Mark Flanagan Named ‘Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year’

Mark Flanagan, Founder and CEO of Manchester-based Shield Safety Group, has been awarded ‘Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year’ for the NW region at The Allica Bank Great British Entrepreneur Awards, held at the Grosvenor House, London on 20 November.

Recognised annually as one of the most prestigious accolades in the entrepreneurial world, The Allica Bank Great British Entrepreneur Awards received over 5,000 applications this year alone. Judged by a panel of some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders, including the founders of Specsavers, Poundland, and Innocent, the initiative celebrates and champions entrepreneurs across the UK, building communities to support their endeavours at various stages of their journey, and are a beacon of excellence in the entrepreneurial landscape.

Shield Safety is a leading UK provider of professional services and software solutions across food safety, health and safety and fire safety. It employs 123 people, is now the largest employer of Environmental Health Practitioners in the UK, and supports businesses of all sizes from independent and large chain restaurants, bars and gyms, to major grocery chains.

The company, which saw sales of £8.86 million in 2022, has grown significantly since its formation in 2003, thanks to its trail blazing, highly innovative approach, led by Mark and his senior team. Notable achievements include the introduction of RiskProof, its bespoke, award-winning risk management software, protecting clients against risks to their business and their customer’s health and safety, reducing annual insurance premiums and improving their environmental footprint.

Mark is also the founder of Safe to Trade, a robust, comprehensive, Primary Authority Assured Food, Hygiene and Health and Safety Standard. It’s the first voluntary third-party assurance programme for the hospitality sector, designed to protect and care for the public. A standard that leads and directs the sector, devised in collaboration with leading food safety experts, operators and regulators, and implemented by highly trained independent teams of Environmental Health Practitioners.

The initiative builds on the requirements of the FSA’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and includes additional essential standards such as allergen safety, labelling and front-of-house operations, all of which will help enhance the hospitality experience for guests.

Mark comments: “I am delighted and honoured to be presented with such a highly regarded award, by the esteemed judges. It’s been quite a journey to date and is testament to Shield Safety’s pioneering approach to supporting our clients and their customers with all aspects of environmental health and safety.”

Francesca James, Founder of The Allica Bank Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said: “I am thrilled to witness the extraordinary achievements of this year’s winners. Their success stories are a testament to the dynamic and innovative spirit that thrives within UK entrepreneurship. These inspiring entrepreneurs embody the creativity, determination, and passion that are at the heart of our nation’s business success. Their accomplishments not only celebrate their own journeys but also light the way for future generations of innovators and business leaders”.

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