Six business people are in competition for two major awards that recognise the cream of entrepreneurial talent in the North East.
The Entrepreneurs’ Forum has announced the shortlist for its annual awards and will reveal the winners at the ‘Who Dares Wins’ conference in Gateshead on Thursday.
Finalists will give presentations to a panel of regional business leader before winners are decided.
Those shortlisted for the Emerging Talent award are: Kevin Beales, of The Test Factory; Brett Jacobson of Mediaworks, and Chris Quickfall of e-Quality Learning.
Kevin’s online assessment and survey company, based at Rainton Bridge, has 60 staff who provide solutions for major blue chip companies in 18 languages and in more than 180 countries.
Brett’s online marketing agency, based in Team Valley, Gateshead, has doubled in size year on year by helping businesses to capitalise on opportunities offered by the internet.
Newcastle-based Chris’s company developed software to help people with disabilities and the professionals working alongside them overcome challenges to learning by providing access to online resources.
The trio shortlisted for the Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s Entrepreneur of the Year are: Julian Blades of Jules B; Bill Scott, founder of Wilton Group, and Brian Palmer of Tharsus.With 30 years of experience in the fashion industry, Julian has award-winning stores in Jesmond, Yarm and Kendal, and is growing his online store.
Bill established his fabrication business, Wilton Group, in 1994 and has more than 700 people at operations in Middlesbrough, Scotland, Suffolk and Brazil.
The business has a projected turnover of £84m from its work for the oil and gas, subsea, marine, petrochemical and offshore renewable markets.Brian has transformed Tharsus from its roots in sheet metal fabrication to a global company operating in fields as diverse as green energy transportation, security and defence.
Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “The calibre of our shortlist is truly exceptional and provides a snapshot of the incredible entrepreneurial talent that exists in the North East.
“Each of our Entrepreneur of the Year finalists has created an outstanding organisation in a very tough market, providing hundreds of jobs and putting wealth back into our local economy.
“Our Emerging Talents all have vision, passion and immense capability and their success gives me great hope for our region’s future prosperity.
”The awards will be presented after the conference, which offers a day of inspiration, insight and knowledge from key speakers, including Coffee Nation’s Martyn Dawes, Ernst & Young UK Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 Stephen Catlin, author and former City editor of The Times and Evening Standard, Anthony Hilton, and outdoors expert Ray Mears.Flying the flag for the North East will be Olympic silver medallist, former world record holder and Yorkshire Bank ambassador Steve Cram, and Keith Miller, founder and group chairman of Miller International, a world leader and global manufacturer of vehicle attachments for the earthmoving industries.
The conference, supported by headline sponsor Yorkshire Bank and associate sponsor Nine, is at the Hilton Hotel, Gateshead, starting at 9am on Thursday May 17. To book, visit www.entrepreneursforum.net.