I have a pretty varied life as a blogger about all things marketplaces and often get invited to different events, sometimes to observe and other times to talk. This year is the first time I’ve ever been invited to be on a judging panel for the eBay for Business Awards and it was one of the most enjoyable days of 2017.
The eBay for Business Awards are eBay’s search for the best British inventors, entrepreneurs and small businesses. Launched in July, the marketplace’s search attracted hundreds of inspirational entries came from across the country, from the top talent already trading on eBay to bricks-and-mortar businesses looking to take their first steps online.
The Awards were free to enter and open to all businesses with an eBay account, regardless of size. The winners will receive a cash prize, along with a trip to meet eBay’s global executive team in San Jose, California, and tailored assistance from ecommerce experts Linnworks to help boost their presence online and help them to sell their products.
I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect but nothing really prepared me for the day. The sheer number of entries on the short list was amazing and the other judges and I spent hours just reading their stories and finding out more about their businesses.
“Through the eBay for Business Awards, we’ve heard from the best and the brightest businesses across the country. From those who are just getting their new idea off the ground to those who have been up and running for many years, it has been incredibly inspiring to hear their stories”
– Rob Hattrell, Vice President of eBay in the UK
My fellow judges included Rob Hattrell, VP of eBay UK, Steve Oliver, CEO of musicMagpie and Clare Haines, founder and director of Lingerie Outlet Store, and it quickly became clear that it was a nearly impossible task to pick a single winner. Thankfully eBay had thought of this and had two things to make our lives easier. Firstly there were two first place prizes and a bundle of runners up prizes so between us we could choose multiple winners. Secondly the entries were split into different categories (e.g. Young Genius, Be Your Own Boss, Innovation etc).
After hours of reading and arguing between ourselves we managed to whittle the list down but the list was still too long and there were so many great businesses that voting on the final winners was tense – everyone had their favourites but someone (actually two people) had to win.
In the end the vote was unanimous and two friends from Bristol who launched a business straight out of school and an inspirational entrepreneur with spina bifida were chosen for the two grand prizes in the eBay for Business Awards 2017.
The one thing that I’ll take away from the day is that although over the past 15 years I’ve met thousands of eBay sellers, it turns out there are many many more and eBay sellers are still some of the most innovative, inspirational and amazingly talented entrepreneurs in the country.
Over the next few weeks, to celebrate all of the winners we’ll be featuring their businesses and stories on Tamebay to introduce them to you. In the mean time congratulations to Joe, Henry and James, Hannah, Dipesh, Dan, Vivienne, Samantha, Ed, Gab, and Jo. They will all receive a prize package including assistance to help grow their businesses.