Award-winning businesswoman and allergy campaigner Julianne Ponan MBE was one of only a handful of small business owners invited to showcase their products at the annual Downing Street Festive Fair.
Julianne, who runs her business from its HQ in Surrey, showcased the top 14 allergen-free products that she’s created with her team – Julianne has severe and life-threatening allergies and it was this that inspired her to set up her challenger brand over a decade ago. Since then she’s run her business while campaigning for more awareness around allergies and food intolerance.
“It was wonderful to be part of a small group of people invited to the fair this year – I even got to post our brand new Sticky Toffee Pudding mix through the letter box at No. 10!
“As part of the day I took part in an SME roundtable event to the top people in government and it was fantastic being able to voice the challenges British small businesses like mine are facing as well as sharing the positives.”
The annual Downing Street Christmas Fair is an opportunity for invited businesses, charities and community groups to attend, meet the Prime Minister and other government ministers and witness the switching on of the Christmas lights in the most famous street in England.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I am delighted to welcome some fantastic small businesses, charities and local communities to Downing Street to mark this special occasion and celebrate the joy of Christmas. This event is also especially important as we look ahead to Small Business Saturday, which is a great opportunity to showcase the huge impact independent businesses have in driving growth and opportunity in our communities.”
Small Business Saturday takes place in the UK on the first Saturday in December and is an awareness campaign to encourage people to buy from British businesses, particularly those in local communities.
This latest invite has topped an amazing year for Julianne who received an MBE from The Princess Royal, Anne at Windsor Castle in the summer. Of those who received an Honour in 2023, only 2.3 per cent were women of colour and of mixed ethnicity.
Julianne has broken barriers by carving her path in the food industry with her allergy-safe business, Creative Nature and in championing the rights of those living with allergies and intolerance. She’s also outspoken on any issues that disadvantage women in business.