Entries open for best new businesses

Startups Awards judge, Duncan Bannatyne.   Pic by Daniel Brookman

Startups Awards judge, Duncan Bannatyne. Pic by Daniel Brookman

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The ninth annual Startups Awards 2012 have launched and are now open for businesses across Northern Ireland to submit their nominations.

Sponsored by NatWest and organised by Startups.co.uk, the UK’s biggest and most established independent resource dedicated to starting a business, the Awards recognise the success of Britain’s newest businesses which have been trading for less than three years.

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.

Commenting on winning the Startups Online Business of the Year Award 2011 David Grimes of myparceldelivery.com, said: “Being named as the Startups ‘Online Business of the Year’ was an unbelievable feeling. Being recognised by such a prestigious Awards scheme has done wonders for myParcelDelivery.com and all the team here.”

There are thirteen awards up for grabs this year, including two new categories; Trade Business of the Year and Freelance Business of the Year as well as Online Business of the Year, Innovative Business of the Year and the overall NatWest Startups Business of the Year 2012, the winner of which is selected from the winners of the other categories.

Duncan Bannatyne, of Dragons’ Den fame, will sit on the judging panel with a number of other highly successful entrepreneurs and business experts including Kate Russell, reporter and journalist for BBC Click and Julie Deane, co-founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company, winner of the NatWest Startups Business of the Year award last year.

The organisers are delighted to have NatWest on board as the headline sponsor for the fifth year running and also welcome category sponsors; Printed.com - Online Business of The Year, The Made Simple Group - Young Start-up of the Year and Simply Business - Freelance Start-up of the Year.

David Lester, founder of Startups.co.uk, said: “As one in three start-up businesses don’t make it beyond the first year of trading, we are rightly proud of the Startups Awards which recognise those that successfully negotiate these early hurdles.

“Each year we unearth a whole set of innovative new businesses representing the unique diversity the start-up community has to offer, from home businesses to franchisees. I am confident we will have another fantastic pick of companies, from Northern Ireland and across the UK, which will show that, despite the recession, British innovation is still booming.”

The deadline for entries is September 14, 2012. Visit www.startupsawards.co.uk to request your entry pack. To be eligible to enter businesses must have been trading for less than three years, must be privately owned and employ less than 60 staff.

This year’s winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Kensington Roof Gardens, on Friday, December 7, 2012. Finalists, judges, journalists and sponsors will be attending these awards.