Budding entrepreneurs are urged to enter South Kesteven District Council’s annual SK Pioneers competition with the chance of winning £1000 for their business.
Young, small and start-up companies trading within the district can submit ideas and plans for an innovative business venture or growth idea.
Grantham Business Club is this year providing a judging panel of local, high profile business people.
The winner will be announced and presented with their prize at the Grantham Journal Business Awards at Belton House, on Wednesday, April 13, at the start of the Belton Horse Trials.
Judging will be through a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style evaluation with entrants pitching their ideas. An added bonus will be mentoring or further financial support to shortlisted businesses.
An individual or business must be based within South Kesteven, paying household or business rates to SKDC, and have been trading for 36 months or less.
As well as the £1,000 first prize for the winner, there will be runners up prizes of £250 from the Federation of Small Businesses and a further £150 for a highly commended entry.
Last year’s winner, Sarah Goss of the Savvy Food Company, confirmed how valuable the award was to her, both practically, for the profile of her sausage manufacturing business, and her own confidence in the product.
She said: “The cash prize was brilliant. It helped me pay for casual labour at markets and help at events. It also paid for the branding and set up of my market stall, as well as my portable hotplate which I use to cook up samples. Without a doubt it gave me the leg up needed to break into market trading, for which I am so grateful.”
In the last year Sarah has built up production of her healthy vegetable and pork sausages by working alongside the award-winning Ancaster Butchers – and identified that adults like Savvy sausages as much as children.
Her 2015 sales target was smashed by farmers’ markets, fayres, a growing customers base and a ‘ludicrously luxurious’ Christmas sausage and stuffing range with chestnuts, pork, lots of rich fruit and lashings of port and brandy.
Sarah’s aim is to develop more new flavours this year and identify new sales outlets. She added: “Winning an award like SK Pioneers boosts your confidence when someone else believes in your idea. It’s been really valuable and I would encourage anyone to enter.”
SKDC leader and executive member for growth, Councillor Bob Adams, said: “Helping our new young businesses to get off the ground and grow is essential for the future economic health of the district. We are delighted to be running our SK Pioneers competition again and I am looking forward to seeing this year’s entries.”
Doug Balderson, chairman of the South Kesteven FSB branch, said: “We are delighted to be involved again with Enterprise Week and pleased to be offering the £250 as SK Pioneers runner up prize.
“This is a competition encouraging budding young entrepreneurs to swell the number of small businesses, the engine of our country. The FSB, as experts in business, aims to help and support smaller businesses in achieving their ambitions.”
Entry forms are available from the Enterprise Week website at www.skdcenterpriseweek.co.uk where they can be downloaded or filled in and returned online.
The closing date is March 24, and judging will take place week commencing April 4.