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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

South Cumbria's business competition winners

THREE entrepreneurs in South Cumbria have bagged themselves a top prize to boost their businesses.

 The Evening Mail launched its Local Business Accelerators in October, inviting young business owners to put themselves up for the chance of winning three months of free advertising and mentoring from some of the region’s most successful bosses.

Other CN Group titles; the Cumberland News and the Times and Star/Whitehaven News, also took part. 

The competition, spearheaded by the Newspaper Society, was a huge success in the south; receiving 21 applications - well above the national average of six per paper.

A shortlist of 10 was drawn up, with shortlisted businesses invited to pitch to a panel of judges; chief executive of the Holker Group, Duncan Peake, Forge Europa’s Peter Barton, Mike Armstead from Wax Lyrical, Sarah Stables from the University of Cumbria’s Business School, David Threlkeld from Armstrong Watson and Evening Mail business correspondent Amy Fenton.  

After a gruelling four weeks’ judging, the winners can now be revealed:
The Cumbrian Pig Company run by Angus Duncan, will be mentored by Mike Armstead.
Cumbrian Energy Assessors’ Adele Broadhurst will be mentored by Duncan Peake.
Cumbria Karting’s Jonathan Chapman will be mentored by Peter Barton.

The mentors already have ideas how they can add value to the winners’ businesses.

Mr Armstead said: “The three companies have been selected; a tough choice as others could well have made the cut. However we have the right three and I am already spending a great deal of time thinking of ways I can add value, contacts I have made over the years and relevant experiences.
“My overriding ambition is to add value, how that manifests itself will be as much up to the companies selected, the first meeting will reveal what they want from the mentoring process, in my case I hope they want a great deal.”

Mr Barton added: “It is clear that all three winners already have a clear vision as to how to develop their businesses and I have no doubt they will all be very successful!
“However, we can all benefit from fresh input, testing ideas and plans, and hopefully this may allow the winners to grow their businesses more quickly, providing additional economic and employment opportunities for the area.”

The shortlisted entrants who narrowly missed out were; Cowran Estate, Street Asylum, Teenautos, Lakes Bakery, Doe Wood Lodges, Turnstone Consultancy and Cinderella Me.

The three winners will each get a personalised three-month advertising campaign in the Evening Mail.

Advertising director Frank Stretton said: “We’re really looking forward to meeting with the winners and tailoring an advertising package which will be seen by the 46,000 people who read the paper in print and online every day; and help them to grow their businesses.”

The University of Cumbria will also provide access to free business courses and advice, while free business and accountancy advice is on offer from Armstrong Watson.

David Threlkeld, senior business services partner at Armstrong Watson, said: “In these gloomy economic times it was most refreshing to hear of successful new businesses from a wide spectrum of sectors being lead by businessmen and women with the necessary grit and determination to make a difference and grow their businesses profitably.
“As part of the support offered we will provide a financial ‘health check’ covering matters ranging from forecasting and budgeting to book-keeping to tax and VAT planning but most importantly we will be encouraging the winners to focus on working on their business rather than in it.”

The winners were delighted to hear the news.

Adele Broadhurst said: “It’s my birthday today (weds) and finding out I’ve won is the best present ever!
I think the prize will give me a real boost, I’m at a bit of a crossroads in terms of where to take the business next, so the mentoring will really help me to develop the company. The exposure will also be a massive help.”

Angus Duncan said: “I’m delighted; the recession I’ve seen sales go down and winning the competition will give me a real reinvigoration.
“I’m keen to get into pubs and restaurants, and the exposure and mentoring will be a real help.”

Jonathan Chapman said: “That’s fantastic, I’m really pleased and it shows all the hard work’s paid off.
“I’m really looking forward to getting the bowling in the unit and this prize will really help with that.”

For the next three months, the three winners will meet with their mentors, have access to the business support and receive exposure in the Evening Mail. At the end of the three months, the Newspaper Society and Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden, the LBA’s national ambassador, will pick one national winner.

The Evening Mail’s Amy Fenton ran the competition.

She said: “We’re delighted to be able to give three businesses such a massive boost; the advertising and mentoring will give our winners a fantastic opportunity to accelerate their businesses.
“It was incredibly hard to pick just three winners and all the judges were keen to pay credit to all the entrants who, although they made our task a difficult one, each put forward such a strong case. The next step is to make sure one of our winners goes on to win the national competition!”

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