Computer giant backs east contest

COMPUTER giant Microsoft has agreed to become a sponsor for a highly successful competition aimed at entrepreneurs in the eastern region.Microsoft Research in Cambridge will be delivering up to £50,000 worth of advice and support to companies as part of the East of England Development Agency's 2006 Running the Gauntlet competition, which is offering up to £1million of investment funding.

COMPUTER giant Microsoft has agreed to become a sponsor for a highly successful competition aimed at entrepreneurs in the eastern region.

Microsoft Research in Cambridge will be delivering up to £50,000 worth of advice and support to companies as part of the East of England Development Agency's 2006 Running the Gauntlet competition, which is offering up to £1million of investment funding.

The support, in the form of workshops and seminars, will be offered to a wide range of firms, irrespective of their progress through the competition.

Areas covered include marketing, sales, management, business productivity and technology.


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The company's sponsorship brings the value of in-kind services available to entrants to around £300,000.

EEDA chairman Richard Ellis said: “Partnering with Microsoft as a sponsor of Running the Gauntlet is really exciting news. Microsoft brings a wealth of experience and commitment to the table that will make a real and practical difference to all our entrants.

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“The wide-ranging package of advice and support they are offering further enhances the learning opportunity available to our entrepreneurs and underpins the exceptional value of the wide 'running the gauntlet' programme. This is great news for our entrants.”

The competition is led by EEDA in partnership with CREATE, a leading investor in businesses in the East of England, and Library House, an authority on privately-held high growth UK companies.

It aims to equip entrepreneurs better for growing their businesses and securing investment funding.

Gordon Frazer, managing director of Microsoft UK said: “At Microsoft, we see innovation as a platform for global competition and growth. New and innovative businesses are a key part of the future of the UK's economy and society's ongoing prosperity, and as an organisation we want to support them in any way we can. Partnering EEDA's Running the Gauntlet competition gives us an excellent opportunity to share our experience and collaborate with a new tranche of entrepreneurs. Here in the east of England, through the Microsoft Innovation Centre at our Cambridge research facility we continue to support innovative businesses and I want to wish of the entrants the best of luck.”

The 50 companies shortlisted in the competition pitched their ideas to the judges on October 18. The ten strongest propositions will be announced on November 1, and winners declared on November 14.

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