Businesses with purpose steal the show at the 2021 eBay for Business Awards

Press Release

●      Meet the ten small businesses crowned this year’s eBay for Business Award winners out of over 2000 applicants

●    2021 records greatest number of applicants to date after 237% surge in new eBay small businesses over the course of the pandemic

●       Top prize awarded to Warrington-based charity retailer who took home £20,000

London, 8 October 2021: Ten small businesses from across the UK have been crowned winners at the fifth annual eBay for Business Awards, with each winner receiving a £5,000 cash prize and a tailored package of PR and Marketing support to grow their business*.

The eBay for Business Awards is an annual moment designed to recognise and celebrate the most inspiring sellers among eBay UK’s community of 300,000 small and medium-sized businesses. 

eBay received over 2,000 entries for this year’s awards across all categories, ranging from kitchen table start-ups and university ‘side hustles’, to established family businesses and those complementing offline stores with online avenues.

Winning businesses range from a vintage fashion brand on a mission to reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfill, which has grown by over 1000% in the last year, to an entrepreneur who set up his very first business - a sneaker outlet – on eBay this year while on furlough and has since turned over £1million.

The Awards were presented at eBay’s annual seller conference, eBay Open. A special Grand Prize was also voted for and announced during the evening, with St Rocco’s Hospice receiving a £20,000 cash prize and a PR and marketing support package valued at over £100,000. 

This year, there were hundreds of applicants from businesses that had started up during the COVID-19 pandemic, when eBay saw a 237% boom in the number of small shops setting up on the marketplace - the equivalent to a new business registering online every 2 minutes.

The Awards build on eBay’s £33 million investment to help its 300,000 small business sellers weather the challenges brought on by Covid-19, and follows the launch of Capital for eBay Business Sellers, a financing scheme to help small businesses access much-needed funding.

Murray Lambell, General Manager of eBay UK, added: “To turn an idea into a thriving business, it takes someone who is willing to take risks, who can think creatively to innovate, and has the determination to overcome whatever challenge is thrown at them. That’s never been truer than it is now.

“This year’s eBay for Business Awards has been a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit that has withstood the impact of the pandemic and I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to recognise the very best and brightest of the small British businesses selling on our platform. It’s been inspiring to hear each of their unique stories and I feel privileged to celebrate their success with them.”

The winners of the eBay for Business Award 2021 are:

1.     Young Upstart AwardBotanico

·         Will Purdom has been selling plants for as long as he can remember, and after completing his university degree he had plans to find work as a gardener. However, his plant selling business Botanico – which he ran throughout college and university – took off and has now become his full-time occupation. Will is currently in talks with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh to set up a new charity which gives back to communities where exotic plants are harvested.

2.     Sustainable Seller AwardGo Thrift

·         Sarah Dean had previously dabbled in selling vintage clothing as a side hustle, but after leaving a few “horrible jobs” she realised that selling second-hand clothes was what she wanted to do – and at a larger scale than she’d ever seen before. Go Thrift has since grown in size by 1000% and the business is continually trying to keep up with its high pace of growth.

3.     From Little to Large AwardXS Items

·         In the summer of 2004, Len and Cliff were relaxing around a swimming pool in Florida discussing successful business models that could be transposed from the US to the UK. Along with two more business partners, Gareth and Ian, they decided to set up XS Items, a refurbished tech and homewares business, after six months of detailed planning. Since its launch, XS Items now employs 40 people and generates annual sales of £6m.

4.     Innovation AwardBuycombi

·         After spotting a gap in the market in 2016, Donald Weeks set about developing a new product to change the way the heating and plumbing industry repairs boilers by designing, manufacturing, and selling his own patented product. The initial feedback from eBay helped Donald persevere with his business, and the impact on his life has been immeasurable.

5.     Family Business AwardFashion Flair

·         Adewumi Akinyotu came to the UK to obtain a higher degree and then went on to teach mathematics. After having their first child, Adewumi struggled to find a job, so the family ended up borrowing to get by. In response to this, Adewumi started selling some gifts she didn’t need on eBay, and after receiving positive feedback she decided to carry on with her business. Now, Fashion Flair, operates from a warehouse and they have big plans to expand their business in the future.

6.     eBay Pro Trader AwardYellow Ape Limited

·         Yellow Ape Ltd was founded in 2019 by Austin Eary and his brother, Taylor when they were only 24 & 25 years old respectively. The business specialises in selling second-hand electronics, which they offer at extremely competitive prices. The Eary brothers have also employed an additional member of staff to help with their business and turnover is growing month on month. 

7.     Specialist Seller AwardBosede Accessories

·         Helen Adekalu runs her jewellery and accessories business, Bosede Accessories, from home with 100% of her sales coming from eBay. She sells specifically African inspired jewellery that she struggled to find in mainstream stores, and started her business after being shocked at the expensive prices other companies were charging for these products.

8.     Be Your Own Boss AwardBrown & Ginger

·         Prior to starting up her business, Josephine Marsh felt that she never quite found the right career for her. In 2016, she made the decision to open Brown & Ginger from her bedroom in a shared house, while continuing to work full time. Within six months her turnover was significant enough for her to work part time and focus more of her efforts on her business. Fast forward to today and Josephine’s business has gone from strength to strength, and she has now moved into a 1,600 sq ft warehouse with an office and photo studio. 

9.     Community Hero Award & Grand Prize WinnerSt Rocco’s

·         St Rocco’s Hospice offers palliative care to all who need it in Warrington and is largely funded by its retail stores and online offering. eBay has been a part of St Rocco’s fundraising since 2006 and has grown since they employed an ecommerce manager in 2019. The charity aims to build on its success by recruiting more trainees and moving to a warehouse.

10.  Lockdown Launch AwardMooky Kickz

·         Over lockdown, Moe Omar found that he had more time on his hands due to being put on furlough. When searching for a pair of trainers for his partner he found that sourcing the limited-edition shoes was more difficult than expected. This sparked his light bulb moment and he decided to start his business Mooky Kicks selling limited edition trainers. Since then, his profits have soared and he has been part of eBay’s Sneaker Authenticity Guarantee programme.




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Notes to editors

*The winners of each category receive a £5,000 cash prize to invest in their business. Winners are also granted a one-year business support package, which includes tailored measures such as a free eBay Anchor Store Subscription, access to eBay’s Concierge (the gold-plated customer service team), as well as enrolment in eBay’s Pro-Trader programme to support them in growing their businesses over the next year.

In addition to the ten award categories, all winners were also entered for the Grand Prize Award, which was voted for on the day by attendees. St Rocco’s Hospicewon the prize which includes a £20,000 cash prize with a premium package of PR and marketing support valued at over £100,000.

Winners were selected by an expert panel of judges made up of eBay leadership, previous award winners, and industry experts.