Business brains urged to gear up for Startups Awards

NEW BUSINESSES in Carrick could be recognised for their start-up efforts by entering a national competition this month.

But prospective entrants will have to get their skates on, as entries close in less than two weeks.

Companies have until September 14 to enter the ninth annual Startups Awards, which celebrate the success of businesses in the UK that have been trading for under three years.

In a recent survey of 400 businesspeople, 81 per cent admitted to being influenced by awards when buying products and services for their business. So organisers ask: “What’s stopping you?”

Sponsored by NatWest and organised by Startups.co.uk, the UK’s biggest independent resource dedicated to starting a business, previous winners at the Awards over the past eight years have included some of the UK’s fastest rising brands - such as Wonga.com, Naked Wines, BeatThatQuote.com (sold to Google for £37.7m), BLOTTR and The Cambridge Satchel Company.

There are 13 awards up for grabs this year, including two new categories; Freelance Business of the Year and Trade Business of the Year as well as Product Business of the Year and Young Start-up of the Year.

Duncan Bannatyne, of Dragons’ Den fame, will lead the judging panel alongside a number of other entrepreneurs and business experts including Kevin Byrne, managing director of checkatrade.com, and James Hurley, enterprise editor for the Daily Telegraph.

Michael Hayes organised Scotland’s first Startup Weekend event - which sees entrants compete to build a working business idea in just 54 hours - in Glasgow in May this year. He also runs his own start-up, blog RookieOven.com. He said he would encourage any start-uppers to enter.

“The more people who know about you, what you are working on and what you hope to achieve the quicker you can learn your weaknesses and put them right. And awards like these can always open doors to great things. Exposure is good,” he said.

David Lester, founder of Startups.co.uk, added: “I am overwhelmed at the number of successful start-ups that are thriving in Scotland and across the UK today, the quality of the businesses that have entered so far is outstanding. I am confident that we are on target for a record year.”

Entrants should visit www.startupsawards.co.uk to request an entry pack. This year’s winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Kensington Roof Gardens, on Friday December 7.