Tonight marks the occasion of the National Business Awards, and exciting, innovative companies are the order of the day in the small business constituency.
Tonight marks the occasion of the National Business Awards, and the small business constituency is represented by the Start-Up Business of the Year and Small Online Business of the Year categories.
Featured among the hopefuls in the Start-up Business of the Year category is Crowdcube – an equity-based crowdfunding site that should be familiar to many young companies by now. It is arguably the first and most prominent crowdfunding site to offer equity finance to young companies, and definitely deserves recognition, having grown its presence in the market through some good PR.
It is a popular concept for both fundraising businesses and armchair investors – but this year Crowdcube faces fresh competition in the form of the FSA-approved Seedrs. It will be interesting to see how Crowdcube responds to the emergence of its new rival.
In the Small Online Business of the Year category is Madbid.com, a disruptive auction website business that was featured in our Rising Stars section last year. This business is a sign of how companies need to innovate more to survive in today’s cut-throat entrepreneurial landscape, turning the ‘penny auction’ concept on its head to include characteristics of online retail as well as gaming.
Indeed, innovative, disruptive companies that do something a little different are the order of the day across the categories. Take Serenata Flowers, which uses the ‘Made.com’ approach of cutting out the middlemen to bring consumers produce straight from the source. Or Soul Tree Wine, offering wines from India, a country not normally on the radar of the vinously inclined.
Online retailer Toxic Fox puts a personalised twist on standard gift ideas, and payasUgym aims to shake up the gym sector with its no-membership, pay-as-you-go approach. It’s the way of the future – the businesses that will enjoy success tomorrow are the ones adept at innovation. Let’s hope these small business beacons can inspire many more to shake up industries and change the way we consume products.