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Our usual office hours are Monday - Friday, 10am-6pm. Our office is closed on UK public holidays but our online store is always open!

Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2018: Winners - Entrepreneurs of the Year for the North
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Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2018: Winners - Entrepreneurs of the Year for the North

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Christine and Jenny have been named as the NatWest Great British Entrepreneurs of the Year 2018 for the North after winning the award for the Family Business Entrepreneur of the Year - see full list of winners. Some rather shell-shocked thoughts from Christine …

Gosh. What an evening. What an honour. And what an incredible moment for Charley Chau. It’s the morning after and I still cannot quite believe that Jenny and I won the Family Business Entrepreneur of the Year award. And then to be named as the 2018 Natwest Great British Entrepreneurs of the Year for the North ... wow! Did I really just type that? Did it really happen?

On stage receiving the award with the lovely Wynne Evans and Oli Barrett MBE. Photo with thanks to Daniel Lee-Jacobs.

When we found out we had been shortlisted as finalists we were thrilled and we decided to take the whole team to the awards dinner at Old Trafford football stadium and have a lovely evening out with no expectations of winning anything. It was so sad that Jenny was not well enough to attend the awards dinner.

Team Charley Chau Team Charley Chau at the GBEA awards held at Old Trafford. From left to right: Alex (Bark & Beyond PR), Laura (marketing ace), Kim (dispatch guru) and Christine (jack of all trades). 

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards received over 3,000 entries this year and Jenny and I were shortlisted alongside some truly inspirational businesses so we had absolutely no thought of winning anything at all - we were genuinely just thrilled to have been shortlisted.

As the winners for each category were being announced after dinner, I sat in awe listening to the winners of each category – amazingly inspirational people who are pushing ahead and dealing with the inevitable highs and lows of running their own business, sometimes under extremely challenging circumstances. And then it was our category – Family Business Entrepreneur of the Year. When I heard Jenny and I being announced as the winners I couldn’t believe it. The team – Kim, Laura and Alex (from Bark & Beyond PR) were cheering and my only sadness in that moment was that Jenny was not with me on the night to receive the award together.

On stage I had a lovely chat with Wynne Evans (who you may know as the operatic tenor from the ‘Go Compare’ tv adverts) who announced to the room that he is an existing Charley Chau customer! And also sang an impromptu Charley Chau jingle which was just brilliant!

I sat back down in my seat and settled in to watch the rest of the awards. All the winners for each category were announced and then it was time for the big award of the night – who would be named as the overall winner of Entrepreneur of the Year for the North?

Well it certainly wasn’t going to be us so I sat back, still slightly dazed and already feeling jolly lucky, and waited ready to cheer the winner.

But it then Oli Barrett (host) started reading out “clues” on the winner ... accidental entrepreneurs ... founded on the sitting room floor in 2010 ... started as a quirky little hobby ... and I suddenly realised that Oli was quoting our application! And then I saw Theo up on that big screen again and my heart and brain froze in shock. I could hear Laura, Kim and Alex screaming as I walked up to the stage again - an out of body experience - to receive the award for Entrepreneur of the Year award for the North!

I still don’t know how all this has happened. We’re such a tiny business and most of the time we’re wondering how on earth we’re supposed to run a business! There were some truly amazing people in the room with us last night and I am still utterly gobsmacked.

Regardless, I do know that I am extremely thankful.

All of the winners at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards for the North - find out more about the winners

I must say a huge thank you to Natwest and the Great British Entrepreneur Awards for championing small business and entrepreneurship in the UK, and of course for honouring us with this amazing award.

Thank you to all of our customers and other friends who have supported us along the way – your support over the years has been incredible and your goodwill means so much to us.

Thank you to everyone who is involved with Charley Chau behind the scenes – Kim and Laura who are at HQ beavering away every day, Alex at Bark & Beyond PR, all of our suppliers and manufacturers, the team at the Natwest Accelerator Programme, and many many more.

And finally, thank you to the doglets: Charley, Anna, Tino, Theo and Mabel. These little monkeys have changed our lives in ways that we would never have dreamed. They were, and always will be, the inspiration behind Charley Chau – it’s all about the dogs!

Anna, Tino, Mabel, Theo and Charley - our five cheeky little monkeys

Team Charley Chau will be attending the national finals for the Natwest Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in January 2019 in London - fingers crossed! For more information about the awards visit: www.greatbritishentrepreneurawards.com