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Enterprising Young Brits get their rewards at the IoD

On Tuesday we held our fifth fantastic Enterprising Young Brits Awards at the prestigious Institute of Directors (IoD) in London! The event was as inspiring as ever and it was a great chance to meet past finalists and lots of successful young entrepreneurs. Chancellor Alistair Darling was on hand to present the awards and he highlighted why they are so important, saying, “Our country depends on ideas and having the commercial flair to develop them.”

This year’s credit-crunch busting finalists included a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur whose Indian cooking sauces are sold in delis and stores in 30 countries, two siblings in their 20s who run a farm in Shropshire for the community’s benefit, and a 14-year-old teenpreneur who made considerably more last year than others his age will be making from their paper rounds or pocket money!

There were 20 finalists in total this year, spread over five categories; Business, Creative, Social & Environmental, Going Global and Teen. All 20 were also in line to pick up the People’s Choice Award, which received thousands of votes online in the weeks leading up to the final.

In the morning each finalist had to ‘pitch’ their business to a panel of judges which included successful entrepreneurs and representatives from the Make Your Mark campaign, The Daily Mail, HM Treasury and the IoD. In true Dragons’ Den style, the man behind www.kingsofneon.com and www.solecreator.co.uk, gave each of the judges a pair of custom-designed trainers! This approach was clearly a successful ruse; Adam went on to win the Creative category – (although his unique business is truly a worthy winner, regardless)!

Priya Lakhani, a 27-year-old lawyer-turned-entrepreneur, won the Business category. Priya only set up her company Masala Masala seven months ago, yet is already selling her range of traditional Indian cooking sauces in shops and delis in over 30 countries. She has already seen a spike in sales via ocado.com as a result of the publicity around the awards, which has meant she has been able to give more homeless people in India a meal through her Masala Masala Trust.

Matt Lovett won the Teen category with his marketing company WOW Media. Matt made it to the finals last year but was unsuccessful. He showed all the hallmarks of a successful entrepreneur by not letting a knock back get him down, and this year he triumphed. His business has blossomed and he employs six members of staff, despite the fact that he’s only 17-years-old!

The Social & Environmental category was won by Signal Films founder Kerry Kolbe (30). Signal Films provides creative and professional development opportunities for young people who want to work in the film industry.

There was a new category for 2009, the Going Global category; open to businesses that are successfully operating in the UK and abroad. It was introduced to celebrate the first ever Global Entrepreneurship Week last November. The award went to Lucian Tarnowski (25), the founder of the web 2.0 graduate recruitment service and social network, BraveNewTalent.com.

Dean Rhodes-Brandon, the 17-year-old that founded YourLocalCinema.com, an innovative not-for-profit website and information service that is designed to help those who are hearing or visually impaired to fully enjoy the cinema experience, won the People’s Choice award, which was voted for by the public.

Run by the Make Your Mark campaign and supported by the Institute of Directors, The Daily Mail, HM Treasury and The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) the Enterprising Young Brits Awards reward budding young entrepreneurs (aged 30 and under) who have turned their ideas into a profit-making reality, shining a spotlight on the next generation of British business big shots.

So far the awards have discovered some of Britain’s top talent and I’m sure these young entrepreneurs have a bright future ahead of them!

Posted by Eimear Hale, Ambassadors and Networks Manager at Make Your Mark.

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