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Competition Encourages New Cornish Business

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8:02am 26th May 2014


The next Richard Branson could come from Cornwall.

A new competition, supported by Pirate FM, is offering entrepreneurs in the Duchy a slice of 120 thousand pounds.

Ignite aims to increase the number of business start-ups.

Alan Street is one of the organisers.

He tells us what holds people with a great idea back: "I think it's uncertainty and just not knowing what to do and how to go about it and having the confidence. It's a confidence thing really and that's something with this competition we aim to overcome.

"Every year the entrants and the number of entrants get stronger and stronger and in the work we do here with working with start-ups and existing businesses, we see a continuous stream of really innovative and exciting new businesses."

Anyone planning to set up a new business in Cornwall, or who has started a new business in the county during the last year, is encouraged to sign up for Ignite 2014 and be in with the chance of winning a share of the impressive £120,000 prize package to help get their new venture off the ground.

This year there is also an additional prize on offer for the winner of the most Innovative Product award.

Ignite, one of the biggest business planning competitions in Europe, is organised by Oxford Innovation as part of its Coaching for High Growth Programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme. The competition is sponsored and supported by a number of prominent Cornish companies.

Cheesemaker Giel Spierings, the 21 year old founder of The Cornish Gouda Company and winner of Ignite in 2013, set off a custom-made display at Heartlands in Pool to launch this year's competition. Purple fireworks spelling out IGNITE flared against the dramatic backdrop of an iconic Cornish engine house, highlighting the rich heritage of industry and innovation in the county.

Giel Spierings said: "Winning Ignite last year has transformed my company and enabled me to carry out a major expansion of the production facilities so I can start making ten times more Gouda cheese and meet the growing demand.

"I'd recommend Ignite 2014 to anyone with a new business or hoping to start one, as it's the best possible launch pad and the support you get is tremendous."

Ignite 2014 is now open to enter.

www.ignitecornwall.com

Eligible candidates are invited to take part in The Ignite Experience - a series of fully-funded business start-up workshops taking place across Cornwall this summer as part of the competition.

The two-day workshops are run by Oxford Innovation's experienced coaching team and offer invaluable business guidance, together with an insight into what the Ignite judges will be looking for and how to develop a compelling three-minute elevator pitch.

Competitors then submit a video entry and a shortlist of finalists is drawn up. The winner is chosen in November by a judging panel made up of Cornish business leaders.

The winner receives a majority share of the £120,000 prize package, which includes £25,000 in cash as well as a comprehensive package of support from well-established and successful Cornish companies who contribute everything a fledging business needs to get off the ground, from website design, marketing and PR services to legal and accountancy advice.

This year, to mark the fifth year of the popular business start-up competition, an Innovative Product award is also running in conjunction with the main prize fund to help launch a newly designed product. The winner will receive support from local experts to help design and produce a prototype of their invention, and to register its intellectual property (IP).

Ignite project manager Sarah Wilkinson said: "We are delighted to officially launch Ignite 2014 and look forward to hearing from anyone setting up a new, innovative business in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly. Launching the additional Innovative Product award provides opportunities for  entrepreneurs to get their designs into production.

"We'd like to invite anyone thinking of starting a new business, or who has started a business in Cornwall during the last year, to register their interest now at www.ignitecornwall.com, and to sign up for one of our free workshops this summer. Previous attendees say joining the workshops gave their new business a major boost, whether they went on to win or not."

The Ignite Experience workshops this year run from June through to August, and are taking place at:

Merchants Manor Hotel in Falmouth on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 June
Tregenna Castle Hotel in St Ives on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 July
Lanhydrock Hotel in Bodmin on Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 July
Trethorne Golf Club in Launceston on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 August

8:02am 26th May 2014

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