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Winners of the first Nectar Small Business awards announced

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Shiply.com, SportStars and SuperJam have all been crowned winners in the Nectar Business Small Business Awards.

From food to transport to sport, the three winning businesses demonstrate that it doesn’t matter what the economic climate is, or which market the business operates in, if an individual has tenacity, initiative and is not afraid to work hard, they can achieve their business dreams. Entrepreneur of the Year Fraser Doherty, founder of Superjam and winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year award, was only 14 when he set up his business. Starting out on his kitchen table, using his grandmother’s secret Jam recipes, Doherty cracked the supermarkets with ease and was turning over £80,000 a year by the time he was 16.

His SuperJam range is produced entirely from fruit and fruit juice, making it healthier and better tasting than regular jams. Now aged 20, Doherty’s SuperJam brand sells over 500,000 jars a year, is stocked in all major UK supermarkets and is expanding overseas. No mean feat for a 20 year old with no prior business experience!

Startup of the Year Robert Matthams, a 24-year-old entrepreneur, set up his successful online transport business in July 2008. He’s been awarded the Startup of the Year award for his green solution for the logistics industry. Matthams discovered that 25 per cent of lorries on Britain’s roads run empty every day. This amounts to 36 million tonnes of unnecessary CO2 emissions each year – over seven per cent of Britain’s carbon footprint.

As a result, Matthams set up Shiply.com, an online transport marketplace. Users of the site list goods and eBay items they need to move and then receive bids from a network of over 3,500 hauliers who are already making similar trips.

In just over a year, the business has had over 23,000 shipping requests, turns over nearly £1m and is set to expand with Shiply Australia later this year.

Small Business of the Year SportStars, Small Business of the Year, was set up by 28-year-old James Taylor. He was inspired to launch the venture while working on a summer coaching programme in California. Realising American children had lots of opportunities to practice sport, Taylor set up SportStars in the UK to offer all children quality sports coaching.

Taylor took advantage of teaching regulations that stated school teachers needed to be given ten per cent of their time away from the classroom for Planning Preparation and Assessment (PPA). To save teachers having to find effective cover solutions, Taylor and his team of specialist sports coaches deliver the school PE curriculum to an exceptionally high standard.

Within its first year, SportStars has grown from five school contracts to 30. The business has also diversified by developing a sister brand – SuperStars – focusing on developing children in the arts.

Charlie Humphreys, director at Nectar Business, was hugely impressed by the level of talent at these awards. “The first national Nectar Business Awards have provided a real insight into the vast array of business ideas, business practices and people carving out their own success,” he says.

“Setting up a company is certainly not without its trials and tribulations but the three winning businesses are an inspiration to anyone considering starting up on their own. It is in fact staggering to see how successful these businesses have been in their individual ways. They are all extremely worthy winners.”

The Nectar Small Business awards were judged by some big hitters from business and the press. Karen Hanton, founder and CEO of toptable.co.uk, Guy Clapperton, small business journalist, Richard Carvell, general manager at Viking Direct and Charlie Humphreys, client development director at Nectar Business all grilled the candidates.

The winners received £2,000, 50,000 Nectar points and £250 worth of Viking Direct Vouchers respectively to help them grow the businesses.

Click here to find out more about the Nectar Small Business Awards. Or visit the Growing Business Awards website to enter Real Business’s upcoming entrepreneur awards in November. Deadline date for entries is September 18.

Related articles Nectar hits the sweet spot for entrepreneurs 27 ways…to make your customers love you The Growing Business Awards 2009

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