Win help for your fledgling business

Software City's Bernie Callaghan and Darren Williams are to be judges of a new 'Dragons Den' style award to Portfolio.
Software City's Bernie Callaghan and Darren Williams are to be judges of a new 'Dragons Den' style award to Portfolio.
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ENTREPRENEUR Darren Williams is desperate for someone to follow in his footsteps.

Darren set up his own business, Harland Hair and Beauty, and now he wants to encourage other people to take the plunge into entrepreneurship.

So he has signed up to help the winner of our Business Creation competition, run in conjunction with Sunderland University Faculty of Business and Law.

One lucky winner will receive a prize package which includes:

•£1,500 to invest in starting a new business;

•A year’s free mentoring from the University’s Dean of Business and Law Professor Bernie Callaghan and Darren Williams on a quarterly basis;

•Marketing support from Callaghan Marketing director Lesley Callaghan;

•Two hours of legal and accountancy advice from city accountants TTR Barnes and solicitors Mortons, to be taken at the winner’s convenience.

“It’s one thing having a new business idea, it’s another actually doing something about it,” said Darren.

“I firmly believe there are hundreds of brilliant ideas out there, but people are sitting on them.

“I want to encourage them to come forward and speak to us with a chance of winning great business support and funding to get the idea off the ground.”

He added: “I started my business from scratch with £90, had a disability, didn’t have any prior experience and just winged it.

“Now we have a business employing 18 people that attracts nearly a million people to our websites and it’s made nearly £4million since we started.

“Every multimillion pound business started from a simple idea and the only difference between them and you is that they did something about it.

“Why not enter? You’ve got nothing to lose.”

Send your details of your business idea to Sunderland Echo Business Creation Competition, Evolve Centre, Cygnet Way, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton DH4 5QY, by Friday, December 7.

Twitter: @sunechobiz

Business Reporter