My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Wales’s entrepreneurial success stories celebrated at national awards

Francesca James speaking at the GBEA Finals

Wales’s most inspiring entrepreneurs have been recognised at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2021: The Finals.

In partnership with Starling Bank, the ceremony was held at Grosvenor House and saw 159 businesspeople recognised for their achievements, including 15 from across Wales.

The overall Great British Entrepreneur of the Year winner was London’s Philip Belamant, the CEO and founder of financial services company, Zilch.

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards launched in 2012 to celebrate the best of British enterprise, inviting founders from across the UK to apply with their entrepreneurial success stories.

This year, after having to hold the awards virtually in 2020, the organisers brought together all eight of their regional shortlists for the first time, with a guest list of 1,200 entrepreneurs, judges, mentors, investors and partners invited to the London celebration.

Over the last decade, the awards has celebrated some household names including Julie Deane OBE of Cambridge Satchel Co, Alan and Juliet Barratt of Grenade and Shaun Pulfrey of Tangle Teezer. Its most recent headline-grabbing success story is its previous winner, and speaker at this year’s event, Steven Bartlett, who in May was announced as the youngest ever Dragon on BBC’s Dragons Den.

One of the winners is Cwmbran-based travel platform, Dog Furiendly, which acts as a TripAdvisor for dog owners, helping them plan the best places for pet owners to eat, drink and stay.

CEO and Founder Adele Pember walked away with the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. Adele said: “I was totally shocked to have won! As a finalist for two awards, we already felt on top of the world but winning this award truly celebrates all our hard work, grit and determination to make Dog Furiendly a global furnomenon.

“When I started Dog Furiendly, people used to look at me like I was barking mad. Yes I am, but all the best dog owners are! This award has given me the confidence to believe in what we’ve created at Dog Furiendly. It’s recognition from people you aspire to be like and we’re just so honoured to be flying the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Wales”

The awards were judged by a panel of industry experts and leaders of influential UK businesses, including some of the prize winners from previous years.

Francesca James, founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, spoke highly of the entrepreneurial talent coming out of Wales this year: “It was fantastic to hear the inspiring stories from Wales after such a difficult few years, and even better to have been able to invite all of our finalists to the in-person ceremony and celebrate together.

“With more than 1,200 people attending, the evening was a real snapshot of the UK economy. The winners were thoroughly deserving, overcoming some stiff competition from their fellow finalists, and we look forward to welcoming them into our alumni community and seeing what they do next. It’s always exciting to watch our previous winners go on to achieve amazing things and I don’t expect any less from this year’s award recipients, who we will support all the way.”

Anne Boden MBE, founder of Starling Bank, headline partner of the Awards, said: “It is fantastic to see these worthy individuals being celebrated through these awards. We wish all the shortlisted businesses the best of luck with their future endeavours during these changing times.”

Guests also heard the story of Phones4U founder, John Caudwell, as he announced a new award category and partnership between the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and his charity, Caudwell Children. John said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate businesses and entrepreneurs that are flourishing and making a success of themselves.

“The Great British Entrepreneur Awards has developed a growing community of like-minded businesses and entrepreneurs, which was the perfect platform for me to launch my Blaze Your Own Trail award. I’m incredibly excited about the partnership we have established, both for the new award and my charity.”

Wales Winners

  • Joseph Ward, Smallspark Space Systems – Young

  • Claire Copeman, Adventure Tours UK – Start-Up

  • Geryn Evans, Project Blu – Sustainability

  • Rhys King, RGifts – Small Business

  • Darren Briggs, Ascona Group Holdings – Service Industries

  • Darren Briggs, Ascona Group Holdings – Scale-Up

  • Michael Beck, Craig Lomax, Sean Thomas & Michael George, Reworking – Pivot

  • Callum Griffiths, Clydach Farm Group – Made in the UK

  • Benjamin & Marc Shipman, The GO2 Brand – Health & Wellbeing

  • Scott Davies, Hilltop – Food & Drink

  • Ross Jones & Rachel Lyndon-Jones, Ouma – Family Business

  • Adele Pember, Dog Furiendly – Entrepreneurial Spirit

  • Mark Williams, LIMB-Art – For Good

  • William Sachiti, Academy of Robotics – Disruptor

  • Jen Danger Harding, Danger Doodles – Creative