Fending off competition from over 5,300 entrants nationwide, Jonny will be seeking to take the top spot in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Creative Entrepreneur of the Year categories at the ceremony in the autumn.
Described by the newest addition to the BBC’s Dragon’s Den Steven Bartlett as ‘the Grammys of the business world’ the Great British Entrepreneur Awards offer an unrivalled platform for the nation’s leading business lights to showcase their success on a huge scale.
The nod comes after a turbulent yet ultimately successful couple of years trading for Jonarc, which specialises in design, marketing and creative for the live entertainment and leisure industries, two sectors that suffered particularly badly from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Smartly pivoting to broaden its client base into other sectors and offer expertise to a whole manner of clients, the business now counts international cruise lines, Europe’s largest theatrical group and a national TV network amongst its client base.
Founded in 2016 with help from the University of Sunderland’s Enterprise Place scheme, Jonarc is settling into its new dedicated office space in the city’s historic Sunniside Quarter with an increasingly busy diary of creative work to complete over the coming months. A member of the North East Chamber of Commerce and the Arts Marketing Association, the business has recently launched its well-received new website to coincide with the move to its new office.
Jonny, aged 28 from Moorside is a TV and Radio production graduate who spent a number of years broadcasting on the North East’s airwaves as host of Metro Radio’s weekend and drivetime schedules earning industry accolades and record audience figures. He continues to run Jonarc alongside a daily radio show on the region’s Pride Radio, as well as holding senior marketing positions with leading creative development organisation Generator and the UK’s largest provider and exporter of pizza cheeses Prima Cheese.
A typical entrepreneur with many plates to spin, he is also a duty manager for the Theatre Royal in Newcastle and a board member for Sunderland’s only professional theatre company Theatre Space North East. Jonny’s career so far has seen him manage the front of house department at the largest theatre between Leeds and Edinburgh, the Sunderland Empire during its record-breaking run of Disney’s The Lion King, as well as executive producing the most prestigious event in the radio calendar at London’s O2 arena. He’s designed social media graphics for the household of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and created work that will soon be sailing on one of the biggest cruise ships in the world. Most recently Jonny’s work was seen right across the region advertising the legendary Hoppings funfair on the Town Moor.
The former Farringdon School pupil and University of Sunderland student will be flying the flag for his home city in London as the awards bring together the great and the good of the business world. Jonny was most recently named as a finalist in the Federation of Small Business’ Awards in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category and was previously a finalist in the North East Start Up Awards, returning this year to co-host the awards at the Sage Gateshead.
A win in either category would mark a significant milestone for the entrepreneur who has emerged from pandemic with a stronger business and a drive to succeed. Not one to rest on his laurels, Jonny is currently working on an innovative event ticketing start up, which he hopes will revolutionise the ticketing industry in the same way the challenger banks shook up the financial sector.
Commenting on the shortlist announcement, Jonny said;
“The last couple of years have been tough for everyone and to see the industry I love so much lurch from one disaster to another was horrendous. Staying resilient and adopting a ‘show must go on’ attitude has, thankfully, paid dividends and I’m over the moon to have been shortlisted in two categories at such a prestigious awards ceremony, recognising the hard slog me and my clients have put in over the pandemic.
I’m so very lucky to work with the people, businesses and organisations I get to work with and I’m eternally thankful to all of the help, support and mentorship I’ve received over the years. We’re a canny bunch up here in the North East and I couldn’t be prouder to base my business up here,”.
The Great British Entrepreneur Awards, in partnership with Starling Bank, acknowledges and champions the hard work and uplifting stories of business owners across the UK, with an emphasis on their journey and resilience over financial achievements.
Twelve awards will be given out per region for categories including Disruptor of the Year, Entrepreneur for Good Award, and the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year. Notable winners from previous years include Social Chain founder Steven Bartlett, who went on to become the youngest ever investor on BBC’s Dragon’s Den.
The winners will be announced at a Grand Final, held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on 21st November.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. The alumni has collectively generated over £30 billion in revenue and employed more than 450,000 people.
Founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Francesca James, said the quality of this year’s entrants exemplified the strength of entrepreneurship across the UK:
“The quality of applications is consistently excellent year on year, but we have been especially blown away by the innovation, drive and determination demonstrated this year. Shortlisting from so many inspiring contenders has been more challenging than ever, with many deserving cases put forward and an ever-growing business community thriving across the country.
“From the pandemic to the ongoing cost of living crisis, business owners haven’t had it easy over the past few years, but it’s a testament to the tenacity and perseverance of these entrepreneurs that they have continued on their path and refused to give in.
“This year’s finalists should be so proud of what they’ve already achieved both in business and in being shortlisted for an award - we’re looking forward to seeing everyone at the Finals and unveiling the winners!”
Anne Boden MBE, Founder of Starling Bank, headline partner of the Awards, said:
"Congratulations to all those businesses who have made the shortlist. It's great to see the passion, resilience and amazing ingenuity from entrepreneurs across so many categories."