Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
4:30 PM 23rd July 2021

Simply Business Announces Expert Panel To Select £25,000 Business Boost Grant Winner

Simply Business, one of the UK’s biggest providers of small business insurance, has announced the members of the judging panel for its Business Boost initiative, which includes Piers Linney and Carina Lepore. The £25,000 cash prize has been made available to help new entrepreneurs launch a small business or help an existing UK SME rebound from the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Business Boost judging panel includes a range of experts from the UK business industry. Included on the panel is leading British businessman, investor and former star of TV’s Dragons’ Den, Piers Linney. Piers is joined by The Apprentice winner Carina Lepore, who is Lord Sugar's business partner and founder of Dough Artisan Bakehouse, who last September opened her second store in Beckenham mid-pandemic.

Other members of the panel include Tony Robinson OBE - author and vocal champion of the self-employed, Merlie Calvert - founder and CEO at Farillio, and Larissa Cooper - the winner of Business Boost 2020 and owner of Rowan Bay. Alan Thomas, who has been the UK CEO of Simply Business since December 2019, will complete the panel.

“It's a privilege to be a part of the Business Boost panel for the second time, and to collaborate with Simply Business on this important initiative” said Piers Linney, CEO, Moblox and investor and Ex Dragons’ Den investor. “It has been a particularly difficult time for anyone trying to start, run, or grow a small business in the UK. For us to be given the opportunity to make it a little easier for an SME owner is a really exciting thing.”

As of today, over 5,000 UK small and micro businesses have applied for the 2021 Business Boost grant. The expert panel will decide which entrepreneur is most deserving of the £25,000 - whether they are just starting out or in need of a helping hand to bounce back from the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Carina Lepore, comments: “I’m delighted to be a part of the Business Boost panel. As an entrepreneur, I sympathise greatly with the suffering small business owners have had to endure over the past 18 months. I’m thrilled to be a part of the initiative and give a fellow entrepreneur a much needed boost!”

Tony Robinson, OBE comments: “Simply Business shares my passion in raising awareness around small businesses and their importance to the economy. If there was ever a moment to lend a hand to UK’s small and micro business owners, now is it. I can’t wait to return to the Business Boost panel for a second time.”

Research from Simply Business, which provides insurance to over 800,000 small businesses and landlords, found that UK SME owners expect to lose £22,461 each on average as a result of COVID, which makes this grant even more valuable to those affected by the pandemic.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO of Simply Business comments: “Through conversations with our customers and surveys from the wider industry we are well aware of the devastating impact the pandemic has had upon the UK SME community. We want to provide a genuine transformational impact to one small business owner who begins to navigate the post lockdown world, and that is why we are offering an increased prize value of £25,000 to help them reach their big dreams.

“My fellow judges and I can’t wait to see the entries submitted for this year. With over 4,500applications already having been made, choosing the winner is going to be tough, but a decision I can’t wait to help make!”

Entries to the Business Boost grant are open until Friday 17 September. A shortlist will be unveiled on 4 October, with the eventual winner expected to be announced on 20 October.

To learn more about the Simply Business Business Boost grant and enter the competition, visit: