9 small UK businesses win Barclays innovation awards

Wanobe Founder Dave Noble applauds the entrepreneurialism of the UK's small firms

I am happy to see that the spirit of entrepreneurialism in bringing great ideas to the marketplace is alive and thriving among the UK’s small firms.

A portable heated seat cover, a new generation ice cream parlour and smart labels for food jars were among the nine small-business ideas to each win a £50,000 prize in the 2011 Barclays ‘Take One Small Step’ awards.

The awards were open to both established small businesses with plans to grow and would-be entrepreneurs trying to get their business ideas off the ground.

More than 5,000 small businesses registered to take part in the competition. A panel of judges then picked 27 finalists, whose entries were brought to life by videos which were published on the Take One Small Step website.

Following a public vote online, nine regional winners have each been awarded £50,000 prize money to invest in their enterprises, and will receive free support and advice from Barclays experts.

Alongside the regional winners, 18 shortlisted companies will each receive £3,000 to support their business development.

Steve Cooper, Managing Director of Business and Personal Banking Solutions, Barclays UK Retail Banking, said: “This is a life-changing moment for these deserving businesses and we intend to support them every step of the way in order to help build the next generation of SMEs in the UK.”

The winners range from an innovative ice cream parlour which offers a vast array of flavour combinations, to an educational group which plans to use the prize money to reconstruct a Roman fort.

The winners:

Central: Goodeseats
Goodeseats’ star product is a portable heated stadium seat cover, which comes in club colours and features a club logo.

Eastern: The Student Pocket Guide
A mobile phone application providing discounts, competitions, tips and advice for students.

London: RMP Enterprise
A student recruitment business, founded by three students in 2007.

North East: Choc Cards
Foil-wrapped milk chocolate bars, made to a Belgian chocolate recipe, designed with individual wrappers to mark a range of events.

North West: Salad|Bowl
Healthy, delicious lunches delivered to customers’ desks on demand.

Scotland: UWI Technology
Smart labels for food jars that combat unnecessary food waste and help consumers save money.

South West: Lick Me I’m Delicious
A new generation ice cream parlour, offering hand-churned ice cream creations from a vast combination of flavours and ingredients.

Southern: Snuggle Bundl
A unique baby lifting and carrying blanket, which helps parents and carers who have trouble bending or stooping to move their babies.

Wales & West: The Roman Fort Project
Providing Roman educational tours and visits for over 30,000 school children a year, bringing history to life.

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About Wanobe, the business knowledge network
Writer, journalist and broadcaster, sixty-something David likes nothing better than being with family and friends, eating out and drinking great wines, and scuba diving.

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