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Dragons’ Den’s Sarah Willingham Launches Inaugural Dot London Small Business Awards

Major London brands support Dot London in celebrating the capital’s successful small business community

Small businesses make up 98 percent of the capital’s registered businesses

 

Dot London, the capital’s unique doman name, has teamed up with the newest addition to BBC’s ‘Dragons’ Den’, entrepreneur Sarah Willingham, to launch the Dot London Small Business Awards 2015 (www.awards.london) which aim to celebrate the success of London’s thriving small business sector.

Sarah Willingham will be leading a judging panel made up of some of London’s most established brands, including health-led fast-food chain, LEON; folding bicycles pioneers, Brompton Bikes; online designer furniture retailers, Made.com; craft beer brewers, Meantime Brewery; and fashion and gift retailer, Oliver Bonas.

There will also be a representative from global tech giants Google; the capital’s official city guide, VisitLondon.com; leading charity organization, the London Community Foundation; social media experts, Be Social Global; and former BBC Apprentice finalist and CEO of grocery shopping app, Whisk.com, Nick Holzherr.

Speaking at the launch, head judge of the Dot London Small Business Awards, Sarah Willingham, said:  “London is a city full of opportunities for entrepreneurs keen to try their hand at starting and running their own businesses. The city is buzzing with new ideas and investors who want to support the next big thing, so the Dot London Small Business Awards are a great opportunity for us to pay homage to the capital’s successful business start-ups.”

The Dot London Small Business Awards is open for entries today, to mark Dot London’s first anniversary, and will include 13 categories spanning the diverse industries that make up London’s business infrastructure, including hospitality, retail, creative services, social enterprises and start-ups. From ‘Best Place to Eat’ to ‘Young Entrepreneur of 2015’, the awards will acknowledge the success of London’s small businesses and highlight their contribution to the capital’s reputation as a global destination for tourism, entertainment and commerce.

According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), London has the highest concentration of small businesses in the UK, with one-in-six of the total number of small businesses registered in 2014* being based in the capital. With over 392,000 small businesses in London in 2014, 28,000 more than the previous year, the sector is growing at a higher rate than medium and large enterprises, making up a staggering 98 percent of all companies registered in the capital.

The Dot London Small Business Awards are free to enter for any London-based business, organisation or individual with 1–50 employees that has actively traded sometime between April 2014 and September 2015 and has a registered address in one of London’s 32 boroughs.

The shortlist will be announced in November, when the awards will be opened for a public vote, which will run until the end of December. The awards ceremony will take place in central London in January 2016. Award winners will receive a cash prize and a free Dot London domain name for a year, subject to availability, as well as one-to-one mentorship on how to improve their online business presence from Dot London’s registrar partners, 123-Reg, GoDaddy, Heart Internet and UK2.

Announcing the new initiative, Dan Hill, Head of Dot London, said: “We have had a fantastic response to the Dot London domains since our launch last year, with more than 69,000 website addresses registered to date. We launched Dot London to help strengthen peoples’ association with the capital and promote businesses and individuals to a global audience. The Dot London Small Business Awards will celebrate the highly innovative and exciting commercial ventures that operate in our capital.”

Since its launch, the Dot London suffix has become essential for some of London’s leading icons and businesses, including visitor attractions, ZSL London Zoo and Museum of London; the newest edition to the city’s skyline, Sky Garden; and globally renowned creative agency, Publicis. A number of the capital’s new small businesses have also chosen to launch using Dot London web addresses, such as virtual personal assistant and business concierge, Fyxer; Camden-based gin distillery and brand, Half Hitch; and luxury food delivery service, Supper.

For more information about the Dot London Small Business Awards visit Awards.London

 

*The sources are the 2013 & 2014 ONS paper “UK Business: Activity, Size and Location