Smarta.com and O2 have today named Car Phone Company, a Hampshire and Surrey border-based B2B technology business, as a winner of the 2011 Smarta 100 awards, a collection of the UK’s savviest, enterprising, most disruptive small businesses.
Voting is now under way to find the overall O2 Smarta 100 Business of the Year, winning £10,000 courtesy of O2.
This year’s Smarta 100 provides a fascinating snapshot of UK small business today, a cross-section of ingenious new ideas, individuals seeking self employment after redundancy, the innovators of the cloud and crowd and the fast-growth big businesses of tomorrow.
Car Phone Company is a B2B telecoms company that specialises in how to use mobile technology to work smarter in business. It provides total telephony solutions for SME’s and also has a technology training brand, efficient thinking, that helps people work more effectively with mobile technology, email and their personal organisation. It has grown by 40% in the last 12 months alone!
Beyond this, there are 99 other businesses, all battling it out for the title of O2 Smarta 100 Business of the Year. From the weird and wonderful world of non-spill potties, pillows for long-distance lovers and non-tooth pulling toffee, to market changers like crowd-powered wine dealer Naked Wines, parcel innovator MyParcelDelivery.com and fast-growing retailer WedgeWelly, innovation and entrepreneurship are alive and well in Britain.
Many of this year’s winners have triumphed through adversity. Take Camille Johnson, who set up Pink Ribbon Lingerie after her mother’s experiences struggling to find attractive mastectomy lingerie. Or Mark Buschhaus and Stephen Barnes, who used their £20,000 redundancy pay-off from Woolworths to set up toy retailer Toy Barnhaus, now turning over £1.4million from three stores.
Proving the crucial role small businesses have to play in the future recovery of the UK economy, Smarta 100 revenues total over £65,000,000 with an average turnover of £692,000. They’re contributing more to the nation’s coffers than they’re borrowing too, with over half (51%) entirely self-funded.
On average, they are three years and two months old. They employ a total of 740 people, with 9% employing a staff of more than 20. Smarta 100 businesses tend to be running lean operations however, with a growing shift to virtual teams and networks of freelancers; 79% employ fewer than 10 people and 68% fewer than five.
The Smarta 100 also tells us about the people behind Britain’s brightest small businesses. This year’s winners are 55% male, 45% female, aged between 18 and 52 with an average of 33.
Commenting on their inclusion in the Smarta 100, Car Phone Company Director, Rob Williams said: “We are delighted to be recognised by Smarta: it is a fantastic resource for small businesses with a very credible reputation. Our Royal Warrant from HRH, The Prince of Wales recognises our service excellence; being a Smarta 100 winner recognises the strength of our business acumen. Car Phone Company Limited prides itself on continually improving and challenging how our sector traditionally does business; an approach Smarta champions. We look forward to meeting our fellow winners and competing hard for the overall prize”
Simon Devonshire, General Manager, SMB for O2, said: “The SMBs that have made the final shortlist are testimony to the dynamism and variety of businesses that are operating and flourishing in the UK. O2 supports young companies such as this that are looking to make a name for themselves by offering them flexible communications packages. It will be fascinating to find out which companies win the categories and the O2 Award, which will act as a springboard for future growth.”