Small Business Saturday Blog

Small businesses celebrated at the Blue Tie Ball

Friday, October 20, 2023 at 06:00

A host of remarkable business owners received some very special awards at this year’s Small Business Saturday Blue Tie Ball in Marylebone, which celebrates SmallBiz100 past and present, and marks the countdown to this year’s campaign. 
Susan Bonnar from Hampshire, owner of The British Craft House, a retail platform supporting over 400 independent small business sellers of handmade items, was awarded the Francesca Kemp Award for Small Business in recognition of the inspiring way she runs her business.
The Francesca Kemp Award is awarded annually to a small business that showcases an exceptional contribution to its local area and to the UK small business community. It was created in memory of Fran Kemp, founder of Crafty Revolution, who was one of the very first members of the SmallBiz100 in 2014 and who sadly passed away from cancer in 2015.
Among the other winners were:
  • Amanda Alexander, who received the ‘Happy to Help’ award. Amanda runs a traditional independent toy shop in Manchester, Giddy Goat Toys, and was celebrated for her willingness to always lend a helping hand to other small businesses.
  • Celia Gaze, founder of The Wellbeing Farm, who received the ‘Social Media Sensation Award’. The Wellbeing Farm is a sustainable wedding and event venue in Bolton (known for its charming bow tie-wearing Llamas!) which has driven success through its impressive use of social media.
  • Keisha and Amit, founders of Teddo Play, which specialises in creating educational products for children of all ages, were awarded the ‘Rising Star’ Award, marking their impressive growth and debut as members of this year’s SmallBiz100.
  • Sarah Berthon received the ‘Best Cheerleader’ award for her business, Excel Against the Odds, which is dedicated to helping business owners in looking after their health, as well as advising larger organisations on how to support employees with chronic illnesses.
This year’s Blue Tie event brought together approximately 250 small businesses from across the country, and was held at the beautiful St Mary’s church in London.
The evening was filled with fabulous food and drinks, and guests had the opportunity to get their face painted by the talented local artist Maryam Luong. This year’s event also hosted an ice cream stand, Ice Cream Dreams, which provided an unlimited supply of delectable ice cream for guests.
"I was thrilled and very surprised to win the Francesca Kemp Award this year at the Blue Tie Ball. It was such an honour to be picked from an amazing group of small business owners,” said Susan Bonnar.
"Small businesses are such an integral part of the community, and Small Business Saturday is the perfect campaign to highlight them and the need to support them."
Michelle Ovens CBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK, said: “Congratulations to our wonderful winners. These extraordinary entrepreneurs inspire us all and make such a phenomenal impact. It was a delight to celebrate with the wonderful small businesses from the SmallBiz100 community, as we look forward to another fantastic Small Business Saturday this year.”


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