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Responsible Finance: Cornish companies top list of winners at Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards
The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, delivered in partnership by Responsible Finance and the Citi Foundation, has named two Cornish entrepreneurs winners of the Microentrepreneur Award for Sustainability and the Microentrepreneur Award for Growth. Winners Adam Weisman of Clayworks and Ben Treleaven of ISO Spaces achieved commercial success with innovative businesses and help from SWIG Finance, a responsible finance provider, which led to their inclusion in the awards.
Winner of the Microentrepreneur Award for Sustainability, Clayworks developed a 100% natural, biodegradable and toxin-free clay plaster for interior walls that provides an alternative to unsustainable and conventional plasters. The product range launched in 2011, followed two years of research and testing with the University of Bath. Adam Weisman has seen demand for the plaster grow and currently features in restaurant chains Nandos and Wagamama, as well as proving popular with international designers and architects.
Based in a small remote community, Clayworks contributes to the local economy and employs 9 people offering flexible working hours that accommodate child care and lifestyle choices. The sands and aggregates for the plaster are sourced locally, often from waste materials derived from the Cornish Clay Pits.
Truro-based ISO Spaces founded by City financiers Ben Treleaven and Gregg Curtis in 2013, designs and manufactures high specification bespoke modular buildings made from recycled shipping containers. These modular buildings create quality spaces for events, retail, business accommodation and social housing. ISO Spaces has grown exponentially and turnover has quadrupled in two years. The business employs almost 20 staff, including graduates and apprentices, and has established a predominantly local supply chain.
The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) hosted by Channel 4 News journalist Fatima Manji champion the thriving small businesses of Britain and home-grown entrepreneurs. To be eligible for the awards a business must have benefited from an affordable loan from responsible finance providers and have contributed to the local economic growth in the UK.
Other winners include The Gingerbread House, a social enterprise that rescued the Humberston library in Lincolnshire from closure, and has transformed the space into a community hub. The library now hosts a café, retail space and areas for community activities. Spearheaded by local entrepreneur Nathan Taylor, The Gingerbread House is a self-sustaining enterprise and received the Social Entrepreneur Award.
The Young Entrepreneur Award went to Brett Weller, who set up Brett’s Pets at the age of 22. Brett’s Pets houses a pet shop and veterinary surgery offering a wide range of food and products for animals.
Jennifer Tankard, Chief Executive of Responsible Finance said:
“It is inspiring to meet so many successful entrepreneurs, who are all bringing jobs and opportunities for people in their local communities. The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards celebrate the innovation and drive that is behind local economic growth.”
“Responsible finance providers are also helping to drive this success. As well as supporting the award winners with fair and affordable finance, they supported 9,600 small businesses last year, which created 10,700 jobs.”
“Responsible finance providers also deserve to be in the spotlight, and we were delighted to recognise the achievements of our members at the awards. Fair Finance and Co-operative & Community Finance are great examples of lenders that are delivering outstanding customer service and creating effective partnerships to meet the needs of their clients.”
“This is the 4th year of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards in the UK and the depth and range of entries is a testament to the continued evolution of the responsible finance sector – an industry that now serves more than 50,000 clients across the country.” said Bob Annibale, CMA Judge and Global Director of Citi Inclusive Finance and Community Development.
“Whether in Central London or in rural Cornwall, it is inspiring to see how individuals and organisations are putting their communities at the heart of their business models so that their enterprising clients can create jobs and support more inclusive economic opportunities and growth. Congratulations to all of the winners and to those who were shortlisted.”