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Startups Awards 2012 opens for entries

The search is on for the UK's best start-up businesses

Start-ups across the country are being invited to apply for our prestigious annual awards, as they open for registration.

All UK businesses which began trading less than three years ago are eligible for the Startups Awards, which is now in its ninth year.

The awards have a strong reputation for unearthing the UK business leaders of tomorrow, and previous winners have included global brands such as Ella’s Kitchen and The Cambridge Satchel Company – as well as Wonga.com, Naked Wines and Glasses Direct.

This year’s entries will be judged by an esteemed panel of business angels, advisers and entrepreneurs, including Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne; Marc Worth, the internet entrepreneur behind Stylus and WGSN, which he sold to Emap for £142m; and Julie Deane, founder of last year’s overall winner The Cambridge Satchel Company.

Entries will be accepted into more than a dozen categories, including Mobile Business of the Year and Franchisee of the Year. This year also sees the reintroduction of the Silver Fox and Adversity awards, as well as the debut of two new categories to acknowledge successful home-based businesses and trades-based start-ups.

The Made Simple Group will sponsor the Young Start-up of the Year category, while Simply Business will do the same for Freelance Start-up of the Year. Printed.com has put its name to the Online Business of the Year category. The overall winner will be crowned NatWest Startups Business of the Year 2012.

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 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. I am confident we will have another fantastic pick of companies and entrepreneurs this year, who show that, despite the recession, British innovation is booming.”

For more information or to register for an application form, visit our Startups Awards page. The deadline for entries is 14 September 2012.