Press Release | 22 Mar 2022

Great British Entrepreneur Awards and Vodafone launch SME support taskforce

The taskforce will support small businesses with discussions and advice on how to grow and thrive in challenging times.

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards (GBEA) and Vodafone have teamed up to launch a new taskforce to help UK SMEs tackle the challenges and barriers they’re facing in 2022 and beyond.

‘Disruptive Minds’ is a fully-funded initiative bringing together leading entrepreneurs and business leaders to provide invaluable insight into their experiences. Through interactive online sessions and Q&As, the taskforce will support small businesses with discussions and advice on how to grow and thrive in challenging times.

The taskforce combines Vodafone’s digital and technical expertise with the Great British Entrepreneur Awards’ community of business leaders to guide SMEs through a range of advice and idea-driven content across social media, Vodafone’s V-Hub SME support website and Fresh Business Thinking.

Representing a broad spectrum of businesses and industries, Disruptive Minds will feed the small business community with fresh insights based on expert understanding and experience, helping to drive SME growth in the UK.

Twenty-one entrepreneurs from a range of sectors have joined the taskforce to lead conversations around learning in business, including Jo-Anne Chidley of Beauty Kitchen, Christopher Kenna of Brand Advance, and Nohman Ahmed, the co-founder of footwear care brand Crep Protect.

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Nohman said: “The ethos of combining the functionality of digital tools with an open mindset of learning has been vital for Crep Protect. This ‘always forward’ attitude has allowed us not only to create products but recreate and dominate a whole category through versatility and being able to drive innovation with the least effort.

“We have always been proud of being a British business and flying our flag in global markets and, being a judge with the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, it’s great to be involved in Disruptive Minds to provide value to other British businesses.”

Launching Disruptive Minds, Andrew Stevens, Head of UK Small and Medium Business at Vodafone, said: “We are delighted to be launching such an exciting new initiative with the GBEA, bringing together some of the most dynamic and forward-thinking entrepreneurs and business leaders in the UK today.

“In order to maximise business opportunities and foster growth, it’s vital that SMEs have access to the right tools and guidance. With Disruptive Minds, thought leaders will be providing insights, expertise and guidance to inspire and encourage the next wave of budding entrepreneurs.”

Francesca James, founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said: “I am delighted to be launching Disruptive Minds with Vodafone. Many lessons have been learnt over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, from adopting more digital and remote work systems to streamlining business operations. However, now the focus needs to shift from enabling businesses affected by the pandemic to survive, to helping them thrive.

“We have brought together a group of entrepreneurs who not only understand the importance of learning and shared wisdom, but can drive the conversation to support other businesses.”

The first Disruptive Minds session will take place online through LinkedIn on Thursday 31 March and will focus on 2022 priorities – how can SMEs ensure they stay afloat?

For further information on the Disruptive Minds taskforce and its members, visit the Great British Entrepreneur Awards website.

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Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

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