East of England: ‘Dragon’s Den’s Duncan Bannatyne to judge Start-up Awards 2012

The ninth annual Startups Awards 2012 have launched and are now open for businesses across the East of England to submit their nominations.

Sponsored by NatWest and organised by Startups.co.uk, the awards, whose judges include Duncan Bannatyne, of Dragons’ Den fame, are aimed at businesses which have been trading for less than three years.

The deadline for entries is September 14. Visit www.startupsawards.co.uk. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Kensington Roof Gardens, on December 7.

Previous winners at the Awards over the past eight years have included some of the UK’s fastest rising brands, such as Wonga.com, Naked Wines, BeatThatQuote.com (sold to Google for �37.7m), BLOTTR and The Cambridge Satchel Company.

Cambridge based business, The Cambridge Satchel Company, won the Natwest Startups Business of the Year 2011. Julie Deane, co-founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company, said: “This has been an incredible year for The Cambridge Satchel Company. Meeting the challenges of such rapid growth has kept us busy, perhaps cocooned, and to attend the Startups Awards ceremony allowed us to see that our efforts have been noticed and appreciated. It was time to take a step back and realise that what our team has achieved is truly amazing, we had been too caught up in the day to day challenges, but the awards have changed that and it’s party time at Cambridge and Leicester for all at The Cambridge Satchel Company!”

There are 13 awards up for grabs this year, including two new categories; Trade Business of the Year and Freelance Business of the Year as well as Online Business of the Year, Innovative Business of the Year and the overall NatWest Startups Business of the Year 2012, the winner of which is selected from the winners of the other categories.

A number of entrepreneurs and business experts including Kate Russell, reporter and journalist for BBC Click, and Julie Deane, co-founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company, winner of the NatWest Startups Business of the Year award last year will sit on the judging panel.

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David Lester, founder of Startups.co.uk, said: “As one in three start-up businesses don’t make it beyond the first year of trading, we are rightly proud of the Startups Awards which recognise those that successfully negotiate these early hurdles.

“Each year we unearth a whole set of innovative new businesses representing the unique diversity the start-up community has to offer, from home businesses to franchisees. I am confident we will have another fantastic pick of companies, from the East of England and across the UK, which will show that, despite the recession, British innovation is still booming.”