Posted: Fri 8th Dec 2023
Enterprise Nation and digital design and marketing services firm VistaPrint have chosen 20 small businesses to share in a £150,000 grant from their joint programme Realising the Remarkable.
As well as an equal share of the grant money, the winners will each receive 12 months of free subscriptions to Vista's graphic design software VistaCreate Pro, £500 to spend on marketing materials at the VistaPrint UK website, and access to the 99designs by Vista silver logo and brand guide package.
The winning businesses
All 20 winners of the Realising the Remarkable grant programme have now been notified. Here's the full list:
Caitlin Rozario and Will Webster: Interlude
Natasha Birk: Laguna Lashes
Simon Watts: Yes You Can Fitness
Alice Keverne: Nature Nurture Kids
Hannah Hardman: The Herde
Franchine Young: Franchine Young Ireland
Kathryn McNally and Katie Walker: UnderSky
Toni Borella: Green Up Farm
Tiffany Chiu: JulieMay Lingerie
Jonathan Cottom: Breakbottle
Stuart Hope: Cookieman
Andrew McGuire: Chala Chai
Emily Horton: More Diverse Voices
Isaac Greenway-Tambini: Pola Poles
Jacob Strauss: Gumbo Limited
Michael J Diamond: WEIGHT.Films
Michael Crinnion: Luma3
Caitrin Kincaid: Cube Fun
Robin Rendall: Pongoose
Annabelle Heatley: Fleur and Rebelle
Grant winner Alice Keverne, founder of Nature Nurture Kids, from Chippenham in Wiltshire, said:
"On hearing I won the grant, I felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude as well as reassurance and verification that I'm doing the right thing for me and my business.
"The grant has re-awoken my drive, passion and motivation to grow and develop the brand. It has also given me the opportunity to actively invest in, promote and organise community events and workshops."
Chorley-based entrepreneur and grant winner Natasha Birk, founder of Laguna Lashes, added:
"When I received the email and found out I'd won the competition, I couldn't quite believe it. I thought about all of the amazing creative activities I could now carry out with the grant which I have wanted to execute for so long.
"The grant and Vista's branding expertise will allow us to communicate our brand consistently and increase brand awareness for our relaunch."
Franchine Young, founder of Franchine Young Ireland, from Clareglen in Belfast, commented:
"The past few years have been financially difficult for the business as a post-COVID world came to terms with the economic crisis. Reaching a wider audience is key now to the survival of the business – but the budget was simply not there to ensure this could happen.
"Winning this competition has been a lifeline for the business – an opportunity to inject funding into marketing and attending bigger events where the business can directly reach customers and retailers. It feels like there is a guardian angel in the universe making sure that the business survives and thrives!"
In this video, Toni Borella, founder of Green Up Farm, an indoor hydroponic vertical farm based in Pembrokeshire, shares the story of her remarkable business journey:
Helping inspiring businesses to realise their potential
Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation founder, said:
"This beautifully creative grant programme is supporting an inspiring cohort of brilliant start-ups and small businesses to grow and realise their remarkable potential.
"Grants and relevant support like this from VistaPrint have become a lifeline to the UK's entrepreneurial community at a critical moment. It's wonderful to see so many ambitious small business owners responding to the opportunity and building the brands of the future. We can't wait to see how this financial boost and trusted guidance will help them to bloom and grow."
Antoine Thieser, brand strategy director at VistaPrint, added:
"The aim of this grant was to realise the remarkable, and reward the brilliant small businesses that have faced down tough economic circumstances yet remained positive and become key pillars of the community.
"Hearing first-hand from the winners about their reactions, how they will use the cash injection, and how Vista's marketing tools will aid them, makes us confident that they are on the path to build solid brands. We will continue to celebrate this remarkable community and support them where we can."
Watch this video to hear from Jacob Strauss, founder of Gumbo, an online AI-powered recipe tool for home cooks who want to save money and reduce food waste:
The judging process
After receiving more than 6,000 entries, a judging panel of Emma Jones, Antoine Thieser, Rebecca Hunter (99designs by Vista marketing director) and Laura Burton (business and mindset coach and Enterprise Nation adviser) selected the top 20 entries based on four main criteria:
What the business does
How the grant will ease the cost-of-living crisis and help grow the business
How the business would invest the grant in marketing and design
How winning the grant would have a positive impact on the local community
In their application, small business owners had to demonstrate a clear plan for growth, concrete examples of how the grant would help improve their business, and how the support package would support their growth through expert marketing and branding aids.
According to data VistaPrint collected between December 2022 and January 2023, four in five (83%) UK SMEs are struggling to plan beyond 2023. And while just over a third (34%) are confident that they'll hit targets, a larger proportion (40%) aren't sure and 11% suspect they won't.
The grant programme, which launched in January 2023, aims to aid resilient entrepreneurs who seek to grow and thrive despite the difficult economic circumstances and uncertainty they face.