Startups Awards winners endorse scheme as entries roll in for 2014

Awards' alumni encourage start-ups across UK to apply for chance to win prestigious accolade

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As entries roll in for the Startups Awards 2014, previous winners have called on businesses from across the country to take part in what is shaping up to be the most eagerly-awaited contest in the award’s 11-year history.

Sponsored by Simply Business, the Startups Awards looks to recognise and celebrate the success of Britain’s most impressive new businesses launched in the last three years, and seeks to identify start-ups with the growth potential to become the ‘next big thing’.

Judged by a panel of leading entrepreneurs and business experts including Laura Tenison MBE of JoJo Maman Bébé and Iqbal Wahhab OBE FRSA, founder of the Cinnamon Club and Roast, there are 15 awards on offer such as Innovative Business of the Year and Service Business of the Year alongside two new awards for 2014: Independent Shop of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.

The overall prize is the coveted title of Simply Business Startups Business of the Year, the recipient of which is selected from the winners of the other categories.

Last year London-based YPlan, “tonights going out app” which enables you to book last minute London events and has reported over half a million downloads worldwide, was named the Simply Business Startups Business of the Year 2013 and also took home the Mobile Business of the Year trophy.

YPlan’s commercial director, Charlie Sefi, discussed the value of the awards: “To win the overall award was a big achievement at the end of an incredible year which saw us launch in London and New York.

“Winning is a great endorsement for the work you’re doing, but it’s more than that. In taking part you’re pitching against some of the best in your category which drives you to push yourself even further.”

Other impressive winners from 2013 have urged companies to follow in their footsteps and enter the Startups Awards 2014.

Gary Riches, owner of Colchester-based Driver Hire, was named Franchisee of the Year and was delighted with the recognition it brought his company:

“To win was an amazing experience and since we won the award, breaking the £1m turnover mark in 12 months has been our biggest achievement.

“I would recommend entering even if you don’t win because getting to the final round is still a great way to be recognised for the hard work you put in. Also it doesn’t matter what size your businesses is. At the time we only had four people in the office and we were competing against people with far greater numbers of employees and bigger turnovers.”

Warren Bader of Motherwell-based Plan Bee, a company which enables businesses and individuals to hire a bee hive, has encouraged other Scottish start-ups to follow his lead after he was named Silver Fox Business of the Year:

“To win the Startups Awards is an incredible experience. We are a micro-business, so these rewards separate you from everybody else that is setting up a new business. It gives you a lot of credibility. It’s really important to enter and to meet people – the networking opportunities that are provided, you just can’t beat.”

Luke Lang, co-founder of Exeter-based Crowdcube; the world’s first equity crowdfunding platform; has also urged other start-ups in the South West to enter the awards after the site was named Funded Business of the Year:

“As a company that helps other start-ups get funded it was absolutely brilliant for Crowdcube to win. I think awards schemes like the Startups Awards are fantastic. They shine a spotlight on all that’s good about Great Britain and Great British entrepreneurs.”

The deadline for Startups Awards entries is September 12, and winners will be announced at a ceremony at the prestigious Kensington Roof Gardens on Thursday 27 November.

David Lester, founder of, echoed the sentiment of Startups Awards alumni and urged early-stage entrepreneurs to take part:

“The quality of businesses that have entered so far is outstanding, and the standard of entries is very high. The aim is to make this year’s Awards the best yet, and we are certainly on target for that. To anyone considering entering, my advice is to take the plunge – as soon as possible.”

Simply Business head of marketing and communications, Jasper Martens, continued: “Time is already running out for businesses if they want to be involved – and I would strongly recommend they do so.

“There is simply no better celebration of business achievement in the UK right now than these awards.”

To enter the Startups Awards 2014 or to find out more, click here

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