Vodafone launches its second Shout Out for Small Businesses campaign, offering one small business the opportunity to win a mentoring session with entrepreneur and BBC’s Dragons’ Den star Steven Bartlett.
Having started his own business at 22 years old, Bartlett, who is just 29, has a net worth in excess of £70m.
He is also successful podcaster, with over of 6 million monthly listeners, and is just about to launch two other companies: Flight Story and Third Web.
Speaking with City A.M., Bartlett said the partnership with Vodafone was a “match made in heaven” for him.
“I pick opportunities based on my experience and expertise. Business and entrepreneurship are things I’m really passionate about. Over the past year, we have seen how small business owners and startups are suffering the most and I wanted to do something to help”, he explained.
“As the country looks towards a future of work that is defined by technology, it is imperative that small businesses are supported with the digital skills they’ll need to help them survive and thrive, post-pandemic – especially with the end of government support from initiatives such as the furlough scheme”, he continued.
Bartlett himself has had an impressive career trajectory: starting as a small business and now as the youngest ever ‘Dragon’ on a hit BBC show, which he described as an “honour.”
“I represent a different perspective and type of entrepreneurship from a different time”, he said.
Bartlett was born in Botswana before moving briefly to Manchester and relocating to Plymouth with his family when he was 12 months old.
He was expelled from school due to a poor attendance record, but managed to enrol on a business degree at Manchester Metropolitan University.
He quit after one lecture and set up The Social Chain from his bedroom, and turned it into a global business with £162m annual revenue by 27 years old.
In addition to a mentor session with Bartlett, the winning business will also receive a Facebook and Instagram social media marketing campaign boost, as well as a digital business strategy session with a V-Hub advisor.
More than 400,000 new companies were formed in 2020 alone, according to figures from the Centre For Entrepreneurs, with existing small businesses also taking bold new steps to compete in an increasingly online business environment.
Shout Out for Small Businesses celebrates businesses who are using digital skills and technology to drive their businesses forward in a challenging business environment. Entry is free and open to all UK small businesses of less than 50 employees.