It takes a special kind of person to become an entrepreneur – so it was only fitting that Sheffield City Region’s Launchpad Awards 2019 ceremony was an extraordinary event, as the unLTD team found out on the night

Some of the newest and most promising start-up businesses from across the Sheffield City Region were given a chance to celebrate and showcase their achievements at Launchpad’s special awards ceremony.

Organised by the Sheffield City Region’s Launchpad programme, almost every entrepreneur featured in the 2019 Launchpad Awards has been trading for less than three years, and in many cases, those in the spotlight are taking their very first steps in self-employment.

unLTD has been showcasing entrepreneurs and start-ups via our Your Pitch and 5 Minutes With features since issue one – and showcasing Launchpad clients not long after that.

So we were chuffed to play our part at the ceremony at 92 Burton Road by sponsoring a category – as our editor Richard Fidler said ahead of the event: “I’m delighted that unLTD is supporting the Launchpad Awards. It’s vital that we as the city region’s business magazine support start-up businesses.”

And Richard was joined at the awards by our director of sales Phil Turner, graphic designer Simon Garlick and head of sales Dan Laver, too, with Phil handing over the Aspiring Entrepreneur trophy, sponsored by unLTD, to Jennifer Ryder who is launching her brand new business the Cawthorne Cat Hotel this month (November).

It was also great to see a previous unLTD feature star LensGo Visual Media crowned the 2019 Launchpad Champion, after being chosen by fellow entrepreneurs during a live vote on the night. It proved to be a night to remember for Stuart Turner, who saw the business he founded in May 2018 also lift the title of ‘Growth Business of Year’ as well as being named as a finalist in two other categories.

In a remarkable first year of trading, LensGo Visual Media has secured more than 50 new clients including Gulliver’s Theme Parks, Sheffield Wednesday FC and Rotherham United as well as a range of businesses and not-for-profit organisations.

The Launchpad Awards proved to be a memorable night for entrepreneurs throughout the region, with three Barnsley Businesses securing top awards as well as a unique awards double for Sheffield-based William Chew, founder of chilli paste company Mak Tok. Fresh from his recent appearance on the hit BBC TV show Dragons Den, Will walked away with the Inspiring Achiever and Young Entrepreneur trophies.

Rotherham’s growing start-up community saw online furniture retailer and interior design specialist No18 Interiors winning the Start Up Business of the Year title on an evening which celebrated the do-ers and achievers from across the region.

The awards ceremony also proved to be a good night for specialist book subscription company My Chronicle Book Box winning the Rising Star Business and last year’s Young Entrepreneur winner Abbie Allert followed up her previous success by winning the Made In Sheffield City Region category with her bespoke children’s clothing company, Mamma Made It.

Anna Smith, programme manager, Launchpad said: “We created the Awards in 2018 as a way of showcasing and celebrating the important contribution start-up businesses play in shaping the local economy and this year’s event saw nearly 100 new business owners take part..

“The Sheffield City Region is filled with some truly amazing entrepreneurs and the Launchpad programme was developed to help equip them with the vital skills and knowhow to build successful companies.”

Check out the full list of winners and runners-up below and dive in for an in-depth chat to some of the night’s winners, too!


Launchpad Champion 2019, sponsored by Hallam FM

Winner: LensGo Visual Media

Start-up Business of the Year, sponsored by the Federation of Small Businesses

Winner: No18 Interiors

Finalists: KD Cosmetics, LensGo Visual Media, Yugen Explore, The Bare Alternative

Rising Star Business of the Year, sponsored by Doncaster Chamber

Winner: My Chronicle Book Box

Finalists: MHE Services Ltd, Five Rivers Coffee Company, Unity Source Ltd, Tattoo Liberation

Growth Business of the Year, sponsored by Finance For Enterprise

Winner: LensGo Visual Media

Finalists: Five Rivers Coffee Company, The Bare Alternative, Evolution, Vorago Security Ltd

Young Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Enterprise Nation

Winner: William Chew, Mak Tok

Finalists: Kate Thomson, Jim Rose, Helen Cox, Luca O’Grady & Oscar Hunt, Brett Riley-Tomlinson

Aspiring Entrepreneur, sponsored by unLTD Magazine

Winner: Jennifer Ryder, Cawthorn Cat Hotel

Finalists: Annabel Vernon, Susan Ismail, Minal Jain, Alekhya Ankarapu

Made in the Sheffield City Region, sponsored by Gripple Ltd

Winner: Mamma Made It

Finalists: Redwell Games, Own Way, Cocoa Luxury, Pink Peppercorn Cake

Inspiring Achiever, sponsored by Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber

Winner: William Chew, Mak Tok

Finalists: Hawa Talbot, Lindsy James, Dean Pattison, Stuart Turner



Stuart Turner, founder LensGo Visual Media and 2019 Launchpad Champion said:

“Launchpad has helped my business in so many different ways. There’s a world of difference between working for someone else and running your own business. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the support I have received in laying the foundations of the business has been invaluable and I feel incredibly honoured that LensGo was chosen by other entrepreneurs as being this year’s Launchpad Champion. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next twelve months will bring!”

Jennifer Ryder of Cawthorne Cat Hotel said:

“Winning the Launchpad Aspiring Entrepreneur Award has been amazing.  Launchpad have provided me with invaluable support. When you’re just starting up and on your own, you can’t be good at everything – Launchpad has helped me fill in the gaps.  Being chosen for an award is such a confidence boost – we are pioneering a new direction in the boarding cattery sector and this award is proof that other people believe in our ideas.  Cawthorne Cat Hotel is opening its doors in November, and the award gets us off to a fantastic start!”

Louise Driffield of My Chronicle Book Box said:

“It means the world to me to have won the Rising Star Business of the Year Award and is a real confidence boost. I feel very proud that my hard work, determination and early success has been recognised by experienced business professionals in this way.”