Barclays Business has announced the winner for Eastern Region in its £500,000 “Take One Small Step” competition, designed to help aspiring businesses make their business ambitions a reality.
The competition has been a tremendous success attracting over 3,500 entries from around the UK. From a final shortlist of 30 a massive public voting campaign has resulted in the winning inspirational businesses and ideas receiving £50,000 each to make their dreams a reality.
Mark Suthern, Head of Local Business for Eastern, said: “Congratulations to the ten winners of the Take One Small Step competition, each of whom will share in £500,000. It is a life-changing amount of money designed to help them realise their dreams.
“These businesses will now be able to start or expand their companies, manufacture some incredibly innovative products, and give back to the community that has shown them so much support in the voting stages.
“The standard of entries for the competition has been incredibly high, but the winners were all able to demonstrate the business X factor to gain huge support from the public to vote for them. They have displayed a fantastic mix of creativity, ingenuity and business acumen to capture the public’s imagination. I’d like to wish all of our successful business ideas good luck in the future and I hope this competition is a springboard for long term success.”
Eastern Winner - Sidearm - Frank Thorogood
Aspiring cricketers can find it hard to get a coach, bowling machine or competent bowler to help with batting practice. The Sidearm is a simple throwing device that recreates the style of a quality bowler, so batters can get great practice with any partner. Already endorsed by famous names such as Graham Gooch and Grant Flower, the Sidearm is now ready for production. Licensing deals for India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are also on the horizon. The product will be available from the beginning of August.
Frank Thorogood from Sidearm said: “I’m really pleased to have won Barclays Take One Small Step competition. Winning £50,000 means Sidearm will be able to get the product to a wider audience much more quickly than before. As well as being able to order a much larger batch on our first run, the money will also help secure intellectual property (IP) protection in other parts of the world.
“Sidearm had loads of support from friends and family and the cricket community during the voting phase of the competition. It’s also brought in business; we’ve already had around 120 pre-orders for product which came directly through Barclays Take One Small Step competition website.
“There were so many great ideas and businesses that entered. Winning Barclays’ Take One Small Step competition has unquestionably helped boost my confidence in our product.
“I’m feeling incredibly positive about the future – ideally one that includes Sidearm as a staple part of everyone’s cricket bag."
The other shortlisted companies will also be offered further business support through Barclays. To see the winning business ideas go to www.takeonesmallstep.co.uk.