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Introducing the first of our UK judging panel for 2020

The FSB celebrating small Business Awards recognise the best small businesses and the self-employed from across the UK, from every sector and industry, and including people of all ages. Companies from sole traders to those with 250 employees, as of 1 August 2019, are eligible to enter.

In some regions, you still have a chance to enter your firm into the competition and highlight the brilliant achievements that you want everyone to know about.

The awards are the leading celebration of small businesses, shining a light on some of the best, most innovative and most determined small businesses. Could you be a regional or national category winner, or even our overall winner?

The FSB Awards are judged by some of the highest achievers in the UK SME sector, and the judging line-up for 2020 has now been announced. Here are the business stories of our FSB UK Awards judges.

Judge 1

Julianne Ponan – Founder and Chief Executive Creative Nature

Vegan-friendly health foods retailer Creative Nature, was chosen as the overall winner of the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards for 2018. Julianne said that the whole experience really helped her business, and she enjoyed getting to compete against her contemporaries on both a regional and national level.

Julianne then went on to win Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the South East area of our 2019 awards. 

Creative Nature, which is based in West Molesey, Surrey, was started in 2011 because Ms Ponan wanted to be able to eat nut-free healthy snacks that were free from additives. She realised that it would be better to create her own, and so she developed her own range, and then bought an existing struggling homeware and superfoods company with the aim of turning it into something successful.

Together with her fiance Matthew Ford, she spent three years transforming the brand and introducing new products, starting with no experience in running a business, no contacts and no funds. Despite these obstacles, including a risky decision to turn its back on funding from the Dragon’s Den and go it alone, Creative Nature has continued to succeed in growing its business.

Julianne is delighted to join our judging panel for 2020.

“I would definitely recommend other businesses enter in 2020 as it gives your business so much credibility being a national award and even if you don’t win it’s such a great networking opportunity,” she said.

Judge 2

David Perry – Managing Director FSB Insurance Service

David Perry has had a long and varied career working for Insurers, in national roles at insurance brokers and, setting up his own successful broking and consulting businesses. His recent specialisms have included business development, mergers and acquisitions. 

He has been a member of FSB since 1993 and established the current FSB Insurance Service (which is part owned by FSB) in 2018. 

David has been a director of the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) and he currently sits on their Insurance Brokers Standards Committee. In his spare time he is a Trustee of the Courtyard Theatre and a Crystal Palace FC season ticket holder which he says has always helped him deal with life’s disappointments!

A senior leader, adding real bottom line value through commercial development, operational management and a wealth of business experience. Mr Perry brings key skills and experience to the judging panel including sales and affinity management and development; company acquisition and business start-up and, as a Chartered Manager, experience in business development and improvement.

Judge 3

Nathan Humphrey – Partner Account Director, Worldpay

Nathan Humphrey has been a Partner Account Director for Worldpay since January 2017 managing key accounts, including FSB. 

Before joining the Strategic Partnerships Team, Nathan spent 2 years in Worldpay Sales Team helping small businesses to take payments. A previous small business owner himself Nathan is aware of the challenges faced by small businesses and the need to recognise their successes and achievements. 

Nathan has a keen interest and skills in regards to setting up new businesses, high growth and micro businesses. He is delighted to join our panel of judges this year having been involved in the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards for two years.

In his spare time Nathan enjoys both watching and playing sports, with his favourite sports being football and skiing and he has recently become a new father to his son Grayson.    

Judge 4

Iain Eagling - Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Worldpay

Iain is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and has worked for Worldpay for 6 years.

Iain has also worked in the financial services industry for 20 years. On a day to day basis Iain’s role is to oversee all of the existing strategic partnerships at Worldpay whilst also supporting the team to identify new opportunities. 

A continually developing, collaborative, entrepreneurial and commercially focussed individual Iain has a successful track record of coaching and developing teams to overachieve in their development & performance.

Outside of work, Iain is a keen Liverpool supporter & enjoys the ups & downs that this brings.

Iain also has experience as a small business owner as an independent mortgage brokerage. He brings his skills to our judging panel for 2020.