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Simply Business has launched its annual £25,000 Business Boost grant competition

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Sara Jordan - Founder of Oxford-based Y.O.U underwear
Sara Jordan – Founder of Oxford-based Y.O.U underwear – winner of the Business Boost grant competition in 2022

Simply Business, one of the UK’s largest providers of small business insurance, has launched its annual Business Boost grant competition, which will award a £25,000 cash prize to the winner.

The grant is designed to give UK small businesses a significant helping hand in the face of wider economic challenges – including the cost of living rising at an alarming rate, energy bill increases, inflation and supply challenges. 

The recent SME Insights Report from Simply Business showed the impact the cost-of-living crisis continues to have on UK SMEs, alongside the wider effects of the current economic climate. More than a quarter (26%) of small business owners in the UK believe that they will be forced to cease trading if the outlook for their business does not improve – a potentially detrimental blow to the UK economy. 

It comes as SME owners say they are owed £32.1bn in late payments; a staggering 1.5 million small business owners (25%) say they will be forced to use personal savings to prop up their business. Over a quarter (26%) of SMEs are already spending up to 40% more on energy each month compared to the previous year, with some reporting an astonishing 150% increase in their monthly energy expenses. 

A panel of expert judges from the world of business, including Simply Business’s newly appointed Small Business Ambassador Baroness Karren Brady, the founder and CEO of SliderCuts, Mark Maciver and the winner of BBC’s The Apprentice 2022 and co-founder of Oh So Yum, Harpreet Kaur joins the panel again this year among others who will decide on the final winner of the grant. 

The grant is the fourth iteration from Simply Business. Last year, the £25,000 grant was given to Sarah Jordan, the Founder and CEO of Oxford-based sustainable underwear business Y.O.U Underwear. Sarah will also be part of this year’s judging panel. 

Entries for Business Boost grant competition are open from 15 August and will close on 11 October, with the winner announced on 07 December.

Sarah Jordan, the Founder and CEO of Y.O.U Underwear, said: “I really can’t overstate what an impact winning the Business Boost competition had for us. Not only has it enabled the company to implement our long-held dream of a fully circular fibre-to-fibre recycling programme, helping to keep tonnes of underwear and clothing out of landfill, but it was a huge boost to every element of our business – most notably the confidence it has given knowing that we’ve managed to impress such a prestigious judging panel.”

Watch Sarah Jordan, founder of Oxford-based Y.O.U Underwear, reveal how business has gone from strength to strength since winning the 2022 Business Boost grant.

Small Business Ambassador Baroness Brady CBE said: “I’m delighted to be a part of the Business Boost panel and to support the competition this year. As someone who has run their own business for several years, I have great empathy for the challenges small business owners endure with securing investment and funding. 

“The past three years have been incredibly difficult on small businesses for a multitude of reasons, most namely withstanding the pressures of post-pandemic recovery, cost-of-living crisis and general economic uncertainty. 

“This is such an important initiative which I’m thrilled to be involved in, giving a fellow entrepreneur the much-needed boost, and continuing to raise awareness of the struggles small businesses have been facing of late.”

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: “Small businesses are built on big dreams, and we know that finance can play a huge part in starting or growing a successful small business. Now at the two-week mark of the competition, we’ve seen over 3,000 entries, proving that the self-employed are in desperate need of support. 

“Applications are open until 11 October and all entries are considered equally no matter the stage they are submitted before the deadline. Small businesses play a vital role in our communities and contribute enormously to our economy. 

“So it only felt right to run the 4th iteration of our Business Boost grant to help make a genuinely transformational impact on one small business owner’s life.”

“The fact we had over 75,000 applications in the past 3 years shows how important it is to empower the nation’s entrepreneurs as they look to navigate a tricky economic climate alongside the day-to-day challenges of being a small business owner.

“Small businesses play a vital role in our communities and contribute enormously to our economy. It only felt right to return with our Business Boost grant for a fourth year, having witnessed its positive impact on three deserving small businesses in previous years.”

You can learn more about and enter the Simply Business Business Boost grant here: www.simplybusiness.co.uk/business-boost

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