Winner of Start Up Britain Awards announced by Vince Cable

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4 October 2011: The StartUp Britain award, of which EY was a founding supporter, recognised the locally-based support projects targeting regional growth and enterprise, but which have the capacity for scaling nationally. It was open to start-ups or individuals that may have had a positive social and economic impact in their region, are sustainable, and have been running for less than three years.

The winner, Rotherham-based Are You Ready is supported by Carl Hopkins, who appeared on Channel Four Secret Millionaire, and creates a culture of enterprise in education, working with children aged four until 19, including training teachers to deliver enterprise through the curriculum. Judges were impressed by the fact the initiative is ‘scalable and easy to replicate in other countries’.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Enterprise is the lifeblood of our economy and the people represented in this competition show just how much British entrepreneurs can achieve. In government, we are working to create an environment that helps new businesses flourish and the entrepreneurs nominated for these awards are a shining example of the business success we want this country to be known for around the world."

The other finalists were Bedford-based Building Enterprising Communities, promoting enterprise in disadvantaged communities. The project has promoted self-employment, helped 275 people get a job and helped set up 15 businesses, focusing on disadvantaged groups including lone parents, older and younger workers, ethnic minorities; individuals with offender history and those who faced language or cultural barriers.

Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network (BSEEN) trains and supports graduates, collaborating with Aston University, University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University in a £1.75million project. This has provided entrepreneurial support to 446 graduates, supported 90 emerging businesses, creating 30 new graduate businesses in the Birmingham area.

Regenerate Pennine Lancashire focuses on ‘Enterprise Havens’ providing non-threatening premises for small businesses, and supported by Burnley Football club and Blackburn Rovers to further encourage most excluded residents. Despite focusing on areas of very low levels of natural enterprise, it has started more than 1500 new businesses and secured over 4000 local jobs.

Leicester Business Women has been designed to support female entrepreneurs seeking to set up their own businesses and is focused on the disadvantaged areas of the city. It also supports ‘softer skills’ such as confidence-building and motivation, as well as practical elements of entrepreneurship. It has helped 280 women develop ideas for business start ups.

Martin Cook, EY managing partner for UK Entrepreneur Of The Year, said: “Regional growth is hugely important and therefore we are proud to support the work of StartUp Britain, which supports, inspires and accelerates enterprise in the UK. Innovative programmes such as these are so powerful because they help ensure that the disadvantaged or dispossessed, and many natural entrepreneurs who have never even thought of turning their energy to business, are given real and practical training, support and focus to become the driving force of tomorrow.”