50 chosen to 'Run the Gauntlet'

FIFTY entrepreneurs from across East Anglia have been short-listed in a competition for a share of £1million in investment funding, it was announced last night .

FIFTY entrepreneurs from across East Anglia have been short-listed in a competition for a share of £1million in investment funding, it was announced last night .

The businesses were chosen from 221 hopefuls to enter the East of England Development Agency's Running the Gauntlet contest out of 387 who registered.

The ultimate prize is a share of the £1million investment fund from CREATE, a leading investor in the region's businesses.

Among those shortlisted are three firms from Suffolk, and seven from Essex.

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The shortlist was announced by Boyd Mulvey of CREATE and Doug Richard of Library House, who between them chaired the judging panel at last night's ceremony at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.

The competition is run by EEDA in partnership with CREATE and Library House and is aimed at equipping entrepreneurs for growing their business and securing funding.

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There is also £250,000 worth of advice and in-kind business services on offer from sponsors Bailey Fisher Executive Search, Grant Thornton, HSBC, Mudhut Communications, Scientific Generics, Taylor Vinters and The Commercialisation Company.

The 50 short-listed firms will now benefit from a series of master classes, clinics and workshops covering issues such as business planning, intellectual property, funding and team building.

Each company will then pitch to investors on October 18. The final 10 will be named on November 1, and the four winners announced on November 14.

Richard Ellis, chairman of EEDA, said is was an “exciting” time for everyone involved.

“I am delighted to see the range of companies going to the next stage. There has been a greater emphasis on learning in this year's competition programme, so all entrants have gained, regardless of whether they are progressing to the next stage,” he said.

“With advice from our sponsors, the short-listed companies will now refine their business plans and gain from a wide range of advice in preparation for pitching to our panel of investors next months. I wish them the best of luck.”

Mr Mulvey said the standard of this year's entries had made the short-listing process “very difficult”.

“I am delighted by the quality and diversity of the shortlist we have selected and look forward to working with the people behind the companies in the coming weeks.”

The short-listed Suffolk entrants are Mike O'Connor of Voicemap in Wickham Market, Stuart Saunders of Investors friend ltd of Oulton, Lowestoft, and Martin Lenzini of Lenzini Engineering of Stanton.

Short-listed entrants from north and mid-Essex include Tony Southern of Emergency Solutions Ltd, Saffron Walden, Peter Calver of Lost Cousins Ltd, Stansted Mountfitchet, Philip Osborne, of RPF Technical Services, Chelmsford, and Jane Harding, of JH Innovations, Frinton on Sea.

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