O2 Smarta 100 Awards: We ask alumni what winning did for them

The O2 Smarta 100 is into its fifth year this year and attracts thousands of entries from exciting startups up and down the country. We spoke to some of the O2 Smarta 100 alumni to see where they are now and ask their tips for companies who are thinking of entering. If you think your company has got what it takes, you can enter the awards here.

What did being in the O2 Smarta 100 do for your company?

Neil Westwood, founder of Magic Whiteboard said

“The O2 Smarta awards are a great way to raise your profile as a growing business you will get you some great media coverage, they are free to enter and the award ceremony is also free.”

Edmund Cohen, founder of Landed Houses said

“It's great for brand credibility, particularly in the early days when customers know (or can find out) that you have only recently launched. There are plenty of awards for the top brands but fewer for start-ups, who arguably need the support more. Knowing your company is among the best is also great for morale!”

Richard Grigsby, founder of Cyclescheme said

“Being in the O2 Smarta 100 is another great accolade for Cyclescheme Ltd. and has enabled us to continue to market the message that our company is ahead of the competition and also that we appreciate the value of such awards. Our market place is typical of most with good and bad competitors and visible awards and recognition goes a long way towards keeping us in the news and enjoying the qualification of such awards as the O2 Smarta 100.”

Ian Walker, founder of Laundry Republic said

“Being in the O2 Smarta 100 gave us recognition and credibility, which was useful mainly when recruiting and pitching to property managers. Applicants want to work for companies who have proven themselves as worthy of awards, and when property managers are concerned that residents will receive a trouble free, professional service, it's reassuring for them to see that although a young company, we're already being recognised as fast growing and competent.”

Zak Edwards, founder of Prezzybox.com

“Winning the Smarta Best People Business Award gave us the self-belief that we were doing the right things. We always thought we were on the right track, but to have this clarified and endorsed by such a large and credible corporation really put the icing on the cake.” 

Jacquie Cole, founder of Bakewell Travel said

“Being in the Smarta 100 gave me a huge personal boost of confidence as well as being really good for my business. I contacted my local newspaper who did a half page feature on me in their business section which was great publicity. The Travel industry magazine, Travel Weekly were also very interested in the good news story as we were still in recession, they made my Smarta 100 win one of their top 5 stories of the week in Travel Weekly which goes out too all the travel industry, and followed it up with a full page feature on myself and my business a few weeks later.”

Luke Lang, founder of Crowdcube said

“Smarta 100 is an amazing showcase for everything that is great about British entrepreneurship. To be recognised is fantastic and it has certainly opened doors and led to new opportunities for Crowdcube”

Karen Pearson, founder of Folded Wing said

“Being picked in the O2 Smarta 100 helped Folded Wing become more widely recognised as pioneers in radio, branded content, music and online broadcasting. It particularly helped spread the word about us and what we do to people outside of the radio industry, and helped widen our client base and network of partnerships around the world, with new business coming in from China, Japan, SE Asia, USA and beyond.”

What advice would you give to anyone entering this year’s awards?

Luke Lang said

“Don’t be shy about your achievements and celebrate your successes. Smarta 100 gives you the perfect springboard to help you become the business you want to be while making a lot of friends with likeminded entrepreneurs along the way.”

Zak Edwards said

“Be yourselves. Don't try to write some corporate tosh that you 'think' will entice the judges into voting for you - they'll just see through the BS! Your story is WAY more interesting that you give yourself credit so just go for it!”

Richard Grigsby said

“Anyone entering this year's awards should try to emphasise that they have undoubtedly taken risks but based on previous knowledge - that's my advice and mantra for anyone who is fed up with working for someone else!”

Edmund Cohen said

“Do it! The entry process is straightforward and you will never win if you don't enter... Landed Houses was entered speculatively and came out a winner - you can too. Put a little time into it, press submit and cross your fingers”

Karen Pearson said

“Think long and hard about what you're going to put in your entry. What makes your company unique and innovative? Why are your services indispensable to your clients? What have you achieved so far? And why have you been so successful? Then try and explain this as clearly and concisely as possible. Be creative (and honest!) with your ideas for what you'd like to do with the prize money. We spent a long time on this section in particular, and went through several ideas before settling on our final answer. Good luck!”

We use cookies to create the most secure and effective website possible for our customers. Full details can be found here