(L-R) Board Director at Baldwins David Baldwin, last year’s Baldwins KickStart winner Michael Harkins and magician and television presenter Ben Hanlin
(L-R) Board Director at Baldwins David Baldwin, last year’s Baldwins KickStart winner Michael Harkins and magician and television presenter Ben Hanlin
Harvey & Hugo

North East entrepreneurs called to enter Baldwins’ awards

The North East’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs are being given the chance to kick-start their business ideas with a five-figure investment.

Baldwins, a CogitalGroup company, which has 11 offices in the North East, is hosting its KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards for the seventh year. The awards are open in England, Scotland and Wales for 18 to 25-year-olds and have invested £180,000 in start-up businesses since 2013.

The winner of the awards will be given a grant of £10,000 along with £10,000 worth of mentoring, and accountancy and business advice from Baldwins. Two runners-up will each receive £5,000 worth of mentoring, and accountancy and business advice.

Ten people will be selected to be interviewed about their ideas, which will then be whittled down to a final three.

This year’s three finalists will then be invited to present in front of more than 400 people at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on Thursday November 14th.

Last year’s Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards saw Michael Harkins, who is from Scotland, scoop the top prize for his idea of a shell-shaped swimming aid that sits on a child’s back, enabling users to swim freely without the need for armbands and handheld floats.

David Baldwin, Board Director at Baldwins, has overseen the Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards since their inception.

He said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for young people who have just started a business or are looking to turn their idea into a reality.

“Last year’s winner Michael Harkins was a classic example – he spotted an issue with existing swimming apparatus while going about his daily routine as a swimming instructor, and with the right help and advice, he has turned a concept into a product that is now on the market.

“The uncertainty originating from Brexit provides a challenging environment for existing businesses, let alone those just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey, so providing young business people with the right guidance is important now more than ever.

“KickStart applicants that are invited for an interview will receive constructive feedback to help their ideas flourish.

“The awards are not restricted to any sector and everyone who enters will have the invaluable experience of putting together a business plan.

“These awards have developed an enviable reputation for producing some talented home-grown entrepreneurs, and the growing standard of entries that we receive year-on-year shows us that there is still more to come.

“If you have the foundations of a unique business idea or have recently just launched your own firm, then please get in touch – we had more than 30 applicants last year who benefited from our advice just from going through the interview process.”

The 2019 Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards come off the back of another strong year of expansion for the Baldwins Group, which now has over 80 offices around the UK.

Baldwins is part of CogitalGroup – an international business services group with annual revenues in excess of £450m, employing around 6,000 people across 176 offices.

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