Smarta 100: The search is on for the UK's smartest businesses!

Unashamedly unscientific, the Smarta 100 differs from other business awards by championing not just the most profitable businesses, but unearthing a true cross-section of the UK's savviest, enterprising small businesses.  The launch event will be held this evening at Central Working in London.

From the West Highlands to Westfield, The Smarta 100 celebrates the high-street heroes, market traders on a mission, eBay entrepreneurs, budding Bransons, the innovators ploughing new furrows in staid industries, the recession-busters shunning the doom and gloom, the web wonders, the teenpreneurs, mumpreneurs, olderpreneurs, the emerging big businesses of tomorrow and those small businesses worth shouting about!

Last year's winners have gone on to partner with the likes of LinkedIn (Huddle) and Lastminute.com (PrivateFly), and include businesses as diverse as eco-tourism parks (Welsh Small Business of the Year winner, Call of the Wild), hip-hop fitness training Skip Hop and multi-award winning 'eBay for deliveries' Shiply.com. The overall winner, Highland Wifi, even had its achievement acknowledged in the Scottish Parliament!

This year's Smarta 100 won't just get their hands on money-can't-buy publicity but some fantastic prizes too, including a £10,000 first prize.

Up for grabs are:

  • A £10,000 prize for the overall O2 Smarta 100 business of the year
  • A mentoring session with former Dragon Doug Richard, MOBOs founder Kanya King and three hours of mentoring with Simon Devonshire, Head of SMB for O2 and Sharon Pickford, Head of SMB Marketing for O2
  • 12 months' subscription to Smarta Business Builder worth £360 for all of the Smarta 100
  • An iPad 2!

The Smarta 100 will be selected by a heavyweight entrepreneurial judging panel including King of Shaves' Will King, Bebo founder Michael Birch, PR guru Lynne Franks, TV's Sarah Beeny, creator of MySingleFriend.com and Tepilo.com, Shaa Wasmund, founder of Smarta, and Simon Devonshire, Head of SMB for O2, who co-founded the social enterprises One Water and Global Ethics.

The overall winner will then be voted for by the public and announced at the awards ceremony at the Indigo O2, alongside special awards for best of use of technology, resources, marketing, people and ethics.

Announcing the launch of this year's Smarta 100, Dragons' Den star and Smarta board member Deborah Meaden says: "I'm passionate about discovering exciting new businesses and encouraging ambitious people to think and work better. The Smarta 100 does both of these things - and celebrates the best of British business at the same time. Last year we uncovered 100 ambitious people who'd turned their ideas into flourishing businesses and I can't wait to meet this year's 100."

Simon Devonshire, Head of SMB for O2, says: "I am really excited about the Smarta 100 Awards as it will unearth and champion successful small businesses and entrepreneurs operating in the UK.

"On a personal level, I'm a fervent supporter of entrepreneurial activity and in the past, before joining O2, set up a variety of small businesses including zopa.com - the world's first online lending and borrowing exchange - and One Water - where profits raised from selling bottled water go towards building water wells in Africa.  Entrepreneurial activity is a force for economic and social good and needs to be encouraged and praised, which is exactly what this year's Smarta 100 Awards will do."

 

Smarta founder Shaa Wasmund adds: "There are some amazing small businesses out there providing superior products, services and solutions to their more established counterparts and we're determined to find them.

"The Smarta 100 champions the achievements of those enterprising individuals who put their hearts and souls into their businesses - but it also looks to elevate them to the next level. We're delighted to welcome O2 as a headline sponsor of the Smarta 100 to help us do just that."

Small business can enter the Smarta 100 or nominate others at: www.smarta.com/100

Businesses have until midnight on Monday 8th August to enter.

A web chat Q&A will be hosted on June 29 at 11am with Simon Devonshire, Head of SMB for O2, and Smarta founder Shaa Wasmund on hand to answer business owners' questions.

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