By Lea Pachta

Entrepreneurs making the most of technology to be immortalised by celebrity photographer-

Times may be challenging in the business world, but outstanding entrepreneurs across the UK are keeping ahead of the game with their ingenuity and innovation. Celebrating these small business success stories, BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur 2009 is an annual search looking for inspirational British companies who are using technology to drive their business forward. The contest honours the nation’s finest entrepreneurs and celebrates the achievements of small businesses that have demonstrated exceptional dedication and passion towards their work.

With the judging panel headed up by business tycoon Peter Jones of TV’s Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice runner-up, Rottweiler Claire Young, who now runs a consultancy and venue management company, applicants, will need to impress with their creativity, originality and business acumen.

Twenty finalists will be captured in an inspirational portrait that reflects the spirit of their business by Rankin, the renowned celebrity photographer. The resulting imagery will be displayed in a high profile exhibition at London’s gallery@oxo in January 2010.

Bill Murphy, managing director of BT Business said: “Now, more than ever, entrepreneurs and small businesses across the UK need the recognition and support that these awards are able to give them.”

“Technology is available to entrepreneurs in every field of business and we’re looking to recognise some of the businesses that have embraced the technology available and to help their business succeed.”

The twenty winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and one will be awarded with the title of Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year and the prize of a £10,000 business grant from BT. The judges will also be awarding the titles of Best Male, Best Female, Best Young Entrepreneur as well as the Most Original Business Concept.

Joining Peter Jones and Claire Young on this year’s judging panel are John Dunsmere, managing director of the British Chamber of Commerce, Gavin Dollin from Business Link, Robin McKenzie, marketing director of BT Business, Tricia Phillips, Mirror Works Editor for the Daily Mirror and a number of winners from previous years.

Peter Jones said: “The BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur is a great campaign to be involved in as these are the people that can help turn this country’s economy around. Whatever technology you use, being involved in this competition is an opportunity for any entrepreneur. By just applying makes you stop and think about the way you run your business and what you have achieved, which is important.”

Over the past three years businesses from across the UK have entered the competition and winners have been from a diverse range of industries including motoring, travel, music and retail.

Previous winner Nicola Grant from Holiday Nanny said; “Winning BT Business’s Essence of the Entrepreneur has been great fun and very exciting but also has meant a great deal to Holiday Nanny — it raised our profile, gave the business additional gravitas and on a personal level, I felt everything I had put into the business, all my hard work, long hours and sacrifices, had been recognised and rewarded!”

The closing date for the BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur competition is 31st August 2009. For full details about how to enter and see past winners, visit www.bt.com/entrepreneur.

Advice on how to enter Essence of the Entrepreneur from Peter Jones and a gallery of previous winner’s photographs by Rankin will be on display at the BT Business Experience, a free week-long event to be held in London from 29th June — 3rd July. As well as leading entrepreneur Peter Jones, leading business experts will also be on hand to offer one-to-one advice on key issues facing the SME community in these difficult times and how they may be able to use technology previously only available to large companies to help them succeed and thrive. For further information and to register your place please visit www.btbusinessexperience.com

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