Dragons’ Den’s Sarah Willingham launches inaugural Dot London Small Business Awards

Image: Sarah Willingham with fellow judges including Nick Holzherr and Lorne Vary and a variety of representatives from small London business.

Entrepreneur and newest Dragon’s Den judge Sarah Willingham has teamed up with Dot London, the capital’s unique domain name, and launch the Dot London Small Business Awards to celebrate the success of London’s successful small business community.

With small businesses making up 98 per cent of the capital’s registered businesses, the awards recognise the exciting commercial ventures that operate in London and aim to offer SMEs and independent businesses a boost for success. Award winners will receive a cash prize, one-to-one mentorship on how to improve their online business presence and a free Dot London domain name for a year, subject to availability.

Willingham will lead a judging panel made up of some of London’s most established brands, including health-led fast-food chain, LEON; folding bicycles pioneers, Brompton Bikes; online designer furniture retailers, Made.com; craft beer brewers, Meantime Brewery; and fashion and gift retailer, Oliver Bonas. 

There will also be a representative from global tech giants Google; the capital’s official city guide, VisitLondon.com; leading charity organization, the London Community Foundation; social media experts, Be Social Global; and former BBC Apprentice finalist and CEO of grocery shopping app, Whisk.com, Nick Holzherr.

Speaking at the launch Willingham said:  “London is a city full of opportunities for entrepreneurs keen to try their hand at starting and running their own businesses. The city is buzzing with new ideas and investors who want to support the next big thing, so the Dot London Small Business Awards are a great opportunity for us to pay homage to the capital’s successful business start-ups.” 

Entry is open for the Dot London Small Business Awards at Awards.london with 13 categories including hospitality, retail, creative services, social enterprises and start-ups. The awards are free to enter for any London-based business, organisation or individual with 1–50 employees that has actively traded sometime between April 2014 and September 2015 and has a registered address in one of London’s 32 boroughs.

The shortlist will be announced in November, when the awards will be opened for a public vote, which will run until the end of December. The awards ceremony will take place in central London in January 2016.