Vodafone partners with Steven Bartlett for small business mentoring competition

Now in its second edition, Vodafone’s ‘Shout Out for Small Businesses’ aims to spotlight digitally progressive and creative small businesses.

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Vodafone’s second Shout Out for Small Businesses competition wants to celebrate small businesses that are using digital skills/technology to drive their business forward in innovative ways and overcome the unprecedented challenges posed by the past 12 months.

The overall winner will receive a face-to-face business mentoring session with acclaimed entrepreneur – and the newest addition to Dragon’s Den – Steven Bartlett, plus social media marketing boosts worth £3,000.

10 runners up will receive social media marketing boosts, and a digital business strategy session with a Vodafone V-Hub advisor.

The contest is testament to the resilience and creativity of UK entrepreneurs – despite the pandemic, research from the Centre for Entrepreneurs found that more than 400,000 new companies were formed in 2020.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the Shout Out for Small Businesses competition, the prizes on offer, how to apply, and how last year’s winners have been getting on.

What is the Vodafone Shout Out for Small Businesses competition?

Initially launched earlier this year, the contest aims to highlight small businesses who are using digital technologies and skills to thrive in what has been (for most sectors) one of the most difficult business environments in history.

The first competition attracted entries from small businesses across the UK, and gave the winning businesses an audience of millions thanks to the social media marketing boosts they received.

And now, Vodafone are running the whole thing again with some great prizes on offer …

What can my business win?

The overall winner will receive:

  • A bespoke, face-to-face business mentoring session with business expert Steven Bartlett – Bartlett co-founded social media company Social Chain when he was just 21, rapidly grew the company to a £250m+ valuation (and two appearances in the Startups 100), before leaving in 2020 to set up a private equity firm.

Bartlett will take a close look at the winning business, and assess potential growth opportunities.

  • A dedicated Facebook and Instagram social media marketing campaign boost worth over £3,000
  • A digital business strategy session with a Vodafone V-Hub adviser

10 runner-up businesses will get social media boosts and digital business strategy sessions

How can I apply for the Vodafone Shout Out for Small Businesses competition?

The competition is free to enter, and open to all UK small businesses (fewer than 50 employees).

The closing date is 26 November 2021.

Your entry will need to showcase how you’ve used digital tools, skills, and platforms in innovative ways to help supercharge your business.

Entries will be judged by an expert panel of judges, including Steven Bartlett, Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones CBE, and Vodafone Head of Small Business Andrew Stevens.

To get involved, apply here.

How did the contest help previous winners?

One of the winners first time round was Play Makes Sense – a baby sensory cards business that was launched by founders who met through Instagram and worked together through Google Docs before ever meeting in person.

Co-founder Alice Spence says:

“Winning the last Shout Out for Small Businesses campaign really gave our business a boost.

“The added exposure we received on Facebook, Instagram and Vodafone’s own social channels opened us up to a huge audience, which helped us reach more parents so that they could make learning fun during lockdown.”

So, if your small business is a digital trailblazer, make sure you get involved this time round.

Alec is Startups’ resident expert on politics and finance. He’s provided live updates on the budget, written guides on investing and property development, and demystified topics like corporation tax, accounting software, and invoice discounting. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, and writing a wide variety of freelance pieces.

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