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The Trafford entrepreneur behind vegan chocolate brand LoveRaw, Rimi Thapar, has joined a brand new taskforce to help UK SMEs tackle the challenges and barriers they’re facing in 2022 and beyond.

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards (GBEA) and Vodafone have teamed up to launch the fully-funded initiative, ‘Disruptive Minds’, bringing together leading entrepreneurs and business leaders to provide invaluable insight into their experiences. Through interactive online sessions and Q&As, the taskforce will support small businesses with discussions and advice on how to grow and thrive in challenging times.

The taskforce combines Vodafone’s digital and technical expertise with the Great British Entrepreneur Awards’ community of business leaders to guide SMEs through a range of advice and idea-driven content across social media, Vodafone’s V-Hub SME support website and Fresh Business Thinking. 

Representing a broad spectrum of businesses and industries, Disruptive Minds will feed the small business community with fresh insights based on expert understanding and experience, helping to drive SME growth in the UK.

Nineteen entrepreneurs from a range of sectors have joined the taskforce to lead conversations around learning in business, with North West representatives including Adeem Younis of Penny Appeal, Sebastian Vanderlinden of Yumi Nutrition and Altrincham-based Rimi.

Rimi said: “It’s fantastic to see initiatives such as Disruptive Minds, I was keen to get involved when asked. Our business has been established almost 9 years and in the early days there wasn’t a huge support network available. 

“I think start ups are the future of business and entrepreneurs should feel supported and be part of a wider community to access nuggets of wisdom from what others have learnt. This can help save time and allow them to thrive.”

Launching Disruptive Minds, Andrew Stevens, Head of UK Small and Medium Business at Vodafone, said: “We are delighted to be launching such an exciting new initiative with the GBEA, bringing together some of the most dynamic and forward-thinking entrepreneurs and business leaders in the UK today. 

In order to maximise business opportunities and foster growth, it’s vital that SMEs have access to the right tools and guidance. With Disruptive Minds, thought leaders will be providing insights, expertise and guidance to inspire and encourage the next wave of budding entrepreneurs.”

Francesca James, founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said: “I am delighted to be launching Disruptive Minds with Vodafone. Many lessons have been learnt over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, from adopting more digital and remote work systems to streamlining business operations. However, now the focus needs to shift from enabling businesses affected by the pandemic to survive, to helping them to thrive. 

“We have brought together a group of entrepreneurs who not only understand the importance of learning and shared wisdom, but can drive the conversation to support other businesses.”

The first Disruptive Minds session will take place online through LinkedIn on Thursday 31st March and will focus on 2022 priorities – how can SMEs ensure they stay afloat? 

For further information on the Disruptive Minds taskforce and its members visit: https://www.greatbritishentrepreneurawards.com/disruptive-minds/