By Max Clarke

Metro has announced the winners of the nationwide competition, Venture Candy 2011, to find the UK’s next top entrepreneurs.

“As one of the UK’s most innovative media brands, we’re proud to celebrate entrepreneurship and creativity and offer small businesses the opportunity of a lifetime to turn their business into a reality," said Linda Grant, Metro's MD.

The aim of Venture Candy is to provide growing enterprises with the exposure, profile and support they need to transform themselves into the talked-about brands of the future. The finalists were chosen by a panel of judges, including Stuart Trevor, Sarah Beeny, Piers Linney, Jo Malone MBE, Tyler Moorehead and Richard Reed.

Voted for by Metro readers, the winners are:

Design and Technology category - ParcelGenie, an app which allows friends and relatives to mark occasions by sending small inexpensive gifts quickly and easily through a mobile phone without an address. The gift can then be picked up at the recipient’s place of choice. ParcelGenie received 78% of the votes in this category.

Food and Drink category - Bear, a company which produces natural sugar-free snacks based on the diet of bears which live in the wild. Bear received 54% of the votes in this category.

Green category - has the answers to key cycling questions and aims to connect the cycling community including buyers, sellers and specialised suppliers via one easily accessible market. Going Going Bike won 36% of the votes in this category.

Health and Beauty category - Filthy Gorgeous offers top-to-toe treatments for women who are short on time or those who just like to be pampered. Filthy Gorgeous won 51% of the votes in this category.

Fashion and Interiors - is an online marketplace for homewares, fashions and gifts from small independent boutiques. won 51% of the votes in this category.

More than 1,500 small firms entered the competition to search for the nation’s most innovative new enterprises. The shortlist was whittled down to three finalists in each category and put to a public vote. Metro received more than 16,000 votes for readers’ favourite new businesses.

The winners will each receive a host of valuable business assets that will give them the business foundations they need to grow including:

• £50k minimum ad campaign per category winner (£250k in total) in Metro
• Marketing and branding advice from The Scarlett Mark, the co-creators of Venture Candy
• Ad campaign creation from The School of Communication Arts
• Exposure to a high profile panel of successful entrepreneurs
• Business club membership from Adam Street Members Club
• Cloud based unified communications solution from Outsourcery

"This is the second year of Venture Candy and is an opportunity for Metro, as the newspaper of choice for young urban professionals, to champion emerging new talent," continued Grant.

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness