IT’S not too late to make your business dreams come true.
The deadline for our Sunderland University-backed Business Creation competition was due to expire today.
But after a flurry of last-minute entries, we’ve decided to extend the deadline for a week to make sure no-one misses out.
Our prize package includes:
l£1,500 to invest in starting a new business.
l A year’s free mentoring from the university’s dean of business and law Professor Bernie Callaghan and Harland Hair and Beauty’s Darren Williams, on a quarterly basis.
l Marketing support from Callaghan Marketing director Lesley Callaghan.
l Two hours of legal and accountancy advice from city accountants TTR Barnes and solicitors Mortons, to be taken at the winner’s convenience.
Bernie, founder of the Leighton Group, said: “Encouraging enterprise is very important, especially given the way the economy is at the moment.
“One of the ways we will come out of the economic problems we have been having is by encouraging the creation of new businesses and encouraging entrepreneurship.”
He said no one should ever be shy of seeking advice from those who have been through the trial and tribulations of setting up a business.
“You have got to be very thick-skinned, you have got to persevere, you have got to accept you are going to make mistakes and learn from every one you make.
“Get as much advice as you can from people like me, who have been there and done it.
“Not only have I worked in a start-up business myself, but in my time as CEO of Software City I worked with a lot of small business people, encouraging growth, giving them guidance and helping them develop their businesses.”
Darren added: “A competition like this is one of those things that gives people the motivation to take that step, it gives them that push.
“Winning something makes you look back at what you have achieved, but is also gives you a boost to look forward to what you want to do. We are offering people the chance to have that boost all year long.”
A shortlist will be drawn up and entrants will be invited to pitch their ideas, Dragon’s Den-style, to Bernie and Darren.
Partners Ivan Carr and Ian Ashby have applied with their idea of a sub-contractors’ website, www.subeaze.com
“If you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win the lottery,” said Ivan.
To enter, send details of your business idea to Sunderland Echo Business Generator Competition, Evolve Centre, Cygnet Way, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton, DH4 5QY, by next Friday, December 14.