Simply Business is proud to announce that we've partnered with rugby legend Gareth Thomas to mark our £25,000 Business Boost campaign.
Gareth's wealth of experience as a former Wales and Lions rugby union captain, along with his inspiring personal story, makes him the perfect ambassador for our Business Boost campaign.
The campaign is focused on encouraging small business owners to follow their big dream, and aims to help a self-employed person bounce back from the challenges of the pandemic with a bumper cash grant.
As part of the partnership Gareth will be sharing his sporting lessons and life experiences to highlight how his transferable skills can be equally relevant to someone seeking business success. He'll share everything from how to bounce back from challenges and show resilience in the face of adversity, to the importance of authenticity and having a big dream.
With more than a year of restrictions, lockdowns and uncertainty, the impact of Covid-19 on small businesses has unsurprisingly taken its toll. Our research shows 61 per cent of small business owners have had serious financial concerns at some stage of the pandemic, and many struggled with emotional and mental health challenges.
Our latest Covid-19 impact report revealed that small businesses and the self-employed expect total costs to be upwards of £126.6 billion, which is why we’re giving away £25,000 to help one self-employed person start, grow, or revive their business.
Gareth Thomas needs no introduction – he played rugby union for Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Toulouse and Cardiff Blues winning 100 international caps for Wales and captaining the British and Irish Lions.
Off the field, he was the first openly gay elite-level rugby player when he came out in 2009, and since 2019 he’s been one of the most famous people to talk publicly about what it means to be HIV positive in the UK. He completed the Ironman Wales event the day after he announced his diagnosis, and since then has been dedicated to using his platform to try and dispel some of the myths around the illness.
Gareth’s a legend who’s demonstrated physical strength as a rugby champion and the authenticity, bravery and resilience to be who he is. He’s an inspiration to us all, and embodies many of the traits you need to be a successful small business owner.
Alan Thomas, UK CEO of Simply Business comments: “We're thrilled to have Gareth Thomas on board as an ambassador for our Business Boost competition. Gareth is an inspiration to so many and he embodies the spirit of our campaign.
“Resilience, passion, ambition – all traits you’d associate with Gareth as a former Wales and Lions captain, and his bravery and authenticity off the field are to be truly admired."
He added: “Small business owners have been hit harder than most by Covid-19, and have had to show these very same traits as they look to bounce back from a period of such uncertainty. We hope our £25,000 Business Boost grant will help one small business owner start, grow, or revive their business – and, ultimately, achieve their big dreams, just as Gareth did.”
Gareth joins a host of famous names from the world of small business in supporting the campaign, with an expert panel assembled to pick the final winner.
Our Business Boost judges include former star of BBC’s Dragons’ Den Piers Linney, and The Apprentice Winner Carina Lepore.
Alongside Piers and Carina, and completing the panel, will be micro-business champion Tony Robinson OBE, Farillio founder and CEO Merlie Calvert, and Simply Business UK CEO Alan Thomas.
Entries to the Business Boost grant are open until Friday 17 September. A shortlist will be unveiled on 4 October, with the eventual winner expected to be announced on 22 October.
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