Allan Thompson (left) and his cute creations celebrate with Theo Paphitis.
Photograph: courtesy of Allan Thompson

A children’s author from Hackney met former Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis last week – after winning the business tycoon’s popular Twitter competition.

Paphitis, whose retail empire includes Rymans Stationers and Robert Dyas, runs a weekly contest called Small Business Sunday.

Entrepreneurs from across the country tweet him a brief description of their work, and the magnate picks his six favourites to retweet to his 490,000 followers.

To date, just one per cent of 370,000 entrants have earned Paphitis’ recognition, and the profile boost that comes with it.

One of those success stories is Hackney resident and illustrator Allan Thompson, who got the chance to meet Paphitis last week at an annual event celebrating Small Business Sunday and its winners.

Thompson’s cast of characters feature on his website and in his children’s books.
Image: courtesy of Allan Thompson

Thompson runs, a preschool website full of activities and games that are centred around a “cute, pink, lovable, but somewhat clumsy monkey” and his family and friends.

Thompson writes and illustrates everything himself, and has also released three children’s books featuring his creations.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted being chosen from thousands of applicants to win this accolade.

“I’ve only been in business a little over a year and I still work out of my living room.

“It is great to have support from Theo because it’s been tough trying to raise our profile and he has recognised our hard work and helped spread the word about what we do to his following.”

Thompson says Small Business Sunday, which uses the hashtag #SBS, has brought him “unprecedented exposure nationwide”, and will help him in “bringing smiles and joy to young children growing up in east London”.

Paphitis added: “We are thrilled to welcome new #SBS members such as Allan Thompson every week and highlight just how important it is to support our small businesses here in the UK.

“My vision is that everyone who has ever won an #SBS retweet from me becomes part of a friendly club of like-minded individuals who can share successes and learnings.

“I wish Allan Thompson and every success.”

To find out more about Allan Thompson’s work, head to

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