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Istoria Group Chairwoman is 2x Finalist at GBEA

Published on Thursday, 23rd July 2020, contributed by Istoria Group

Istoria Group’s Chairwoman, Claire Menzies, is a contender for two Great British Entrepreneur Awards

We’re delighted to share that our Founder and Chairwoman has been shortlisted for the Creative Industries Entrepreneur and Scale-up Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 2020 Great British Entrepreneur Awards for the South West region!

Despite a very tough year for so many, we’re told that there were a phenomenal number of applications and it’s clear that entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and well.

Below is an overview of each of the categories and what it takes to be a finalist.


Creative entrepreneurs run businesses in which the creation process has an economic impact, a social impact and a cultural impact. The Great British Entrepreneur Awards Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year will be the entrepreneur driving a profit-making business whose output is the unique product of the human imagination, also known as intellectual property.


The Scale-up Entrepreneur of the Year Award seeks to redress the balance by championing entrepreneurs that have put everything into strategising the expansion and cost of doing business. Behind them, a very traceable history of extending reach and revenue. Ahead of them lies the constant hunt for business multipliers. The business must have achieved at least 20% growth in each of the last three years, with at least 10 employees at the start of that period.


As Chairwoman at Istoria Group, the board benefits from Claire’s professional experience spanning 30 years in the creative sector, including senior roles at top agencies. She is a visionary leader and a true inspiration.

Claire’s journey to becoming an entrepreneur started at her first role at a leading FMCG corporation. Frustrated by the restrictions imposed on her creative role, Claire resigned, bought a one way ticket to Europe and was given the opportunity to sail around the world. This proved to be both life changing and business defining - a catalyst for future passions that would balance people, planet and prosperity.

Claire returned to the UK to work for a leading global creative agency and began to innovate and educate her peers and clients in sustainable ways. However, after a decade of trying to make a major and lasting impact in an industry where female leadership was severely underrepresented, with a slow-to-change and wasteful practice mentality, she chose to use her entrepreneurial skills for the better and in 2007 she founded Ignition (the largest agency within Istoria Group, specialising in exhibitions, events and experiences). Her vision was to start a company that balances people, planet and prosperity and deliver great work for her clients.

In her own words:

“It’s a no-brainer that a happy company is not only more productive but creates a better experience for clients too. Investment in people always makes impeccable – and sustainable – business sense.”

Inclusivity is fundamental and trusting those which Claire surrounds herself with has allowed her to flourish as an entrepreneur. Claire truly believes the well known phrase ‘leave it to the experts’. Throughout her career to date, Claire has met exceptional individuals and collaborated with progressive brands, all focussed on making a positive difference to society.

The regional finals will be online, announcing the results on the 23rd September 2020. Good luck to everyone involved.

We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for Claire!