Startups Awards 2011 opens for entries

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Are you the Startups Business of the Year 2011? If you're an innovative entrepreneur with a young business to shout about, we want to hear from you…

Ambitious entrepreneurs running businesses under three years old are being invited to enter the Startups Awards 2011.

Now in its eighth year, the Startups Awards has earned a reputation for spotting and recognising some of the UK's most promising entrepreneurial talent, with previous winners going on to enjoy phenomenal successes.

Price comparison site BeatThatQuote.com, the Startups Business of the Year in 2006, was sold to Google for £37.7m in March this year, while Wonga, the 2010 Online Business of the Year, went on to raise £73m in venture capital investment in February to scale up its short-term lending platform. And then there's The Book Depository, Online Business of the Year in 2007, which makes thousands of out of print titles available to readers, which has just confirmed its imminent sale to Amazon for an as yet undisclosed sum.

Meanwhile, other members of our winners' hall of fame include: SportStars; ASuitThatFits.com; Home Instead Senior Care; Glasses Direct; Ella's Kitchen; Chemist Direct; eCourier and Naked Wines, the 2010 Startups Business of the Year, along with many others which have flourished into highly successful businesses.

This year, we're looking to identify and recognise the entrepreneurs to watch once again. Whether you're running a craft business from home, an online success story, a blossoming social enterprise or an innovative product-based business, the awards recognise all walks of entrepreneurship.

Entries are being welcomed across 14 categories, including: Online Business of the Year; Innovative Business of the Year; Young Entrepreneur of the Year; Home or Craft-based Business of the Year and Social Enterprise of the Year – and for those who are literally just starting out, Business Plan of the Year.

New awards for 2011 include: Mobile Business of the Year, Marketplace Business of the Year and Franchisee of the Year.

Your entries will be judged by an esteemed panel comprised of entrepreneurs, investors, advisers and business journalists, including Joe Cohen, founder of secondary ticketing phenomenon Seatwave, Piers Linney, ‘Secret Millionaire' and CEO of cloud computing firm Outsourcery; Colin Wilkinson, co-founder of Three Sixty Entertainment, the Startups Business of the Year 2009; and Hugh Chappell, the entrepreneur turned angel investor, who founded TrustedReviews.com. (Stay tuned for further announcements in the weeks to come).

As well as choosing the 14 category winners, the judges will also select the overall winner, the 2011 Startups Business of the Year.

David Lester, founder of Startups.co.uk, who will also sit on the judging panel, said: “We're rightly proud of the Startups Awards for recognising the best of UK entrepreneurial talent. Everyone who attends our awards ceremony comments on the verve and energy in the room. Each year we unearth a whole set of innovative, disruptive new businesses and entrepreneurs that continue to make people sit up and pay attention to the start-up market.

“The Startups Awards measures business achievement across the board, championing innovation, enterprise and the people behind the businesses. If you've got a business to shout about, Startups Awards is listening.”

All finalists will be invited to the awards ceremony, which will take place at London's Kensington Roof Gardens on 2 December 2011.

For full details of categories, criteria, previous winners and to enter, visit: Startups.co.uk/startups-awards/

All entries must be in by 23 September 2011.

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