As the semi-finalists gear up for the grand finale of The Big Start Up Loans competition, we take a look at who’s in the running.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you might’ve heard about our partnership with Start Up Loans. A government funded not-for-profit organisation, Start Up Loans aims to help get as many small businesses as possible on the road to success. As a team, they’ve been providing advice, expertise and funding since 2012 to take off a bit of that start up strain. As part of our partnership, we provide hosting solutions to businesses working with Start Up Loans.
2014 has been a big year for the great British start up. Over 400,000 new businesses have come to fruition this year alone, a figure which shows no sign of slowing down. Having backed over 20,000 businesses, the guys at Start Up Loans have lent a whopping £100 million so far, and earlier this year – in the wake of this achievement – they began their quest to find the most innovative, impressive and downright genius start up that Britain has to offer, sponsored by none other than yours truly.
It’s certainly no easy feat to make the shortlist…
A panel of certified business experts were drafted in from the deepest depths of the business talent pool, to create an X Factor-esque board of judges. This included none other than UK2’s very own Chief Operating Officer John Morris. The panelists have been compiling a shortlist of semi-finalists, as chosen from a plethora of business ventures as different from one another as chalk and cheese. Of the contestants, John says: “This year’s entrants were really impressive. It just goes to show the innovative ideas that British entrepreneurs have. New businesses should try to find a niche, to fill a demand or do something that’s already been done in a new way. All these entrants have certainly succeeded in this; they’re very deserving of the recognition they’ll receive from these awards.”
As of now, the deliberation has drawn to a close and our semi-finalists have been revealed ahead of the awards. The cream of the business crop now lie in waiting for the ceremony which will be held on Monday 3rd November at the Mayor’s Office. Let’s take a look at a few from the shortlist which really caught this blogger’s eye…
It’s rather unsurprising that this particular start up caught our attention. As with many good businesses, The Pudding Pantry does exactly what it says on the tin, providing a mouthwatering selection of world foods. Their mission statement? ‘To provide the kind of food and coffee that will keep you coming back”. We wonder if they’ll have our judges coming back for more…
It’s safe to say that the majority of us have been there… Living in a shared house can be the best experience of a lifetime, but the argy-bargy of sorting out the who-pays-what of the household bills can cause unnecessary upset. Never fear: Dividabill has heard your cry of distress. They aim to solve your woes by splitting the bills evenly between tenants and billing you for your equal portion of the monthly expenses. Do you think they’ll have the judges divided?
Entertaining your little ones can be a real struggle at times; do they ever stop moving? Weekend Box are on hand to help! Providing a weekly postal service of activity boxes, Weekend Box sort your weekend out for you, keeping the whole family entertained and saving you time, resources and cash in the process! But will it be enough to win over our panel of judges? We’ll find out soon enough.
So what’s on offer for the winner?
The start up of the year will receive a cash prize of £5,000, along with an iMac and other goodies; we like to call it a business survival guide. It’s not all doom and gloom for our runners up, though, as 10 regional winners will get their hands on a cash prize and 22 runners up will also be recognised.
While our finalists have been busy beavering away at their final three-minute business pitches, we’ve been getting all excited over next week’s event, and now that the competition is closed for deliberation there’s nothing more to do but to sit back and wait… Stay tuned to hear about who will come out on top!
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