Baldwins Kick Start

David Baldwin (centre) with last year’s winners Sophie Kelly (left) and Susie Beere (right)

Midlands start-ups invited to apply for £20,000 funding competition

Young entrepreneurs are being called on to make it four Midlands winners out of five in a major competition for business talent.

Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards was launched in 2015 and is now in its fifth year, with three of the first four winners coming from the region.

The 2016 winners were Leicester-based Sophie Kelly and Susie Beere who launched Snooks, which is a dedicated clothing brand for ski and snowboarding clothing solely for women.

The competition is run by Baldwins Accountants, which now has 34 offices across the country, and is expanding to new areas this year and entries are now open.

The award offers financial support and business advice to the tune of £20,000 to 18-to-25-year-olds in the North East, North West and Midland areas, who are looking to start up a business or have done so recently.

Entrants submit their idea and business plans are whittled down to ten semi-finalists to be invited for an interview with Baldwins senior management team.

Three finalists will then present their ideas to a live audience at a gala dinner in November, at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.

The winner, decided by an audience vote, receives a £10,000 grant along with £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice.

The two runners up will be presented with £5,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice.

David Baldwin, director of Baldwins Accountants said: “Kick-Start celebrates young entrepreneurs and their new businesses and gives them an increased chance to make their business dreams a success.

“All of our winners over the past years are doing well, growing their businesses and we are proud to have played a part in that.

”It is a great way for new businesses to make themselves known as well as giving them a chance to win a significant amount of money to contribute to the company’s success. Even going through the process is good experience for business life.”

Sophie Kelly added: “Winning this award meant that we were able to invest in marketing our brand and getting the company name out there. Not only did we receive an investment, but winning the award also showed the support and belief that Baldwins have for us.

“We urge anyone starting up a new business to enter for this award as it has had a huge impact on our success and it could do the same for you.”