The FINANCIAL — Barclays on March 22 unveiled its secret weapon to help boost Britain’s businesses.
Online Dragon, founder and chief executive of Ariadne Capital, Julie Meyer is backing the “Take One Small Step” campaign to reward the 10 freshest business ideas in the country with an equal share of £500,000 in cash.
The competition follows research conducted on behalf of Barclays mapping the hopes and aspirations of today’s small businesses in 2010. SME bosses are hoping to put at least two million people back to work over the next 12 months as they increase employee numbers, including creating 600,000 new apprenticeships.
The business competition
The competition, launched today by Julie Meyer, will see Barclays offering a grand total of £500,000 to put towards implementing Britain’s best business ideas.
The competition is open to brand new start-up ideas or existing businesses.
A panel of judges will shortlist a total of 30 business ideas – three each from ten different regions.
It’s then over to the public to vote for the winner in their region. Ten winners will each receive £50,000 cash to put towards their business and expert advice for a year.
Shortlisted individuals will be encouraged to drum up support for their idea by enlisting the support of family, friends, colleagues and their community to help get behind them and win.
Julie Meyer backing UK SMEs
Julie Meyer, founder and chief executive of Ariadne Capital, said: “Business ideas are my biggest passion in life. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than seeing the seed of a new idea germinate into a success whether it’s in an existing business or the youngest start-up.
“The UK is now the world’s breeding ground of the brightest and most inventive business ideas and the last 12 months has in many cases steeled people’s determination to make a success of a new venture.”
“I’m delighted to be part of the “Take One Small Step” campaign and implore anyone with aspirations of making a new business dream a reality to enter.”
“I have seen time and again how a good idea with the right support can change lives, not just of those that initially developed it but the people involved in its continued growth and success.”
Major SME research
Undertaken as part of the Barclays ‘Take one Small Step’ campaign to support the competition and local businesses, Barclays embarked on its most comprehensive survey of SMEs to date reflecting the state of our SMEs across 20 major UK cities.
Respondents were asked for their views on priorities, the recipe for success in 2010 and what it will look like.
Despite the recent challenges, SMEs are forecasting near double digit growth, despite almost half (46 per cent) failing to formulate a formal business plan.
Steve Cooper, Managing Director of Barclays Business, said: “Local businesses are the backbone of Britain’s economy and the heartbeat of our communities.
“They give colour to our high streets and provide jobs for so many people. It’s important for us to recognise and support their ongoing efforts in such challenging market conditions.”
“Hard work, commitment, innovation and creativity are the ingredients for any successful business and we want to provide a boost for the 10 freshest and most deserving ideas in the UK. We are also encouraging more SMEs to think again about creating a simple and effective business plan.
“A great idea can come at any time in your life or career. Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur, business novice or kitchen table start-up this competition is open to you. All you have to do is make your idea stand out and demonstrate how it would take off with the Barclays Business Take One Small Step competition.”