Regional UK StartUp Award winners announced

Last year we had the pleasure of sponsoring the local Uppingham Business Awards. So, when I was asked to be a judge for the regional UK StartUp Awards earlier this year, I was more than happy to oblige.

I love supporting other driven individuals and I know just how hard it is to build a business and a brand from scratch. Trust me, it’s no mean feat!

About the awards

The UK StartUp Awards were created to celebrate the best and brightest start-ups from across the United Kingdom. Entrepreneurs are first entered into the regional awards and winners of these awards are then entered into the national awards, with the chance to be crowned the UK StartUp of the Year!

The awards recognise individuals based on their ideas and growth, along with the challenges they face, including, the risks they’ve taken to launch a new product or service.

According to UKStarUp Awards, “Nearly 70,000 new firms were created in the East of England in 2023 and according to Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, creator of the awards, this demonstrates the growing importance of entrepreneurs to the regional economy.”

The sectors I was asked to judge

I was asked to judge four categories:

  • Marketing, Advertising & PR StartUp
  • Creative StartUp
  • Retail & E-Commerce StartUp
  • Graduate StartUp

Here are the finalists for each category:

Marketing, Advertising & PR StartUp

Alt Marketing School – Teaches marketing skills through live cohorts and courses. They provide live and on-demand training, digital products and marketing certification.

Anyone who knows me knows this is something I am all for! I’ve been part of several cohorts, training students in digital skills through ClickStart London.

Clue Content – This business is revolutionising digital marketing by producing three months of high-quality social media content in just three days! Super speedy without compromising on the quality. In this fast-paced world, this is so valuable!

Signature Copywriting – A conversion rate optimisation, on-page SEO and awards copywriter, who is helping their customers reach more customers, generate more enquiries and secure more sales.

Creative StartUp

Kidslingo – This business delivers award-winning and fun French and Spanish classes to children aged 0-11 years. Through songs, stories, games and much more they are inspiring the next generation of linguists.

I’m all for learning languages and wish I’d kept at it. It’s only been in the last year I’ve picked up Spanish, so this is well worth it.

Sakura Studio Gallery – This company supports budding artists and creators. They host a variety of small artists and creators from across East Anglia and beyond, running artists’ spotlights, promotions and online sales.

We love supporting creative organisations like this. Last year we had the pleasure of working with Chris Abrams, a local artist, who managed to secure a grant for our services. He was a pleasure to work with. We’ve also worked with Hogarth Productions to support a digital art installation.

Warehouse Collective – This multi-use creative space was specifically created to support other businesses – a small business supporting other small businesses… Hell yes!  

Retail & E-Commerce StartUp

Biodenta Limited – These natural toothpastes are environmentally friendly, vegan-friendly, and free from SLS, Parabens and PEGs. Again, this is something we all care about here at Quibble. We love brands that are trying to encourage better ways of consuming goods that are less harmful to the planet.

ChewyChewsUK – This handmade treat business for small animals is looking out for the little guys for once! Every member of the Quibble team has pets and loves animals, so a business that looks after rabbits’ and guinea pigs’ health gets our vote!

DeRoiste Natural Beauty Ltd – An inclusive skincare brand which offers four products in their radiance range. All products are plant-based and suitable for all skin tones. This business is also one to watch! She has built this brand based on her experiences, the products are natural and inclusive, which can be hard to find.

Graduate StartUp

BugBiome – This pioneering business in the field of microbial-based insect repellents, combines microbiology, bioinformatics, and insect aims to revolutionise pest control bringing microbial alternatives to market instead of chemicals.

With so much experience in the agricultural industry, we know how important products like this can be – There is definitely a demand!

IONA Logistics Ltd – This business is developing hyper-efficient autonomous delivery networks combining drones and robotics for shipping companies losing hundreds of millions each year due to empty cargo bays, scattered delivery points, and driver shortages.

Neuro XR – This business is developing an AI and neuroscience-based heat map platform that helps developers of physical and virtual spaces and products better understand their users and form more sustainable relationships through real-time, accurate and visual feedback analytics. This is the future!

The judging process

I was asked to consider several elements, including what inspired them to start their business, their ambitions for growth, what makes them special and what challenges they’d overcome and were facing. I was also asked to give a discretionary mark for the overall business.

It was a fairly simple process, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. These businesses had been working hard to establish themselves and all had a right to be recognised.

Judging began in early April, and the results were announced at the start of May.

So, who were the regional winners for the East of England?

The winners

Marketing, Advertising & PR StartUp of the Year – Clue Content

Creative StartUp of the Year – Sakura Studio Gallery

Retail & E-Commerce StartUp of the Year – ChewyChewsUK

Graduate StartUp of the Year – IONA Logistics

What’s next?

Having been recognised as being the best in their sector, the winners now progress to the national UK Startup Awards final where they will be competing against category winners from the rest of the UK. This gives them the chance to be crowned the best in their sector nationally, along with UK StartUp of the Year.

The UK final will take place on September 12th at Ideas Fest.

Find out more here >