By Claire West
• BT Business announced the 20 winners of their annual Essence of the Entrepreneur competition as judged by a panel including Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones.
• The winners, who have proved the use of technology has helped them succeed, are running a variety of successful businesses including a jam manufacturer, a social networking site for mums, a luxury holiday company and a tyre distributor.
• The winners have had the essence of their business captured in a stunning portrait by renowned photographer Rankin. The images will be displayed in an exhibition at the gallery@oxo on London’s South Bank from 29th January — 1st March 2009.
• The 20 winners were selected from hundreds of entries from across the UK by a panel of judges which also included BBC Radio 4’s Adam Shaw, Daily Mirror journalist Tricia Philips and John Dunsmere from the British Chambers of Commerce. For the first time BT Business also awarded a £20,000 business grant to the Most Outstanding Entrepreneur, Michael Welch, founder of BlackCircles.com; an online tyre retailer where customers can order through the website and have their tyres fitted through a network of 987 independent tyre franchisees.
• In addition the judges awarded certain winners additional accolades to celebrate their achievements:
• Young Entrepreneur — SuperJam. Fraser Doherty set up SuperJam at the age of 14, selling his range of 100% fruit jam using his Gran’s secret recipes
• Female Entrepreneur – BEcause. An experiential marketing agency set up by Sharon Richey to create live experiences where consumers can interact with brands on a more personal level
• Male Entrepreneur — LiftShare.com Ali Clabburn founded the UK’s largest car-sharing network to help individuals travel in an environmentally friendly way
• Original Business Concept — Young Marmalade Collaborating with car manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, Crispin Moger set up Young Marmalade to provide an online one-stop-shop to get young drivers on the road.