Following on from the utter surprise of winning the regional finals in Exeter earlier this year. I was asked to attend the National finals in London – a BLACK TIE event, something I have never done!

Nominated for ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ and ‘Great British Entrepreneur of the Year’ categories was quite phenomenal. Especially surviving a field of 3,000 applications and making it to the final 8 for each category.


The night unraveled, with a 3 course dinner, great entertainment including the famous GoCompare, Mr Wynne Evans and Mr Oli Barrett as presenters. The awards proceeded, with a long nerve wrecking wait to find out who had won the two categories I was nominated in for.

Left to right: Wynne Evans, Francesca James, Oli Barrett

Great Britain Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019

The announcements were reeled off, the finalists were:


A pause… and then our name was called out… I turned to my Nan, with both of us extremely proud – a big hug and a kiss – and I made my way to the stage.


The sense of recognition was incredible, the feeling of being able to share the challenges disabled people go through when travelling to a vast audience felt amazing.

Never had I thought I would come out from the National finals being crowned Great Britain Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Especially when your coming up against such fantastic people.

Great Britain Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019

Then for the final category, all 3,000 entrepreneurs were whittled down 8 for the outright Great British Entrepreneur of the Year, the finalists were:

Celia Hodson, Hey Girls (Glasgow)
Claire Harper, Muscle Moose (Manchester)
Dave Linton, Madlug (Belfast)
David Banner & Richard Pring, Wales Interactive (Cardiff)
Guy Schanschieff, Bambino Mio (Birmingham)
Josh Wintersgill, Able Move Ltd (Exeter)
Nick Coleman, Snaffling Pig (London)
Sara Davies MBE, Crafter’s Companion (Newcastle)


Mr Evans called the names out one by one… and the winner is Celia Hodson, with Hey Girls. Hey Girls is a range of sanitary products and a campaign to end period poverty. For every purchase of its no-leak, super comfy, chlorine and bleach-free, and environmentally friendly products, Hey Girls donates a pack to a girl or young woman struggling to make ends meet.

Celia and the reasons behind why she started out this social enterprise is brilliant – you can check more of the story out here

It was a remarkable evening and I would like extend my congratulations to all who made the Regional and National finals and to Francesca, her team and all the partners who worked tirelessly to put on the regional and national finals to celebrate entrepreneurship in Great Britain!

To learn more about the awards, please see here