Gumtree UK, the online classifieds platform, has today revealed the winners of its Small Business Blast Off Competition, launched earlier this year to celebrate the many entrepreneurs and SME owners that transformed their businesses in order to survive the restrictions of lockdown and the impact of the pandemic throughout 2020 and into 2021.
The overall winning business was named as Flora Fauna Folk, founded in Derbyshire by Maddie Raithby after she was made redundant during the first lockdown in 2020. Maddie has launched a permaculture and garden design business, however during lockdown she also created a range of materials to allow people to better enjoy the earth and create an alternative revenue stream while she was unable to work, additionally she started a network to support other creatives and local communities. The judges were impressed by Maddie’s inspirational business, as well as her ambition and commitment to a sustainable future that helps communities.
The winners of the runners-up prizes were Mirka Bridal Couture (Kirkcaldy, Scotland) and Messy Nessy Playcentre Ltd (Thurso, Scotland).
Maja and Mirka, of Mirka Bridal Couture, galvanised their community to make scrubs during the national PPE shortage of the first pandemic creating a social media group called ‘NHS Scotland – For The Love of Scrubs’, where over 400 volunteers came together to create over 15,000 sets of scrubs which were sent out to hospitals all over Scotland.
While Fiona and Ian (Messy Nessy Playcentre Ltd.) used their expertise with running an activity centre to help bring together their local community in rural Scotland, creating interactive events for the whole village, fundraising to provide craft kits for older and vulnerable residents who were experiencing loneliness and finding ways to create outdoor events to allow their business to continue to operate – despite the poor weather conditions!
Hannah Rouch, chief marketing officer, Gumtree UK, commented: “We want to send a heartfelt congratulations to all of our winners on this achievement. The response we received from small businesses was absolutely incredible, and we were humbled by the stories we heard. We received entries from people who hustled to open up new revenue streams, found ways to work more closely in their community and who dedicated their time to supporting others. This competition really demonstrated why small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy and why it is so important that they are supported to make the most of the opportunities now that restrictions have eased around the UK.”
Nicholas Illidge, head of partnerships at Tide, said: “Considering the hardship small businesses have faced over the course of the pandemic, the tenacity we have witnessed and the sense of community has been heartening and a cause for hope as we emerge from the crisis. We are delighted that the winners of the Small Business Blast-off competition have been such strong supporters of their local communities and they couldn’t deserve the boost they will get from this competition more. We are proud to have supported Small Business Blast-off and can’t wait to see what the winning businesses do next.”
Sachin Dev Duggal, co-founder and CEO at Builder.ai, commented: “As the UK steps up its Build Back Better initiative and businesses open up after months of lockdown, grassroots digital transformation is key to building back the British Economy so we were excited about this partnership with Gumtree.” said Sachin Dev Duggal. “The competition launched to give small businesses a boost and we’re happy to do our part with free apps from Builder.ai Studio Store – the virtual shop-in-a-box solution that gets to the heart of the problem and helps small businesses digitally transform at a fraction of market time & cost. We want the British business community to know they’re not alone; we’re in this together and we’re committed to helping them rebuild and thrive”
Allie Lawson, head of SMB Brand & Marcomms at Virgin Media O2, said: “It was great to see such a strong field of entries in the Small Business Blast Off Competition. SMEs across the UK have had a tough last 18 months, but we are seeing many bounce back and this is a great way to support that journey. O2 Business is committed to working with our SME customers to provide the best flexible tariffs and tools, as well as rolling over unused data every month, and I’d like to congratulate Flora Fauna Folk, Mirka Bridal Couture and Messy Nessy Playcentre Ltd who were thoroughly deserving of their recognition.”
Commenting, Umberto Zola, country growth lead UK at SumUp, said: “Launching this competition was a way for us to celebrate the innovative streak that underpins the UK economy. Entrepreneurs, SMEs and sole traders are the lifeblood of the country and the UK remains a nation of shopkeepers. As the nation looks to rebuild post-lockdowns, it will be this pool of businesses that drive the nation forward. We at SumUp are only too happy to play our part with our affordable, easy range of payment methods. Through our partnership with Gumtree, and our wider work, SumUp is firmly on the side of the entrepreneurs and the strivers.”
The competition, created and run by Gumtree, launched in partnership with Tide and supported by O2 Business, Builder.ai and SumUp, featured a grand prize of £10K cash, a free Tide Cashback upgrade for three months, a free SumUp Air card reader, a free Builder.ai app and 12 months’ free data, calls and texts on any handset from O2 Business, plus an advertising package on Gumtree (worth £3k). Gumtree is also awarding 2 runners up prizes (with partner packages as above), plus a further 10 businesses received a Gumtree Blast-Off package & Tide, O2 Business & SumUp Partners Blast-Off packages (excl. Builder.ai).
The full list of winners:
● Flora Fauna Folk, Ilkeston – overall winner
● Mirka Bridal Couture, Kirkcaldy – runner-up
● Messy Nessy Playcentre Ltd, Thurso – runner-up
● Lebourn Transport Services Ltd, Eastleigh
● Long Hazel Park, Yeovil
● WendyGoesGreen, Stonehouse
● Pamper Box Company, Stirling
● Big Safety Limited (trading as Big Boots UK), London
● Intrepid Scotland, Aberfoyle (Stirling)
● Rent Equipment Now Ltd, London
● Tiny Salon, Winchester
● Proud Cleaning, London
● Cambusbarron Village Nursery, Stirling
Find out more about all the Gumtree winners here: https://www.gumtree.com/info/life/small-business-blast-off/