Sunderland Echo Portfolio Award success can be as sweet for you

Martin O'Neill of Sweet Home Alabama picked up the Portfolio 2010 Small Business Award.

Martin O'Neill of Sweet Home Alabama picked up the Portfolio 2010 Small Business Award.

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MARTIN O’Neill has enjoyed the sweet taste of success with the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards – and now he is urging others to do the same.

Martin picked up the Small Business, Fewer than 50 Employees award last year for his High Street West candy shop Sweet Home Alabama – but admits he never expected to be taking home the trophy.

“I was absolutely delighted,” said Martin.

“We did not expect to win at all because there was some very stiff competition, so it was absolutely brilliant to be recognised for five years’ hard work.

“We have already booked our table for the awards night this year and we are really looking forward to it. The awards matter because it is important to support business here on Wearside. It is definitely worth entering.

“We have a retail drift in Sunderland – the money earned here is being spent in other cities, so the more we can make people aware of the need to support Sunderland businesses, the better.”

There’s still time to enter this year’s awards – but only just.

Entries for the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards 2011 close today, after we extended the deadline for a week.

This year’s awards categories are: Entrepreneur of the Year; Special Community; Technology; Green Business; Small Business below 50 employees; Business with 50 employees or more; Employer; Employee; Young Business; Training; Manufacturing and Creative Industries, plus a Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Sunderland Council and a Graduate of the Year Award, nominated by the University of Sunderland.

The city council is again our main sponsor, and others include Thompson’s Building Centres, Azure, Gentoo, CES Group, Northumbrian Water, Verum Victum, Press Ahead, The Bridges, Sunderland AFC, Seaham Hall, Morton’s solicitors and TTR Barnes.

To enter or to book a table for October’s presentation evening {http://www.echoportfolioawards.co.uk|click here}

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