Jo Bates and Thumbsie® are not only helping children kick the thumb-sucking habit but have also clinched a spot as finalists in the prestigious 2023 Great British Entrepreneur Awards, celebrating their entrepreneurial journey and award-winning business.

Jo Bates is the founder of Thumbsie Ltd, an award-winning business that has helped thousands of children stop thumb sucking in a fun and positive way. Based in Buckinghamshire, Thumbsie® are the UK market leaders of handmade fabric thumb and finger guards. Endorsed by the Oral Health Foundation and recommended by dentists worldwide, these simple yet effective guards fit over the thumb or fingers and are secured with Velcro around the wrist.

In 2013, Bates’ struggle to help her youngest daughter stop sucking her thumb inspired her to start the business. With a passion for creativity and sewing, she made a fabric guard which provided a positive experience compared to other methods. Within five weeks, her daughter had stopped sucking her thumb completely. Bates realised there was an opportunity to provide an effective solution for other families facing the same challenge.

Over the last 10 years, Thumbsie® has reached the finals of 19 business awards and won eight of them, including Small Business of the Year in 2023’s Business Awards UK. The company has also won Product of the Year in the 2020 Family Network Awards and Innovation of the Year in the 2019 Dental Industry Awards. 

In 2020, Thumbsie® was approved as an official product by the Oral Health Foundation, demonstrating its effectiveness in stopping thumb sucking and preventing dental problems. Bates now looks to the dental market as an area of future growth, with dentists recognising the value of recommending Thumbsie® guards to patients.

Jo Bates and Thumbsie® are finalists in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2023, the “Grammys of Entrepreneurship” which celebrate the UK’s most inspiring entrepreneurs. To learn more about this award-winning business and entrepreneur, visit