It is with great excitement and jubilation that we announce the
winners of the Smarta
100 Awards, 2011. The judging process has been
lengthy, gruelling and - at times - heart-breaking. We had so many
fantastic entries this year that we wished it was the Smarta 200.
This is a collection of the brightest, smartest and most inspirational
businesses, hailing from the length and breadth of the
UK. And now it's over to you to vote for your favourite. Seek
out the business you believe deserves our grand prize: the £10,000 Smarta 100
O2 Business of the Year Award. Go get 'em tigers. VOTE.
Back to the winners...
CONGRATULATIONS TO THIS YEARS SMARTA 100
All the firms listed in this year's Winner's List have beat off
stiff competition for their place. They are the cream of the crop,
the tip of the top, the pinnacle of entrepreneurial excellence.
The Smarta 100 is a business analyst's dream come true. Hot
sectors emerge, entrepreneurial data stacks up and the current
shape of the UK enterprise landscape comes into view.
Here are a few of the recession-busting, fast-growing sectors
making waves in this year's Awards. Group-buying is one
fast-growing niche. Following the success of Groupon, a number of
start-ups are playing into the space. Some are hoping to replicate
the US giant's success exactly. Others, like TipToken and Crowdity
in this year's list, are innovating to bring something new to the
Cocktails are also a high growth area. Squeezed by recession,
people still want their little luxuries - they just want them on a
budget, in the comfort of their own homes. Both Rocktails and Nuba
Cocktails are making great strides in this new retail
Another sector than does well in a downturn is dating. We've got
two dating businesses in this year's Smarta 100: Lovestruck and
Isomob, the makers of Flirtfinder. When the chips are down, people
want a little love in their lives. And with the smart introduction
of micropayments and flexible services accessible via smartphone,
users don't feel like they are paying through the nose for it.
On a macroeconomic level, the Smarta 100 reveals some
interesting financial data: Smarta 100 revenues total over
£65,000,000 with an average turnover of £692,000. And our winners
are contributing more to the nation's coffers than they're
borrowing too, with over half (51%) entirely self-funded.
One in five Smarta 100 firms have taken private investment;
seven used a bank loan to start-up. Five sought funding from
friends and family, two were invested in by larger companies, one
was entirely crowd-funded and two won investment on TV's
On average, Smarta 100 winners are three years and two months
old. They employ a total of 740 people, with 9% employing a staff
of more than 20. Smarta 100 businesses tend to be running lean
operations however, with a growing shift to virtual teams and
networks of freelancers - 79% employ fewer than 10 people and 68%
fewer than five.
The Smarta 100 also tells us about the people behind Britain's
brightest small businesses. This year's winners are 55% male, 45%
female, aged between 18 and 52 with an average of 33. In case you
were wondering, 25% of them are either a Virgo or Libra zodiac sign
- with only two Sagittarians!
So, here's what to do now...