The winners of the 2017 Haines Watts Young Entrepreneur of the Year finals are Lauren Prentice of Sense Theatre and Bruce Casalis of Bruce’s Doggy Day Care (BDDC).
Prentice started Sense Theatre in 2011 when she was just 21. It originally offered children’s after-school drama clubs, however in 2016 she sold this side of the company to focus on ‘Sense Parties’ – children’s themed parties, as well as selling group-priced theatre tickets.
Her plans involve rapid growth, including launching a new sister company to offer children’s cookery classes in schools. Prentice said: “I think every entrepreneur has to be a workaholic, but I love what I do. I’m constantly adding new revenue streams to our offerings so that we can face anything the future throws at us.”
Bruce Casalis was 24 when he started multi-award-winning business Bruce’s Doggy Day Care in 2009. He now has two dog crèche centres in Cobham and Ripley, Surrey, each set in the countryside with swimming pools, agility courses, trampolines, heated indoor areas, gazebos, and grooming parlour.
He said: “I identified a gap in the UK market for a better alternative to dog walking services and now BDDC has grown into the UK’s largest dog day care provider of its kind. BDDC has witnessed huge growth and is forecast to increase further. However, most importantly I have ensured my mantra of ‘loving our customers’ dogs as much as they do’ remains.”
BDDC was named best UK pet service provider in the 2016 national Pet Industry Federation Awards. Part of its success has come about because of its strict record-keeping and it has a unique customer iPhone app and staff iPad app, as well as cloud-based CRM software to track every detail. It now plans to expand and become the UK’s most respected and recognised dog day care service.
Jane Gregory of Haines Watts said: “The winners received cash, free mentoring and publicity as part of their prizes. Congratulations to them.”
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