Owner of The British Craft House in Lee-on-the-Solent lined up to scoop national business award

The British Craft House, from Lee-on-the-Solent, has been announced as a finalist for creative entrepreneur of the year taking place today.

Open to Start Up Loans-backed businesses, The British Craft House took out £12,000 in 2019 through delivery partner Virgin StartUp. Annually the event brings together 1,400 entrepreneurs, judges, mentors and investors to celebrate Britain’s entrepreneurs. It is now entering its tenth year having delivered 98,000 loans, worth over £922m.

Susan Bonnar, from Lee-on-the-Solent, who runs The British Craft House

Founded in 2019 by former Royal Navy air traffic controller, Susan Bonnar, the British Craft House provides a platform for creators to sell their crafted artisan gifts.

Susan said: ‘I think I’m quite lucky, I am quite good at turning up and doing my best.

‘I was an air traffic controller in the navy, so I have more of a technical background than a creative one, but I was meeting with loads of artistic and really clever people who were not so good at actually selling anything. So that was the natural progression.

‘What sets us apart is that we are application only so I can vet who is joining. I can be 100 per cent sure that everything is handmade, from scratch. I think that has helped us grow a loyal following.

‘We are trying to get people to think twice before the put something in their Amazon basket and see if there is somebody a bit closer to them who might actually be able to do something similar, probably better. It might not arrive by a drone, at ten o’clock that night but its about trying to get people to shop a bit differently.’

Earlier this month, Susan launched a new handmade selling platform called BuyIndie, with hopes to be an all-British take on Etsy.

Commercial director of Start Up Loans, Louise McCoy, said: ‘I am pleased to see that, with the help of Start Up Loans, these businesses have been able to access the finance they need to grow and contribute to their local economies, and I hope their stories inspire others to take the leap into business ownership.’

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