What being a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards has taught me

Hatty Fawcett, Finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2023

My weak spot is I don’t like talking about my achievements. I think it dates back to my childhood when I was told not to boost. I’ve taken that to mean it’s wrong to talk (even factually, not boastfully) about what we have achieved. In most cases this probably doesn’t matter. But, when you run your own business, it’s a bit of a problem. We have to talk about our achievements if we want to demonstrate the difference we make, and attract new customers. 

I’ve really struggled with this but, earlier this year, I was encouraged to enter the Great British Entrepreneur Award. It challenged me. I had to write a submission answering very specific questions about me, my business and the difference I have made for my clients. I can remember squirming as I wrote it.

But, it was a good exercise for me. It forced me to bring together all the facts of what I have achieved over the last few years. Investors talk about “traction” and I pulled together the evidence that showed I have supported over 100 startups through the Funding Accelerator programme, raised more than 11 million for those startups over 3 years, £5 million of which has been in the last 12 months (despite the difficult investment market). 

When I reviewed the data and completed my application I felt pride in what I have achieved. That was enough for me. I didn’t want to share this with others. In truth, I was scared. Sacred it wasn’t enough. That others have achieved more. Imposter syndrome reared its head – even in the light of the facts!

Why am I telling you this? Is it an attempt (thinly veiled, perhaps) at self-promotion? No! Stick with me and I will explain…

Battling my instinct not to, I submitted my application. The result? I was selected as a Finalist in this years Great British Entrepreneur Awards and, this week, attended an award dinner that celebrated not just my achievement but that of the other finalists too. At the start of the awards dinner, the event host said, “For many today, this award is the culmination of a long journey, a lot of hard work…”. It was a moment for us all to stand and receive recognition – and yes! I did actually have to stand up in a room packed with hundreds of people.

GBEA Nov 2023

I didn’t win my category. I didn’t need to. My win was entering (and writing about what I learnt!). (There was another win – as you’ll see if you keep reading.)

I wonder whether you relate to this. Whether you ever fail to take the steps you know you need to because you are worrying about what people think, whether you have done enough, whether you will fail? 

Of course, if we never try we will never know! Don’t let your weak spot hold you back like I have!

And, of course, you are not alone.

When it comes to raising equity investment, I want you to support you – and introduce you to our community of Funding Accelerator Mentors and Funded Founders who will support you too. 

The first step is acknowledging what holds you back. I’ve posted a poll on LinkedIn this week, asking what holds founders back when it comes to raising investment. Why not take that first step to move forwards by acknowledging what holds you back. You can do so – anonymously – by answering the poll. Alternatively, you could email and tell me what support you need. Do you lack the confidence to pitch? Are you unsure what information to put into a financial forecast? Are you struggling to value your startup? Or is it that you don’t know any investors and need help finding them?

We all have to start somewhere. And, imagine, perhaps it could be you on the stage at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards next year.  

And the icing on the cake when it comes to wins? One of our Funding Accelerator graduates, Joanne Redmile, also entered the awards this year – and she won! Congratulations Joanne Redmile of TurboGaming, South West Tech Entrepreneur of the Year! 

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