Which other entrepreneurs inspired small business owners in 2017? We asked some, including a selection of Enterprise Nation members, and here's what they told us.

Discover new business heroes at StartUp 2018, the biggest start-up show of the New Year on 13 January in London. More than 100 speakers across 10 inspiring stages!

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"It's clearly Enterprise Nation for us. It's such a great network and the events are really worthwhile for growing businesses like ours. We joined Enterprise Nation during the later part of the year but have already found the subscription outstanding. Highly recommended! [thanks Shabin!]

Shabin Azeez, CakesAround.com and Enterprise Nation member

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"Peter Jones from Dragons' Den. An intelligent and credible businessman."

Peter Lawrence, Human Capital Department and Enterprise Nation member

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"My mum. She told me to always be nice to my customers and not to get myself in a muddle and have her legacy to remember when running my business."

Angella Williams, Angella's Kitchen and Enterprise Nation member

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"Me because I was bold and completely rebranded my business to take it in a new direction. It's looking like this year will be the most successful yet! Thankyou everyone for your support."

Hollie Whittles, Fraggleworks and Enterprise Nation member

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"My awesome mentor, Helen Vandenberghe, for pushing me out of my comfort zone. I got the results and much more!"

Amanda Ruiz, Amanda Ruiz PR and Enterprise Nation member

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"Janet Murray for building an engaged, inspiring community of other small business owners in her PR community."

Rhiannon Abbott, The Epsom Bakehouse and Enterprise Nation member

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"The amazing Alison Edgar, aka The Entrepreneur's Godmother. Alison introduced me to Enterprise Nation and because of my membership, I got to be featured as a social media expert on LBC radio, to meet with the policy advisor to the prime minister at 10 Downing Street, to be an advisor at the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs in Bristol, to host my first webinar; the list is endless.

"Alison's sales training and coaching is invaluable for any start-up. Alison is talking the talk but also walking the walk and her accolades are mounting up!"

Jennifer Corcoran, My Super Connector and Enterprise Nation member

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"Victoria Molyneux of Want That Trend. She is incredibly humble and inspiring and has a massively successful business."

Chloe Mabey, Maybe Baby and Enterprise Nation member

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"My business hero is @flowergirl_lon. Sam is a care leaver with MS and a successful business owner managing a floristry business in Norbury, south London. Many of us would buckle with the challenges Sam faces, but she is a force of nature.

"Not only does she run her own business, she has found time this Christmas to raise funds for the Grenfell Tower survivors, fundraising for gifts and even getting Stormzy to video message a young boy who survived the tragic events. This is a true giver, an inspiration, and leader for us all."

Lorraine Bridges, Bare PR

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"My business heroes for 2017 are still the individuals who inspired me to start my own business in the first place; tech giants like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Evan Spiegel.

"I am in awe of the success they have had to date, and what they have achieved at relatively young ages. This is highly motivating for me. I admire them because they’ve made their dreams a reality, and have not let knockbacks or negative feedback stand in their way of success."

Jenk Oz, 12-year-old CEO of iCoolKid 

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"My business hero of 2017 has to be Jeff Bezos, and it's not just about his status as world's newest and only $100 billionaire. Amazon has been built in an incredible way.

"The leviathan firm has diversified past its shopping service and has taken the spirit of innovation to revolutionize age-old constructs of supply and demand. AWS was a stroke of genius and has all of us now renting space and paying his bills. Incredible."

Sebastian Lewis, Mettrr Technologies

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"The late Dame Helen Alexander who sadly died in August 2017. She was the first female president of the CBI and former chief executive of the Economist Group. She was inspirational not just for her business achievements but the humanity, warmth, and deftness of touch in her leadership style. She was also a consistent supporter of diversity and the economic as well as social value this brings. She made the world a better place."

Caroline Plumb, Fluidly

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"Mark Allan, CEO of South Kilburn Trust. He;s an incredibly engaging chap, who's running an ambitious social enterprise in Kilburn. Mark's opened my eyes to social enterprises and that it's ok to get excited about both the business of business, as well as making a positive impact on society. Bravo Mark!"

James Poyser, inniAccounts

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"My business hero of the year has got to be Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. I discovered his Masters of Scale podcast a few months ago and I’m hooked! Reid has a great story and has been inspirational to me at a time when I am looking to create multiple spin-off tech businesses. I highly recommend the podcast."

Nick Thompson, DCSL Software

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"As a content marketer, I'd have to say Gary Vaynerchuck. He is absolutely smashing it right now, and has really cracked the code when it comes to understanding that different consumers seek different content via different platforms. But what I really admire is his belief in authenticity, and producing genuine content that provides value to consumers."

Martyn Hannah, Ghostfoundry

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"It has to be Bill Gates for his donation of £3.6bn this year to the foundation he and his wife set up improve global healthcare and reduce extreme poverty. The man has now donated $27bn to charity and just keeps on doing it. What an inspiration!

Mike Smith, Business Expert

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"My business heroes are all of the social entrepreneurs working to improve the world and disrupt their industries!"

Cemal Ezel, Change Please

Discover new business heroes at StartUp 2018, the biggest start-up show of the New Year on 13 January in London. More than 100 speakers across 10 inspiring stages!

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