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Three North East businesses in line for national award

Three North East companies are in line to scoop one of the top prizes in the first ever Ready For Business Awards 2013 when the cream of the country’s start-up businesses gather at a spectacular ceremony in London to celebrate enterprise and innovation.

Sarcriston based Remote HR Solutions, which was established by Jo Cameron, offers practical HR support to businesses of all sizes and has claimed the Best B2B Start-Up award in the regional category for the North East.

She will be joined by John Davies of Washington based Fastglass, which manufactures and supplies glass and double glazing for windows to companies across the region, and has received the Best Growth Potential Start-Up award.

Katie Kirkup whose Northumberland based pet business, Jasper’s Dog Treats will be representing the North East as its winner of the Best B2C Start-Up award.

The three regional winners will now compete against 19 other enterprising businesses at the national finals which are being held at the House of Commons in London on 2nd December 2013.

Ready for Business, the investment readiness start-up programme that supports new enterprises across England, has delivered more than 2,500 new jobs nationwide since its launch last summer, with almost 350 jobs created in the North East region alone.

The programme aims to create 6,000 businesses with 10,000 new jobs, is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and Barclays and is delivered by the Cavendish Consortium, a partnership between some of England’s leading enterprise agencies together with the National Enterprise Network; in the North East region, Ready for Business is provided by TEDCO Business Support through a network of local agencies.

Since opening its doors earlier this year, Remote HR Solutions has developed a close relationship with the University of Sunderland and will be working with the University’s Sunderland Futures programme to mentor and support students, through masterclass workshops, to prepare them for employment after they graduate. Jo has also worked with start-ups to advise on a range of HR matters including recruitment, people management and appraisals.

Fastglass, which was established in February, has created six new jobs on the factory floor and built up an impressive customer base through delivering a high level of service.

The business has already outgrown its current facility and has plans in place to relocate to larger premises and double existing staff numbers within the next two years.

Jasper’s Dog Treats launched at this year’s Bupa Great North Run and offers a handmade, healthy and practical range of treats as well as the ‘Dogs that…’ product range which focus on people who do specific activities with their dogs. Range extensions are planned as the business continues to grow, as well as the establishment of stand-alone production facilities in rural Northumberland, bringing much needed employment to the region.

Jo Cameron of Remote HR Solutions said: “We are delighted to have received this prestigious award so soon after establishing the business. Setting up your own venture is extremely hard work but the support we received from Ready for Business was invaluable. To have our efforts recognised is a huge achievement and we look forward to going on to the national finals.”

The awards recognise achievements across three categories – Best Growth Potential Start-Up, Best B2B Start-Up and Best B2C Start-Up – and have been introduced to highlight the remarkable progress that small businesses across the country have made with support from Ready for Business.

More than 2,500 businesses have been established since the programme was set up in 2012 to provide individuals with concentrated support in the pre-start stages of their new business including intensive enterprise training via free Get Ready for Business Seminars delivered in partnership with Barclays, one-on-one help from a dedicated business advisor to explore and assess their business ideas and expert analysis into developing a business plan.

Kevin Horne, chairman of the Cavendish Consortium and head of the judging panel added; “What we are seeing through these awards are real and inspiring examples of just what can be achieved by individuals who have a strong commercial business idea and access to the right kind of support.

“Establishing a new business is not an easy challenge and there are many obstacles to be faced not just in getting a venture off the ground, but in ensuring the development and ongoing sustainability of that business to go on and potentially create much-needed new jobs in their area.”

He continued: “These awards not only recognise the achievements of businesses such as Remote HR Solutions, Fastglass and Jasper’s Dog Treats but will hopefully inspire others looking to forge ahead with their own business ideas and we can build upon the remarkable success that Ready for Business has accomplished in a relatively short period of time.”

Caroline Pullich, Barclays head of Business Banking, North East said: “The Barclays Get Ready for Business programme of seminars has focused on some of the most pressing issues facing start-ups during their difficult initial period – from how to get started and create a viable business plan through to getting the business in good shape for finance. It’s great that we’ve seen so many successes and worthy finalists and we wish them all the best for the inaugural Ready for Business awards 2013.”

The overall winners in each category will be announced on Monday 2nd December at the Ready for Business Awards 2013 which is taking place at the House of Commons in London. Special guests at the event will include Titus Sharpe, chief executive of MVF Global and winner of the Sunday Times Tech Track 2013.

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