NatWest Startups Business of the Year 2005

Glasses Direct

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With four very strong but different businesses as finalists it was always going to be tough for the judges to agree on one over all winner. However, as the panel continued to debate the merits of each finalist, it became clear that one business stood out as a worthy winner of the NatWest Startups Business of the Year and the £5,000 cash prize. Glasses Direct is a business that has broken the mould of the traditional optician and threatens to turn a mature and established industry on it's head. Having established that the current industry gross margins were enormous, James Murray Wells has developed a new way for people to buy glasses through the internet. The savings for consumers are enormous and consequently Glasses Direct has had to withstand some considerable opposition from established companies which are clearly very concerned by the threat this new business poses.

The judges were also particularly impressed with the way that James has implemented this excellent idea. With a great website and fantastic new technological developments such as Customeyes, allowing you to try the glasses online, Glasses Direct is already showing a strong turnover and perhaps what excites the judges even more is the huge potential for this business.

Shortlisted Finalists: eCourier Ltd, IMS Lettings Ltd, Royal Day Spa and Health Club

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