JoJo Maman Bébé founder Laura Tenison MBE among top class Startups Awards judging panel

First group of judges announced, with entrepreneurs, small business experts, and national business journalists revealed

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Laura Tenison MBE, the founder of the nation’s favourite mother and baby boutique chain JoJo Maman Bébé, is among the first raft of judges announced for the 2014 Startups Awards.

From coming up with her business idea while prone in a hospital bed following a major car accident, Laura Tenison has spent the last 21 years turning her maternity fashion mail order brand into a national chain with 60 stores, 570 employees and a £44m turnover forecasted for this year.

An inspirational entrepreneur, Tenison, who started with £50,000, is well-known for her appearances on the BBC’s The Apprentice – You’re Fired, Beat The Boss, and Peter Jones Meets, as well as her speeches at many of the UK’s largest business events and interviews on Channel 4, Bloomberg, and Sky News.

She will no doubt be particularly keen to assess the merits of the Independent Shop of the Year and Women in Business entries.

Tenison will join Seven Hills and StartUp Britain co-founder Michael Hayman MBE and Jason Stockwood, CEO of the awards’ headline sponsor Simply Business on the panel.

Also judging the 11th Startups Awards will be former CEO of Future Publishing and now chief executive of creative agency MediaClash Greg Ingham, The Supper Club founder and Start Up Loans advisory board member Duncan Cheatle, and Luke Lang, co-founder of last year’s winner of the Funded Business of the Year category

Representing online accountancy software company Big Red Cloud, which is sponsoring the Service Business of the Year category, will be CEO Marc O’Dwyer. And brand manager of UK Domain Portfolio at Nominet Bex Bradburn, will keep a particular eye on the Tech Business of the Year category.

We have two outstanding national newspaper journalists – the enterprise editor of The Daily Telegraph Rebecca Burn-Callander and former and Growing Business editor James Hurley, who is now enterprise editor at The Times.

Returning judges include haysmacintyre’s head of Creative, Media & Technology sector Natasha Frangos, who will have a close eye on the Venture Funded Business of the Year entrants;  Coutts & Co’s executive director of client propositions Andrew Haigh; and Howard Graham, CEO of company formations business Made Simple Group, sponsor of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category.

From we have the founder of Crimson Publishing David Lester and editorial director Ian Wallis. We’ll be revealing some more exciting judges in the coming weeks.

To find out more about the Startups Awards judges, you can read their full biographies here.

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