Judges Unanimous as Small Business Commissioner joins National Enterprise Network Awards Panel

NEN members and organisations from across England’s enterprise sector gathered on 26th November for the enterprise support event of the year, in which six winners were announced and a further five organisations were highly commended.

Small Business Commissioner Liz Barclay has congratulated enterprise support organisations on their achievements at the National Enterprise Network Awards ceremony.

Ms Barclay is the first woman to hold the Office of Small Business Commissioner and an outspoken advocate of micro enterprises and small businesses. In addition to judging the awards, Ms Barclay addressed the NEN Annual Conference which preceded the awards ceremony. She took to Twitter on Monday 29th November, saying;

“Congratulations to everyone who won at the NatEntNet Awards on Friday. It was a great afternoon, the winners well deserving and the rest of the shortlisted businesses can be very proud of getting so close.

Judging was a nightmare given how many great businesses were in the running, and it was an honour to be asked to be on the panel. Good luck to all for the coming year.”

Despite the difficulty in narrowing down the fifteen-strong shortlist to the final six, the panel were unanimous in their selection of the winners.

The NEN Awards were established in 2007 to recognise excellence and impact in the enterprise support sector as part of our commitment to organisations who inspire and encourage small businesses in England.

Fellow judges this year were Matt Smith, Director of Policy and Research at the Global Entrepreneurship Network and Alex Till, CEO of Menta Business and Chairman of the National Enterprise Network.

The 2021 conference entitled ‘Future-proofing the enterprise ecosystem’ was hosted virtually, in association with Barclays Eagle Labs, on the last Friday in November. Broadcast media expert Nicholas Pandolfi acted as compare, with a welcome address and heartfelt message of thanks from the network’s Chairman, Alex Till.

Following Liz Barclay’s keynote, which was streamed live on You Tube, a further six guest speakers took the spotlight, including academics from two leading UK business schools specialising in entrepreneurship research and education.

Speaking to the conference from the Eagle Lab in Cambridge, Mr Till made these remarks as he officially closed the 2021 conference;

“…to all of our speakers today, for the energy, the passion and the engagement – all of the things that you’re so readily involved with across the whole if the country – many many thanks. Most of all, thanks to the [NEN] members and to their members of staff… The self employment agenda is something that we all believe in and we’re all working very hard at driving that forward at the moment. With the support of people like Liz Barclay and [our other guest speakers] it’s actually getting noticed and getting heard.”

The 2021 Winners

Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year

(for organisations with a turnover > £750,000)

Awarded to Let’s Do Business Group

Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year

(for organisations with a turnover < £750,000)

Awarded to Birmingham Enterprise Community

Innovation in Education Award

Awarded to Enterprise Exchange

Enterprise Champion of the Year Award

Awarded to Aisha Elliott from Somerset Business Agency

Sustainability in Enterprise Award

Awarded to Project North East

Social Impact in Enterprise Award

Awarded to RIFT Social Enterprise

Highly Commended

Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year (for organisations with a turnover < £750,000): RIFT Social Enterprise

Innovation in Education Award: The Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship

Enterprise Champion of the Year Award: Geoff Ranson from StartUp Croydon

Social Impact in Enterprise Award: John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank and Be Inspired Today Ltd


Read this story on NEN News including comments from the judges on each of the winners:


See the full 2021 NEN Awards shortlist:


Look back at the 2021 Conference Programme:


Notes to Editors

Contact: Amy Knight: Amy.knight@nationalenterprisenetwork.org. 07547400721

National Enterprise Network’s Mission is to represent, unite and support all organisations who are passionate about inspiring and encouraging enterprise.

The National Enterprise Network unites the enterprise support sector in England, bringing together Chambers of Commerce, Local Authorities and Enterprise Agencies, including Start Up lenders, specialist training providers and business incubators.

Our members offer a suite of services to support self-employed SME owner-founders, providing independent business advice, training courses and mentoring. Many NEN members also offer flexible workspace, cultivating the ideal environment to launch and grow a business amongst a community of innovators and entrepreneurs.

NEN membership affords enterprise support organisations with unparalleled networking, industry-leading insights and cutting-edge delivery resources. We represent our members with key stakeholders in the public and private sector, including banks, universities and UK Government. Membership includes a selection of exclusive discounts and benefits, plus unique opportunities to collaborate on pan-European contracts with international reach and impact.

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About National Enterprise Network

National Enterprise Network’s Mission is to represent, unite and support all organisations who are passionate about inspiring and encouraging enterprise. We support our membership by: Representing their interests to government and others in the public and private sector, showcasing a unique national network of credible, quality assured enterprise support organisations. Promoting the successes they achieve and demonstrating the value they add to local communities and the wider economy. Connecting them to people and projects inside and outside the Network, to share valuable knowledge, skills and opportunities for even greater success.

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