'The Smarta 100 together with O2' open for entries!

This year's search is underway to find the UK's 100 most exciting, innovative, unique and disruptive small businesses.

We'll be scouring the country to uncover the stars of enterprising Britain and recognise the companies other business awards ignore.

Be they home business heroes, eBay entrepreneurs or soletraders soldiering on through the double dip, The Smarta 100 champions the small businesses at the heart of the UK economy.

Dragons' Den's Theo Paphitis, who will head-up the Smarta 100 judging panel, marked the launch of this year's awards by saying:

"I admire people with the passion and energy to build their own businesses and can't wait to discover the many enterprising firms that are set to be the big businesses of tomorrow."

Fellow Dragon Deborah Meaden added: "Now, more than ever before, we should be celebrating the best new British businesses and the people behind them - and that's exactly what The Smarta 100, together with O2, does."

"Last year we handed out awards to 100 ambitious individuals who'd dared to act on their ideas and had grown brilliantly creative, innovative and disruptive businesses - the search is now on for the next 100."

O2 Business Director Ben Dowd added: "The Smarta 100 is an excellent opportunity to showcase the brilliant British businesses revitalising the national economy through their ambition and innovation - we're delighted to support the awards."

In total, 100 businesses will be awarded Smarta 100 winner status before the public votes for the overall Smarta 100 Business of the Year, with the winner recieving a cheque for £10,000 courtesy of O2.

In addition, there will be six Special Awards for:

- Best use of Technology, sponsored by Intuit

- Best People Business, sponsored by NatWest

- Best use of Resources, sponsored by Simply Business

- Best use of Innovation, sponsored by Smarta Business Builder

- Best use of Marketing, sponsored by SevenHills

- Biggest Social Impact, sponsored by Social Enterprise UK

This year's Smarta 100 will be chosen by a heavyweight entrepreneurial judging panel. Joining Theo are last year's overall winner Rowan Gormley, founder of Naked Wines; nails inc founder Thea Green; Shortlist Media's Mike Soutar; Monitise's Alastair Lukies; King of Shaves founder Will King; Huddle co-founder Andy McLoughlin; O2 Business Director Ben Dowd; NatWest's Ian Walters; and Smarta's very own Shaa Wasmund.

The overall winner will be announced at a glitzy awards ceremony at London's O2 Arena in November,

As if that weren't enough, as part of this year's programme, Smarta and O2 is also proud to present the Smarta 100 Academy together with O2.

As series of interactive speaker events, the Smarta 100 Academy aims to support existing Smarta 100 winner and encourage more people to emulate their success by starting their businesses.

Offering four exclusive, free-to-attend events, addressing key businesses issues, the Smarta 100 Academy will host a learning programme packed with practical advice, lessons and real life case studies delivered by establishing entrepreneurs, industry experts and previous Smarta winners.

To enter this year's Smarta 100 together with O2, and to find out more about the Smarta 100 Academy, visit: www.smarta.com/100

Businesses have until midnight on 1 September to apply.

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