities to shine, and her leadership style is known to create positive ripples in her local community and beyond. She spent the last year working closely with local healthcare trusts, going above and beyond to ensure healthcare professionals have dedicated and tailored wellbeing support. This included creating a dedicated booking system for 1:1 appointments, and even writing inspirational poems to share amongst the community. She is known for her incredible efforts in helping nurses and healthcare professionals navigate their mental wellbeing during the COVID pandemic.


In terms of voting, Twitter will account for 50% of the final outcome, while the other 50% will be determined by the 02 panel.

Jo Bertram, managing director, business & wholesale at Virgin Media O2 and judge said:

“Hearing from all of the small businesses and learning about the sheer level of support and joy they brought their communities over the last year has been truly inspiring.

Small business leaders really are the backbone of local communities around the country so to hear of their tenacity, determination and motivation to keep serving their local customers is heart-warming. In many cases, they’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty, utilising technology in order to ensure they’re offering the best level of support.  They show how a sense of community really has been a lifeline for many of us.”

Voting is now open over at @o2businessuk on Twitter until the 21st September, so read the regional winner profiles, do some research, and cast your vote to help determine the UK’s small business hero!

Ross has been writing for Startups since May 2021, specialising in sustainable business and telephone systems. He also runs the successful entrepreneur's section of the website.

He's previously written for Conde Nast Traveller and the NME and is passionate about music, sustainability, and travelling. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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