In brief

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards (GBEA), was launched in 2012 to celebrate the stories of entrepreneurs behind British businesses.

Over time, GBEA has evolved from just an awards programme, into a vibrant community supporting the growth of members businesses throughout their development life-cycle. Their alumni include Brewdog, Cambridge Satchel Company, LadBible, Bulb, Naked Wines and Social Chain.

The impact of Covid-19 has been keenly felt by events and award organisers and Francesca realised the need to pivot very quickly. She wanted the GBEA community to stay connected and feel supported during this challenging time.

The 'Great British Entrepreneurs Forum' group on Guild is made up of around 150 entrepreneurs, from a range of industries. They discuss funding, product-market fit and much more.

We spoke to Francesca James, CEO of The Great British Entrepreneur Awards, to find out how Guild has helped to strengthen the GBEA community.

The opportunity

Francesca talks about why the pandemic pushed her to look for solutions like Guild:

"To survive in unprecedented economic conditions as an organisation you need to be able to pivot.

We’ve had to cancel our in-person awards this year and it filled me with great sadness to have to make this decision. But, like any business, we’ve had to find new ways to engage with our audience and a community platform like Guild felt like an obvious solution.

I was part of the CREO group on Guild and witnessed first-hand the camaraderie and openness within the group, which was different to any other community I've been a part of.

I wanted to re-create the same environment for our entrepreneurs.

Ultimately we wanted a platform that would strengthen the relationships within our community and carry us and them through this period of uncertainty."

How has Guild supported your entrepreneurial community?

Francesca shares how the community are on engaging on Guild so far:

"Our events are the heart and soul of GBEA.

It’s an opportunity for our entrepreneurs to meet, share stories, catch up and celebrate success and growth. Everybody that attends a GBEA event feels energised to do better business, we wanted to find a platform that would capture this energy.

Guild has provided the perfect environment for our entrepreneurs to have conversations and develop deeper relationships with each other.

As well as being an event of celebration GBEA is about supporting each other, whilst we truly believe in face to face meetings, Guild has provided a safe environment for our entrepreneurs to support each other."

Francesca told us about what is discussed in the group, and how some members have gone on to set up their own groups on Guild:

"It’s very engaging and we’ve had a lot of great conversations, such as opportunities for grant funding, product market fit workshops, equity fundraising, it’s just a great resource for our community.

It’s pretty much self-fulfilling, I don’t have to do a lot of work, the community pretty much leads the discussions. Some of our members have even decided to start communities of their own on Guild, which is just credit to the platform really."

Great British Entrepreneurs community on Guild

At a time where British and global businesses need connections, collaboration and support more than ever, we're delighted that Guild is helping these entrepreneurs network and navigate tough times together


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