Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Winning Challenge Will Open Up Doors

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Winning Challenge Will Open Up Doors

Article excerpt

Byline: Iain Laing

ASEARCH to find the North East's most promising new entrepreneur is about to begin.

Whether you have just drawn up a business plan, just started a company or are hoping to expand an established firm, you will be eligible to enter the If We Can, You Can Challenge 2012.

From February 6, businesses from across the region can enter the Entrepreneurs' Forum competition with the chance of winning a unique package of support to help them build their business.

The potentially life-changing competition is designed to set potential stars on a shortcut to success by exposing them to professional expertise and a host of inspirational business leaders.

It is judged by experienced entrepreneurs and business specialists and supported by Eversheds, PwC and Yorkshire Bank.

Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs' Forum, said: "In the years that we have run the If We Can, You Can Challenge, its aims of identifying and fostering talent have never been more relevant.

"The growth of the private sector is critical to the region's economic future and the Challenge helps to meet that need by supporting new entrepreneurs and presenting the winner with a money-can't-buy package of mentoring and practical help to develop their business."

Candidates are being encouraged to enter early since a number will be featured in The Journal in the coming weeks.

Mills said the finalists would benefit from the founding principles of the Forum - to encourage entrepreneurs, support emerging talent, share experiences, make connections and to learn from and be inspired by others.

He added: "We believe the region is full of untapped potential and that all people need is the motivation to push themselves forward, safe in the knowledge that there are like-minded entrepreneurs on hand to help and a business community ready to welcome them.

"The If We Can, You Can Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to encourage people to take that vital next step. Whatever stage on the road you've reached, whether you're 'a thinker', 'a starter' or 'a grower', no one should be put off from entering."

The IWCYC Challenge was first established in 2008 and has attracted more than 2,000 aspiring entrepreneurs to the vibrant web-based community at www.ifwecanyoucan.co.uk Past Journal winners and other entrants are backing the 2012 Challenge, describing what they gained from the experience and encouraging people to enter this year.

Since winning last year's challenge in The Journal, Guy Letts' Newcastle-based customer satisfaction software business CustomerSure has gone from strength to strength.

He said: "Winning the competition has delivered great benefits for CustomerSure.

The media coverage boosted awareness but winning also brought a hidden benefit: the confidence boost from having our idea endorsed by an experienced panel of judges. …

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