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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 30 April 2007

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THERE are less than 3 weeks to go to enter The Barclays Trading Places Awards, a national Awards designed to recognise men and women from all over the UK who have overcome various barriers and battled against adversity to positively change their lives by setting up a business.  People who have triumphed against the odds to set up a small business are being urged to enter the unique scheme, sponsored by Barclays and backed by the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), The Prince’s Trust and Jobcentre Plus

This year’s prize package totals over £32,000 – but organisers are reminding there’s less than 3 more weeks to go before the national closing date of Friday May 11.  The Awards will recognise sole traders and smaller businesses that have been trading for a minimum of 3 months and no more than 3 years, with an annual turnover of less than £1million.   Entries will be judged on how enterprising individuals have overcome personal challenges and obstacles, such as long-term unemployment, financial hurdles, physical disabilities, discrimination and personal tragedy – to set up on their own.

Barclays’ Marketing Director for Local Business, John Davis, said:- “We know Merseyside has some truly inspiring unsung heroes who, in spite of great personal challenges, have taken steps to establish a sustainable business and in doing so changed the direction of their lives for the better.  If this sounds familiar we want you to share your business start-up experiences – good and bad – by entering the 2007 Barclays Trading Places Awards.”

The Awards are endorsed by a host of celebrity entrepreneurs – including Peter Jones, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Terence Conran and Rosemary Conley – who know 1st-hand the difficulty of going it alone against the odds.

Peter Jones, Founder and CEO of Phones International Group and Judge on BBC2’s ‘Dragons’ Den’, said:- “I think Trading Places is a tremendous initiative. Small businesses in the UK are the lifeblood of our economy and also the incubators of tomorrow’s next big business successes. I passionately believe that inside everyone; young or old; there lies a sleeping giant entrepreneur just waiting to make their mark on the world. It can be an arduous and tough journey, but I urge all budding entrepreneurs to go for it and make their business dreams a reality.”

Barclays, which is spearheading the Awards, aims to champion small companies by providing extensive localised knowledge and award winning services, 80,000 fledgling entrepreneurs got their feet off the ground last year with Barclays’ support. 

The judging panel, to include Big Issue founder and editor-in-chief John Bird, will select the top 10 candidates who can show how they have triumphed over adversity to successfully begin a business and change their lives.  Other judges on the panel are John Davis, Barclays’ Marketing Director for Local Business, Ian King, Business Editor of The Sun, senior representative from the Prince’s Trust, Eileen Thomson of Jobcentre Plus, Ann Carter-Gray of the DTI, Raj Kakar of Thomson Local Directories and Jane Fletcher of Leonard Cheshire.

As part of their prize, the 10 National Finalists will all attend a glittering gala Awards Dinner in London at the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, on 2 October 2007, where they will each receive £2,000 worth of free business advertising from Thomson Local Directories, plus software worth £450 courtesy of Microsoft. In addition to the above the winner and runner-up, to be announced on the night, will collect £5,000 and £3,000 respectively, courtesy of Barclays.

Nomination forms are available by calling the Awards hotline on 020 8673 2020 or visiting

Closing date is Friday 11 May 2007.


MERSEYSIDE companies are among the front-runners to land prestigious business honours at a top industry event.  For pioneering firms from across the county have been shortlisted in the Northwest Business Environment Awards 2007.  The awards aim to recognise innovative companies that have demonstrated their environmental credentials while maintaining business success.  And organisations from across the industry spectrum are now in with a chance of winning recognition for their efforts.

Liverpool architecture practice Austin-Smith: Lord has been shortlisted in the Built Environment category for its work on a £120m new plant for Pronovis that will boast almost zero carbon emissions.  The use of recycled materials on the A58 diversion at St Helens, the paving of Kings Waterfront, Liverpool and on a regeneration project at Ellesmere Port have all combined to win civil engineering contractor Birse Civils a place on the shortlist for the Sustainable Procurement category, which highlights those companies making a commitment to using only recycled goods.

And the environmental charity Wirral LA21 Network is also in with a shout in the same sector for its commitment to buying recycled goods.

Finally, Southport-based Champion Newspapers join ITV Granada and BBC North West Tonight in the Environmental Champions category for their work in spreading the environmental message.

The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony on Wednesday, May 16, in the grand surroundings of Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.

The Northwest Business Environment Awards 2007 are organised by the Mersey Basin Campaign in association with the Northwest Regional Development Agency. The awards are supported by ENWORKS, RIBA, the Environment Agency, CBI, Groundwork, MIDAS, Institute of Directors, Buy Recycled and Envirolink Northwest.

Steven Broomhead, NWDA Chief Executive, said:- “This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever before with two new award categories reflecting the growth in the number of companies that are putting environmental issues at the heart of their activities.”

And Walter Menzies, Chief Executive of the Mersey Basin Campaign, said:- "The environment presents a huge opportunity for smart businesses to reduce costs and increase profits. This year's outstanding finalists show that our best companies, both large and small, really are excellent and innovative."

For more information contact Fouzia Bhatti at the Mersey Basin Campaign on 0161 242 8200 or email

Search for 250 winners?

THE search is on for over 250 poetry champions – and there’s a £1,000 cash prize for one of them.  It’s free-to-enter the National Poetry Anthology which is now the UK’s biggest free annual poetry competition.

One poet will represent each UK town.  There is no entry fee and all the other winners get their poems published in the National Poetry Anthology and get a free copy of the book. One overall winner also receives £1,000.

"The National Poetry Anthology is designed to encourage new writers," said its editor, Peter Quinn. "It has rocketed in popularity and we expect the new one to be even better."

Send 3 unpublished poems on any subject (up to 20 lines and 160 words each) to United Press Ltd, Admail 3735, London EC1B 1JB by the closing date of June 30th 2007, or visit

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