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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Cumbrian firms ready to pitch for £10,000 advertising boost

Nine contenders are in the running to win Business Boost, our competition to help fledgling Cumbrian enterprises.

Nick Hodgson photo
Nick Hodgson

Two of them will receive £10,000-worth of advertising in CN Group newspapers and websites.

Business Boost is open to businesses between one and five years old who can show they have the potential to grow and would benefit from a local advertising campaign.

CN Group, publisher of The Cumberland News, is behind the initiative, which is backed by sponsors Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors, the University of Cumbria and Carlisle City Council. Entries closed on March 17 and our judges have drawn up a shortlist:

  • Cumbria Wildflowers, Orton Grange, Carlisle. Set up by Jonathan Rock in 2009, it supplies native UK plants and seeds by mail order.
  • DSH Solutions, Orton Grange, Carlisle. An electrical, mechanical, maintenance and renewables contractor and engineer established by Dave Spratt in 2011.
  • Fair Food Carlisle, Carlisle Enterprise Centre, James Street. A social enterprise, launched last year, distributing locally-sourced produce to workplaces and community groups.
  • Incorporate Digital, Carlisle Business Interaction Centre, Paternoster Row. A web-design consultancy set up by Dave Kinsella, a former ICT teacher at Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton.
  • Liquid Associates, Parkhouse, Carlisle. A car-fleet management and vehicle-sourcing company that specialising in working with small businesses, set up by Richard Wragg in 2010.
  • Really Clever PR, Scotby. A PR, marketing and communications consultancy run by Glenn Patterson who founded the business in 2010. Clients include Stobart, System Training and Northern Security.
  • Silverlink Clinics, The Orchard, Carleton, Carlisle. Set up by Chris Matthews in 2011, it offers the Alizonne Therapy, helping clients to lose weight without surgery.
  • Vibralife Wellness, Kingmoor Road, Carlisle. A private gym and health club set up by Lana Brown in 2010 to help clients lose weight and tone up.
  • Zapactive, Townfoot, Alston. A unique business started last year by Irene Lawrence to create interactive trails using QR codes for smart phones.

Charlie Birrell, advertisement director at Cumbrian Newspapers, is chairing the judging panel.

He said: “We were really impressed by the number, quality and variety of entries, some of which show real potential. We’re going to have a difficult job deciding on the winners.”

The other judges are Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, enterprise and business relations manager at the University of Cumbria; Nick Hodgson, associate company and commercial director at Cartmell Shepherd; Colin Glover, leader of Carlisle City Council; and Julian Whittle, business editor of The Cumberland News.

Shortlisted entries will pitch their business plans, Dragons’ Den style, before the judges choose the two winners.

Richard Wragg, founder of Liquid Associates, is relishing the opportunity.

He said: “We have grown throughout the recession and now have the funding lines in place to move the business to the next stage, but not enough potential customers know about us.

“I call us ‘the best kept secret in Cumbria’. That’s where winning Business Boost would be a big help.”

CN Group is also running separate Business Boost contests in west and south Cumbria, and the Hexham area of Northumberland, so eight businesses in total will win £10,000 worth of advertising.

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