A KNOWLE chocolatier has been announced as a winner of the annual Octopus Entrepreneur Awards.
In 2015 Joe Vaughan opened 1683 Chocolate Place just two weeks after turning 16.
He now exports all over the world as far as New Zealand and the United States of America.
The awards celebrate small and medium sized businesses making a positive impact in their local community and 1683 Chocolate Place was nominated by Meriden MP Saqib Bhatti.
Joe has been recognised as Britain’s youngest chocolatier and has worked tirelessly to turn himself into an established high street name and his journey of innovation and determination has been inspirational.
Octopus set up the awards to celebrate fantastic entrepreneurs across the UK who have thrived during the last year.
Following a large number of entries, winners were chosen by a panel of parliamentarians and entrepreneurs including Katherine Fletcher MP, who set up her own business before becoming an MP; Jimmy McLoughlin OBE, presenter of Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future podcast; Karen Taylor, founder of Parent Cloud; Seema Malhotra MP, shadow minister for Business and Consumers; Darren Jones MP, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee; and Octopus co-founder, Chris Hulatt.
By winning the award, Joe Vaughan will receive £5,000 worth of scale-up advice from experts within Octopus. They also had the opportunity to meet with their MP last week to celebrate the thriving entrepreneurial community and spirit in the UK.
“This is such an amazing opportunity and I was so pleased to have won this fantastic award, I can’t wait to be invited down to Octopus later in the year,” Joe said.
“I would like to thank my local MP, Saqib Bhatti for putting me forward for this award and supporting small independent businesses within his constituency and I would also like to thank Chris and everyone at Octopus for running this award and helping small businesses grow.”
Mr Bhatti MP said: “When I received information of this competition, Joe came to mind straight away.
“He has worked so hard for seven years to grow his business, even managing to do so during the pandemic.
“I feel so lucky to have a great business like this operating in my patch and I am thrilled that he is receiving the recognition he deserves.”
“When we asked Members of Parliament to nominate entrepreneurs in their constituency, we didn’t anticipate just how many fantastic entries we would receive,” Mr Hulatt added.
“The awards are a great way to celebrate local entrepreneurs with their MPs and highlight some of the brilliant work they have been doing.
“As a company which works closely with many entrepreneurs, it has been interesting hearing the winners’ business journeys.
“I look forward to welcoming the winners to Octopus for the day later in the year,” he added.