Shortlist of Britain’s top microentrepreneurs and the responsible finance providers supporting them

16 businesses supported by responsible finance providers have been named as finalists in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards.

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards are the annual celebration of Britain’s micro-entrepreneurs who have accessed “responsible” business finance. The awards, which launched in 2005, (and in 2013 in the UK) were established by the Citi Foundation to recognise best-in-class micro-entrepreneurs and celebrate the responsible finance sector and their contribution to national economies.

All of the short-listed companies have been chosen because they represent some of the most promising micro-enterprises in the UK and have been named as finalists in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by the Citi Foundation.

The broad array of finalists which include a music equipment manufacturer and retailer; the UK’s first purpose build breastfeeding café; a provider of consulting to the pharmaceutical and food supplements industry and a social enterprise diverting food destined to landfill to a pay as you feel café, demonstrate the breadth of the companies under consideration.

The companies are competing for a share of an 85,000 GBP(£) prize pot in this year’s awards, with four separate awards up for grabs. They are being judged according to their business’ sustainability, growth and track record for creating significant social value. The fourth and final award is for the ‘Youth Micro-entrepreneur of the Year.’

Lee Mannion, social enterprise correspondent for Thomson Reuters Foundation, is one of this year’s judges. He said,

“Whether it’s the small businesses and social enterprises that continue despite the odds in difficult economic circumstances, the forward thinking lenders who seek to support them or the visionary leaders who see past the bottom line to the communities they exist in, it’s always difficult to pick out champions. However, it was pure privilege to be asked to pick from a plethora of uplifting people and companies.”

Responsible finance providers have also been shortlisted as finalists for awards covering their impact and their resilience. Responsible Finance providers are a crucial part of the UK’s financial sector and the leading financial institutions offering affordable finance to many small and micro enterprises. The Citi Foundation is committed to supporting and growing the responsible finance sector, as well as youth entrepreneurs through its Pathways to Progress initiative.

A recent Citi Foundation study, Pathways to Progress Global Youth Survey 2017, found that 69% of young people interviewed dreamt of owning their own business, evidencing a real entrepreneurial appetite among today’s youth. One in seven of the UK’s adult population now run their own micro enterprises.

All of the businesses shortlisted in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, which are delivered in partnership by Responsible Finance and the Citi Foundation, have benefited from an affordable loan from a responsible finance provider and have contributed towards local economic growth in the UK.

According to Jennifer Tankard, Chief Executive of Responsible Finance: “the advice, mentoring, business support and skills development that responsible finance providers offer to their client businesses and social enterprises is just as important as the finance they provide.”

Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance and Community Development, said, “Every year the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards celebrate the innovation and talent of UK micro-entrepreneurs and responsible finance providers. The quality of applications was very high this year, and the finalists represent some of the best emerging micro-entrepreneurs in the UK who have enriched their local economies and communities.

“It is also important to recognise the integral work of responsible finance providers, who for many SMEs and individuals are the lifeblood of their businesses and households. Our responsible finance finalists have gone above and beyond to support their clients and communities and we are proud to support them through the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards.”

The Winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on 20 March 2018 in Glasgow.

The Finalists in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards are listed in alphabetical order for each category, at the Responsible Finance website (from 30/11/2017) and below (information embargoed to 30/11/2017):

Growth Award finalists:

• Alpkit, Newthorpe
• GMP Compliance Limited, Hull
• JMP Quality Homecare Ltd (Right at Home Preston)
• Lister Steps, Liverpool

Social Enterprise Award finalists:

• Barley Café, Prestwich
• Bin Cooking Ltd, Sheffield
• The Employability Trust (East Durham)
• Harry Specters, Ely

Sustainability Award finalists:

• All 4 Pets, East Kilbride
• The Argyll Smokery, Argyll
• Killbran Toy Trailers, Dungannon
• Ovenbird Coffee Roasters Ltd, Glasgow

Young Entrepreneur Award finalists:

• Jake Mina Associates Limited t/a Creative Print, Blackpool
• Joshua John Hairdressing, Aberfeldy
• The Milk Lounge, Nottingham
• Ruach Music Ltd, Kilkeel

Responsible Finance providers have been shortlisted in two Awards for providers and two for their staff:

Impact Award finalists:

• Enterprise Loans East Midlands, East Midlands
• Financing Enterprise, London
• Robert Owen Community Finance, Wales
• Wessex Resolutions CIC (WRCIC), South West of England

Resilience Award finalists:

• Key Fund, Yorkshire
• Lancashire Community Finance, North West of England
• Let’s Do Business Finance, South East of England
• Moneyline, North West of England

Responsible Finance Leader Award finalists:

• Sean Dennis, Deputy Chief Executive, Let’s Do Business Finance
• Lisa Greenhalgh, Director and Chief Executive, MISF (Merseyside Small Loans for Business Investment Fund Limited)
• Eric Munro, Director of Community Banking, RBS Social and Community Capital
• Steve Walker, Chief Executive, ART Business Loans, West Midlands

Responsible Finance Loan Officer Award finalists:

• Nicola Cosgrove DSL Business Finance Ltd
• Paul Humphray (MISF – Merseyside Small Loans for Business Investment Fund)
• Xiao Liu (Business Finance Solutions)
• Alex Mearns, Business Finance Solutions

Pear Digital Team