Exeat founder encourages local start-ups to enter the South West StartUp Awards 2023

By Anita Jaynes on 8 February, 2023

A Tisbury-based brand of luxury tennis apparel is encouraging the South West’s outstanding startups to stand up and be recognised as a national awards programme nears its closing date. 

Laura Ward founded Exeat in 2020 and, within two years, the firm was named the 2022 Global StartUp of the Year for the South West at the StartUp Awards National Series.

Since then, the company’s growth has quadrupled, launched in five new markets and been named the official tennis partner of luxury hotel group Belmond across the Caribbean. It is the UK’s number one exported luxury courtwear label and is also in the top 1 per cent of sustainable fashion brands worldwide due to its progressive recycled fabrics and ultra-low carbon supply chain. 

The National StartUp Awards was created in collaboration with the team behind the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, one of the most successful awards programmes in the UK. The StartUp Awards are running for the second year after launching in 2022. 

Founder and CEO of EXEAT, Laura Ward, said, “Being part of a startup is equal parts exhilarating and impossibly difficult. Some days it feels like you’re getting nowhere fast, so we felt absolutely thrilled that our hard work over the past two years had been recognised by the StartUp Awards and its fantastic judging panel.

“We’ve hit some huge milestones and having our award behind us as a seal of third-party approval has opened up really interesting conversations with investors and the media – it’s definitely given us a boost.

“The StartUp Awards is about so much more than just the trophies. After applying, you’re part of a community of the UK’s most exciting entrepreneurs – even the awards ceremony itself is a fantastic place to network with other local founders, and we’ve kept in touch with business owners we met there. The South West is jam packed with amazing startups, creative talent and entrepreneurship, so I would love to see more local businesses following in our footsteps and applying for the 2023 awards.”

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, founder of the StartUp Awards, said, “I’m proud to be launching the National StartUp Awards for the second year and supporting young businesses in the South West. Last year’s cohort of winners demonstrated the innovative and dynamic nature of the startup scene across the South West so I have no doubt that there are many more phenomenal new firms out there who deserve to be recognised for their enterprise, innovation and sheer hard work.

“The first few years of being in business can be the most challenging and crucial of them all – this is why I am passionate about highlighting the success of as many new businesses as I can by offering a platform on which they can reach new customers and to create the all-important opportunity for them to celebrate their achievements to date.

“I would urge any new business based in the South West, no matter what size, turnover or industry, to put themselves forward for the chance to get the recognition they deserve.”

Applications for the National StartUp Awards 2023 close on Friday 17th February. To enter for free, visit startup.awardsplatform.com.