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Take a look at past recipients of our awards
The previous national awards recipients come from a wide range of industries across the UK.
The Barclays Entrepreneur Awards celebrate entrepreneurs for their exceptional innovation, and for creating social change and growth that’s moving the UK forward.
To mark the opening of award nominations for 2018, we’ve interviewed seven winners from 2017 to learn more about what inspires them, and what winning the award meant to them and their business.
Kids Planet was started in 2008 after I couldn’t find suitably flexible childcare for my oldest child. We started with the acquisition of two existing nurseries and have since acquired 13 more and opened 10 nurseries from scratch. While we are a nursery group, we’re still very much a family-run company with a personal approach to all that we try to achieve. We’re committed to delivering high-quality childcare and our last 18 Ofsted inspections have been ‘Outstanding’. We have grown from one to 25 nurseries over a 10 year period and I can see us operating 50 nurseries in the next five years.
I was thrilled, shocked and honoured to be recognised for what we have achieved among so many other talented women.
I have three daughters, so I’m proud to be a role model for them. With a workforce of 770 predominantly female staff, I’m also proud to see the efforts we have put in over the last 10 years be recognised. As in any business, a leader may have the idea and vision, but there’s a whole workforce that actually handles the implementation and delivery.
To see something grow and develop, and to continue to do so. To prove that anything can be possible, and to show this by continuing to juggle family and work life.
To work on the business, not in the business. And to not be a control freak and recognise when things need to be delegated, otherwise you hamper growth.
To never get too stressed, as everything always works out in the end. It’s easy to say that, though, as with a business, you’re constantly learning and evaluating what you can do differently next time.
All information in this interview was provided by Clare Roberts, who confirmed its accuracy at the date of publication. Barclays UK PLC doesn’t guarantee its accuracy or completeness.
Taking a company from a raw IP with a £150k seed-fund round in March 2008 to the largest ever life-science float (£69m) on the London Stock Exchange in March 2014 was an incredible experience. The post IPO phase was more challenging, but afforded access to capital, and allowed us to scale quickly via organic growth and the acquisition of four international companies. With the company achieving a peak market capitalisation of £440 million, I felt it was time for a new CEO focused on delivering sustainable profitable growth, allowing me to take better care of my health and to engage with some exciting new projects.
I was really proud to receive this award, as I strive to set an example both through my business achievements, and through the motivational, mentoring and financial support of young entrepreneurs.
Coming from humble beginnings in the East End of London and having left school at 16 to pursue a professional football career, I have to pinch myself at the good fortune I’ve had to be recognised for doing something I love.
My biggest source of inspiration was my PhD supervisor – a great scientist and a pioneer of UK entrepreneurship. A more recent inspiration is the great Jonathan Milner, founder of Abcam and all-round great guy. He showed me that you can reach the pinnacle without compromising your integrity and taught me that the timing of a decision is as important as the decision itself.
Two come to mind. The first was inspired by a Rudyard Kipling poem and amended by me to reflect what I’ve learned from my own journey. “Treat success as a journey of self-discovery, not the ticking-off of a series of destinations.” The second is from a fictional TV president that struck a chord: “Decisions are made by those who show up.”
Try to understand the fundamentals that make you get out of bed every day. These are not job titles or salaries, but things that define you at your very core. If you can build a career where the work you do fulfils these fundamentals, then you are truly in a position to define your success on your own terms, not those of society or your peers.
All information in this interview was provided by Darrin Disley, who confirmed its accuracy at the date of publication. Barclays UK PLC doesn’t guarantee its accuracy or completeness.
We polish stainless steel, aluminium and other non-ferrous material to finishes that are either aesthetic, or needed in a technical application. We really try to go the extra mile for our customers and have differentiated ourselves from our competitors with our flexibility. We plan to grow by 30% over the next three years and are also researching how we can become carbon neutral. I joined in 1989 and have had a fairly traditional career path. I became a director in about 2002 and MD in 2008, three months before the world recession.
Fantastic! We were nominated by our bank manager and it’s incredibly gratifying to know that Barclays value us and are proud to have us as a client.
The recession was a horrific time and even though it was nine years ago, we still carry some scars and so to be validated in this way was quite emotional. It proves that hard work not only pays off, but is recognised. It’s also about asking our customers and other business partners to celebrate with us. To show them that they’re working with a company that’s recognised for trying to be the best it can be.
Learn to step away from the business and have quality time when you don’t think about it at all. No matter what’s going on, if you work 24/7, you will burn out.
Don’t take the bad stuff to heart. In three months or three years, you won’t remember your current problems as they’ll have been solved one way or another and you’ll have moved on.
All information in this interview was provided by Kirsty Davies-Chinnock, who confirmed its accuracy at the date of publication. Barclays UK PLC doesn’t guarantee its accuracy or completeness.
Founders4Schools began as an extension of Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK) n 2011. We set out to ensure that young people have at least four encounters with employers each year when they’re aged between 8 and 16. Our Workfinder app also gives young people aged 16 to 24 access to 140 hours of local work experience placement opportunities at fast-growing companies. Connecting business leaders and kids is exciting and valuable to both sides. Young people are given permission to dream and hope, and businesses can play a meaningful role in their community.
I founded a personal finance website in 1994 and ran it until 2000, shortly before it floated on the London Stock Exchange. I love working as a product strategist with great entrepreneurs to solve problems that matter. I co-founded Silicon Valley Comes to the UK, which is now funded, staffed and partnered with big, international organisations.
Winning this award is a great honour and privilege, as it highlights the importance of innovation and leadership of entrepreneurs in the UK. One of the things I love about being an entrepreneur is it enables me to create the future and solve big problems in the world. Founders4Schools is one of my dearest endeavours, as it allows me to utilise a lifetime of entrepreneurial experience to help close the skills gap and level the playing field for young people.
30 years ago, it was unusual to be an entrepreneur and there was little in the way of resources, support and acknowledgement. In the last 10 years, the government and corporations such as Barclays have focused on welcoming entrepreneurs as engines of growth. Support systems have also grown and matured significantly – there are more-informed venture capitalists, and larger numbers of angel investors and young and aspiring entrepreneurs who want to make a difference.
The family, friends and colleagues around me serve as an important source of inspiration. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, as you wear many hats and need different things from different people at different times. That’s why having a strong support network of people to draw support, advice or inspiration from is critical. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn is a close friend of mine and we have great conversations about problem solving. I always learn a lot from his philosophical approach to business. No matter where you are on your journey as an entrepreneur being able to tap into the experience in your support network will help you to grow.
The best advice I ever received was to start my own business from a mentor. Although being an entrepreneur then didn’t have the support network and awareness it does now, it put me on the path to where I am today. Many decades on, Founders4Schools has scaled the opportunity for young people to interact with mentors and business leaders to receive meaningful and inspirational guidance.
All information in this interview was provided by Sherry Coutu CBE, who confirmed its accuracy at the date of publication. Barclays UK PLC doesn’t guarantee its accuracy or completeness.
FiveAI builds software that will allow safe autonomous vehicles to operate in towns and cities. That’s a super-hard problem because cars need to be able to perceive everything around them, understand what objects are, how they’re moving, predict what will happen next, plan motion and control the vehicle. Although over $6 billion is being invested in self-driving technology in America and China, few companies are doing this in Europe – despite the talent that exists and the market it will enable. Five AI is that company in Europe. We’re funded by VCs and government grants, and led by an experienced team of tech entrepreneurs with the focus and determination to execute.
If we don’t do this, the market for urban surface transport will be gobbled up by US and Chinese vendors. The European market for city transport will grow to $400 billion over the next 10 years and our job is to make sure we can deliver a big piece of this.
Our immediate plan is to get our cars out on public roads and work our way towards a public trial in London in early 2020. Beyond that, we need to turn prototypes into engineering solutions that really can be deployed safely and without drivers in London a couple of years later. If we can execute for London, we can take the technology to other major cities across Europe.
Always meet the customer in person – don’t settle for a conference call. Hire people who really are smarter than you and never contemplate the possibility of defeat.
Drive a big vision, embrace it and inspire by it. Others will follow, including investors.
All information in this interview was provided by Stan Boland, who confirmed its accuracy at the date of publication. Barclays UK PLC doesn’t guarantee its accuracy or completeness.
Regulation, public policy and consumer demand are colliding in an epic battle for the sovereignty of data and consent to share. Data privacy has never been more relevant, as evidenced by front page headlines over recent months. Unless businesses want to be on those front pages, consumer trust in data privacy is essential. For data privacy to exist in the age of data capitalism, consumers must be at the core of the business model. Trunomi enables this in a simple, non-intrusive way, and allows businesses to request, record and immutably prove the legal basis for processing personal data. Trunomi has filed six patents for our technology and we’ve raised over $9 million in Venture Capital funding.
GDPR mandates that consumers must have control over the use of their data and businesses must be accountable and transparent in collection, processing and sharing. We solve GDPR in a unique way by turning potentially burdensome regulation into a competitive advantage. We harness innovative technology to prove accountability, and to offer privacy by design and transparency.
Our company culture respects key values of diversity, engagement, authenticity, integrity and curiosity. In many ways, this award further shows we are on the right track and are building a workspace where our team can truly ‘go big and go home’ to enjoy the very best of both worlds.
My inspiration comes from the successes and failures of other entrepreneurs who break the mould, shoot for the stars and never give up. It also comes from investing the time and effort to attend universities and technology summits.
My mentor encouraged me to apply for a chief executive networking group eight years ago, and its influence on me has been transformative in so many ways.
Don’t sell the $25,000 of Bitcoin that you bought for $37 at the price of $250…
All information in this interview was provided by Stuart Lacey, who confirmed its accuracy at the date of publication. Barclays UK PLC doesn’t guarantee its accuracy or completeness.
Follow our award updates on Twitter to find out who won what.
Our High Growth & Entrepreneur team is available to assist your business with innovation, funding and networking.