Passionate SportStars Scoop Startups Awards

I had the great pleasure of attending the Startups Awards yesterday afternoon to mix with some inspiring new businesses at an event that had a real buzz to it.
The startup to …

1st November 2007 at 4:30 pm

I had the great pleasure of attending the Startups Awards yesterday afternoon to mix with some inspiring new businesses at an event that had a real buzz to it.

The startup to walk away with the overall winner prize was SportStars which provides organised sport coaching sessions for 4-12 year olds through schools and the local community. Not only does this business make money, but it really does help build children’s confidence, get them exercising and create a sense of self-worth and team spirit. All in all a good thing at a time when obesity is a growing (excuse the pun) problem, particularly for children.

It was also good to see stereotypical British reserve dispensed with as James Taylor, managing director of SportStars, and his team punched the air, whooped and generally celebrated in style on hearing they’d won. All looked on approvingly by Levi Roots who was sitting at their table.

But it wasn’t just the winners of the various categories who provided inspiration. I enjoyed meeting Amy and Lucy from Feel Good Friends who’ve created a range of products to build confidence and self-esteem in young children, not least because the business was set up in the face of adversity. Steve Timberlake from fullrangemedia was doing some fascinating things with Landrover and interactive media, and the team from Hands On Cleaning had come up with an interesting twist on a traditional cleaning business.

I also enjoyed lessons in attracting VC funding and afternoon drinking from the irrepressible Robert Loch, one of the judges at the event.

My only slight disappointment was that someone I’ve known on the various startup forums in the UK for some time, Fraser Doherty of SuperJam didn’t make it down to London to pick up his gong for best Young Entrepreneur of the Year. It would have been good finally to meet him in the flesh.


Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog.

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  1. matt thomas says:

    Hi Alex

    Delighted to read you enjoyed it; thanks for the write-up, as much for spreading the word about our great winners as for praising the awards.

    SportStars certainly celebrated their victory; not sure we’ve ever had winners appear on Working Lunch the next day dressed in the same clothes…

    There’s been much debate as to whether the judges were right to choose them ahead of a larger and arguably more successful company in Book Depository, but hopefully you’ll agree it’s great for a company such as SportStars to get this level of recognition.



  2. Hi Matt

    Thanks for commenting. This morning I read your editorial on the decision-making process and making a virtue of comparing vastly varied start-ups.

    I think you’re right to take this approach. I’ve no doubt SportStars will, in a few years, be as financially successful as The Book Depository already is. They’re well on the way as I understand it. And they certainly had that extra spark that made them worthy and exuberant winners!



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