Thursday, 1 May 2008

Are you an inspirational entrepreneur?


I’m working with BT Business to search for the UK’s 20 most inspiring entrepreneurs. Would that be you?

BT Business has launched its Essence of the Entrepreneur 2008 competition, now in its third year, to celebrate the nation’s finest small business owners who are using technology to help their business to succeed.

The 20 winners will have the essence of their business captured by famous portrait and fashion photographer Rankin. His portraits of the winners will be showcased at a high profile exhibition in January 2009 at gallery@oxo on London’s South Bank.

I will be heading up a panel which will award one of the 20 businesses the title of Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year and a prize of a £20,000 business grant from BT.

We will also be awarding the titles of Best Male, the Best Female, and the Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year as well as the Most Original Business Concept.

How will we select the winners? Well, I think it takes a lot of guts to take the plunge and start your own business – so I want to see that passion and dedication in the entries.

However, I am also looking for a business that is doing something different and unique and has a long term plan for successBT Business Entreprenuer.

The other members of the panel will include John Dunsmure, managing director of British Chamber of Commerce Enterprises, Gavin Dollin from Business Link, Mick Hegarty, marketing director BT Business, Tricia Phillips, MirrorWorks editor for the Daily Mirror and Adam Shaw from BBC2’s Working Lunch.

Small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy. They account for 99.9 per cent of businesses and 40 per cent of the UK’s turnover. We want to help and encourage them to succeed, applaud their determination and celebrate their spirit.

Over the last two years the BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur competition has celebrated a diverse range of businesses right across the UK including a landscape gardener, a retro sweet shop and an all-female construction company.

So go on – if you know someone who should earn this title, please do submit their details.

And if you need a bit of persuasion, previous winner Kerrie Keeling, founder of A Woman’s Touch, says: “The exposure my company has received as a result of the award has been phenomenal and has snowballed into some really?major opportunities.”

The closing date for the BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur competition is August 31, 2008.

For full details about how to enter and to see the past winners, visit



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