IT takes ambition, expertise and a great deal of hard work to open a successful business in these difficult times.
And the North East Business Awards are a way of recognising and encourage the talent of those young enterprises, which are hoped to one day grow into much bigger businesses.
Last year, the winner of the Newcomer of the Year title was Simply Bows and Chair Covers, a four-year-old firm launched by Sarah Pittendrigh from her home in Kiln Pit Hill in south Northumberland.
She said she started the business from nothing with the aim of paying off her mortgage and went on to create a multi-award-winning business that turned over £1m in its first three years. The firm provides chair covers and linen for weddings, balls and corporate events – a niche which Pittendrigh discovered after she helped organise her brother’s wedding.
She launched a franchise operation in 2010 and, two years on, has plans to have 30 running by next year.
It’s hoped her success will inspire others to follow her entrepreneurial lead and show you don’t need extraordinary technical knowledge or years of management expertise to run a business and do very well.
The awards – organised by The Journal and the Evening Gazette and sponsored once again by the North East Chamber of Commerce – will give firms of every size and type the chance to show what makes them special in 10 categories, and they have until 5pm on December 28 to get their entries in. Since 2001, when the sub-regional heats were launched, around 2,500 companies have entered at least one of the award categories.
Simon Exley, managing director, ncjmedia and Gazette Media Group, said: “We have become accustomed in recent years to talking about how important it is to celebrate success, even when times are tough for the economy.
“The great thing about the North East Business Awards is how they shine a spotlight on those companies that are defying the tough times.”