Search begins for the North West’s most inspiring stories of entrepreneurship

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Founder Francesca James speaking at the 2021 GBEA Finals

A national business awards programme is open for entries from the North West ahead of its tenth anniversary, searching for success stories of entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards (GBEA), in partnership with Starling Bank, acknowledges and champions the hard work and uplifting stories of business owners across the UK, with an emphasis on their journey and resilience over financial achievements.

Following a hugely successful return to in-person celebrations at the 2021 awards, which saw 1,200 guests gathering at The Grosvenor Hotel in London for the first time for two years, the organisers are appealing for the next cohort of applicants to share their story ahead of the programme’s tenth anniversary.

Fourteen awards will be given out per region for categories including Disruptor of the Year, Entrepreneur for Good Award, and the overall Great British Entrepreneur of the Year. Notable winners from previous years include Social Chain founder Steven Bartlett, who went on to become the youngest ever investor on BBC’s Dragon’s Den.

This year’s awards will also feature a brand new award highlighting the organisations investing into the training and development of young people. The John Caudwell Blaze Your Own Trail Award looks to recognise outstanding examples of businesses offering apprenticeships, vocational training, and diversity and inclusion initiatives, all in the name of improving young people’s access to work.

The benefits of applying continue beyond awards night, as winners and finalists become part of a thriving alumni network. The organisers are keen to offer continued support and opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect and showcase their businesses, and a growing community has evolved from previous cohorts.

Founder of the awards, Francesca James, is looking forward to seeing what the 2022 event will bring: “After some tough times for business owners and a pause in face-to-face events, it’s fantastic to be back up and running with a full-scale awards programme again. The North West delivers phenomenal stories of entrepreneurial success year on year so we are truly looking forward to reading the applications of this year’s cohort and seeing where their journeys take them next.

“This year looks to be bigger than any before – we’re going all out to celebrate our tenth birthday and we’re sure that our hopeful winners from the North West will rise to the occasion.

“We want to call out to the leaders of businesses large and small to put themselves forward – you don’t have to own a multi-million pound empire to be a thriving entrepreneur, and giving everyone the opportunity to tell their unique story is what the awards is all about.

“We look forward to hearing from the North West’s finest business people!”

Previous award winner, now judge and member of the GBEA Hall of Fame, Julie Deane CBE of the Cambridge Satchel Company said: “One thing that’s tough when you’re on your own starting a business is that there’s no one to give you feedback, no six-monthly appraisal, so to be recognised and congratulated becomes even more important.

“I can honestly say I didn’t think when I entered the awards all those years ago that I’d stand a chance of winning, let alone winning so many! It was an unforgettable evening and one which I still think back to – particularly when times get tough, it’s those high points that keep us going and keep us motivated.”

Applications close Friday 3rd June 2022. To apply, visit www.greatbritishentrepreneurawards.com

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