Vodafone launches new ‘Shout Out for Small Businesses’ competition offering bespoke mentoring session with Dragons’ Den star Steven Bartlett

Vodafone has today launched its second Shout Out for Small Businesses campaign, offering one lucky small business owner the opportunity to win a bespoke mentoring session in London with entrepreneur and newest addition to the BBC’s Dragons’ Den programme Steven Bartlett.  

Having started his own successful business at just 21 years old, Steven – who is just 29 – will meet the winning entrepreneur in London to provide a tailored assessment of their business and identify growth opportunities. In addition, the winning business will also receive a dedicated Facebook and Instagram social media marketing campaign boost worth in excess of £3,000 - giving the business exposure to a potential audience of millions - and an in-depth digital business strategy session with a Vodafone V-Hub advisor.  

Ten runner-up businesses will each receive the dedicated social media marketing campaign boost and an in-depth digital business strategy session with a Vodafone V-Hub adviser 

Shout Out for Small Businesses celebrates those businesses who are using digital skills and technology to drive their businesses forward in innovative ways and within a challenging business environment. The first competition, launched earlier this year, attracted entries from small businesses across the UK and gave winning businesses an audience of millions thanks to the social media marketing boost they received.  

“It’s obviously a tough environment for small businesses right now, but it’s also inspiring to see the skill and tenacity of so many people shine through as they navigate the ongoing impact of the pandemic,” said Steven Bartlett, Vodafone Ambassador and Entrepreneur. “Digital is one of the most important tools available to small businesses to compete and succeed in challenging circumstances. It’s one of the reasons why I set up Social Chain – to help businesses connect with their communities and reach customers in more meaningful and creative ways. I know we’re going to see plenty of creativity on display from the Shout Out for Small Businesses entrants, and I’m really looking forward to sharing my insights and guidance with the overall winner.” 

With record numbers of start-ups being launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners across the country are now leveraging more digital tools and techniques than ever to stand out online. More than 400,000 new companies were formed in 2020 alone, according to figures from the Centre For Entrepreneurs. 

Andrew Stevens, Head of Small Business, Vodafone UK, said: “After the huge success of our Shout Out for Small Businesses campaign back in February, we’ve launched a new competition to help even more companies across the country. The shift to digital during the pandemic created huge new opportunities for small businesses, and we want to hear the amazing stories of tenacity, bravery and innovation through these very tough times. We’re excited to be able to use our own online presence and experience to give them a boost.” 

To enter, businesses should head to the Vodafone V-Hub here, where they can share their stories on how they’ve used digital tools, skills, and platforms in innovative ways to help supercharge their business. Entries will be assessed by a panel of judges including Steven Bartlett, Enterprise Nation Founder Emma Jones CBE and Vodafone’s Head of Small Business, Andrew Stevens.  

The winning businesses will be selected based on the impact of their actions on the performance of their business. Entry is free and open to all UK small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) across the UK until 26 November 2021. 

Emma Jones CBE, Founder Enterprise Nation, said: “'I'm delighted to be involved in this competition that celebrates amazing small business owners who have embraced digital skills and platforms to power their business. Every day I am motivated by the incredible stories of people who turn a passion or idea into a way of making a living and this competition will be full of such stories - it will be tough to judge!' 


Shout Out for Small Businesses helped small businesses through the pandemic  


Play Makes Sense  

Play Makes Sense, a small business specialising in sensory play phonics activity cards for children founded by former primary school teachers Alice Spencer and Abbie Chisnall last year, were previous winners of the last Shout Out for Small Businesses campaign.  

The free social media boost they received, helped exposed the business to an audience of millions across Instagram and Facebook. As a result, they received significant engagement from parents, enabling who were looking for ways to keep home learning with their children entertaining during the pandemic.   

Alice Spencer, Co-Founder, Play Makes Sense said: “Winning the last Shout Out for Small Business campaign really gave our business a boost. The added exposure we received on Facebook, Instagram and Vodafone’s own social channels opened us up to a huge audience, which helped us reach more parents so that they could make learning fun during lockdown. 

The WeeCOOK Kitchen 

Scottish restaurant and pie shop The WeeCOOK Kitchen realised that the internet and social channels were a shop window to the world when lockdown hit, trebling pie sales and targeting a host of new customers across the country. 

Hayley Wilkes, Chef/Owner, The WeeCOOK Kitchen, said: “We had no option but to adapt and evolve in March 2020, and online was really the only direction we could go. We tried a lot of new things – from fun things like online pie making demos and virtual kids cooking classes, to practical measures like monetising the website to drive significant increases in traffic. We also collaborated with other small independents like ourselves, using digital channels to connect and promote each other’s events and offers. It taught us that whatever your business and wherever you are, you have to think both locally and beyond these days. We’re still deeply rooted in the local area, but we’re now making the most of our digital presence to reach new customers right across the country.” 

To find out more about Vodafone’s Shout Out for Small Businesses campaign or to enter yourself visit: https://www.vodafone.co.uk/business/sme-business/shout-out-for-small-business-campaign