Remember right at the end of last year, when I wrote about my reflections on 2016, I mentioned that it was one of my personal highlights to be nominated as a finalist for Midlands Business Awards for Entrepreneur of the Year 2017. Well, last week at Athena Leicester, I was declared the winner!
Before I talk about my swanky tuxedo and my speech, I wanted to say a little about the Midlands Business Awards itself. We’re big on supporting the local business community at Fifteen – and want to contribute as much to the regional economy as possible – so being involved with this sort of thing is a big deal to us.
The Midlands Business Awards is pitched positive and dynamic major event in the business calendar for the whole of the Midlands region. Now running for over a decade, the awards want to reward “talent, entrepreneurs and business development” – but more importantly it’s a celebration of local success stories in any industry across the region. That part’s essential to us because a huge chunk of our client portfolio is made up of brilliant local businesses. In fact, our success stories are really our clients’ success stories too.
I travelled to Leicester with some of the Fifteen crew – Michelle and Kate – along with my partner and my mum, to celebrate the awards at the gala dinner. There were loads of great business stories for the night and it was fantastic to mingle with some of the talented company leaders in the region. And, of course, it was fantastic to hear my name called out – given the chaos at the Oscars this year, I half expected to have to hand it back, but no, I’d genuinely won! Big cheers from our table, and maybe a little bit of champagne too. Mainly my mum – she was dead proud.
Thing is, I won Entrepreneur of the Year for my work in setting up Fifteen. But when I was on stage making my speech, I made it clear that any success this digital agency has achieved is a massive group effort. “This team can do absolutely amazing things,” I said at the end.
That might sound a bit corny whenever people talk about awards, but I actually mean it. I trust the girls and guys at Fifteen completely. They’re doing heaps of great work for our clients, we’ve seen crazy growth, and I trust them completely to get on with the job. The award is their success – that’s something reflected not just in things like fancy gala dinners, but in the day-to-day feedback I get from our clients too.
Harj Sandher, Managing Director of the Midlands Business Awards, said during the ceremony: “I went to Ollie’s business last year and the passion he’s shown is brilliant… I could have been there three or four hours just listening to him. He had so much to say about his business. Well done and good luck to you.”
So, what I take most from being named Entrepreneur of the Year at the Midlands Business Awards is this: I’ve built something great with Fifteen. I’m proud of everyone who’s been on this journey and the future is looking fantastic.