Sheffield based Proud to Care has beaten off stiff competition from around the UK to be named the Best Growth Potential Start-Up at the inaugural Ready for Business Awards 2013.
Ready for Business, the investment readiness start-up programme that supports new enterprises across England, has delivered more than 2,500 new jobs nationwide since its launch last summer. The programme aims to create 6,000 businesses with 10,000 new jobs, is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and Barclays and is delivered by the Cavendish Consortium, a partnership between some of England’s leading enterprise agencies together with the National Enterprise Network; in the Yorkshire & Humber region, Ready for Business is provided by National Enterprise Network through a network of local agencies.
The national finals, which were held at the House of Commons in London, saw the 22 start-up businesses from throughout England that had previously triumphed at regional level gather to compete for one of three prestigious titles. The Awards were created to celebrate the cream of business start-up, enterprise and innovation and were attended by 150 invited guests including MPs, leading figures in enterprise support and representatives from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Proud to Care was established a year ago by Gary Hardman and provides care, support and companionship to people in their own homes. Since opening its doors, Proud to Care has exceeded its targets for turnover and care provision hours as well as creating 16 new jobs. The business now has 18 clients with a range of needs including older people, those with dementia, cancer, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease and those with end of life needs and aims to create a further 12 to 14 new jobs over the coming year.
The judging panel – which was facilitated by Kevin Horne, chairman of the Cavendish Consortium –featured David Hitchcock of Barclays, Amanda Hurford from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Titus Sharpe, chief executive of MVF Global and winner of the Sunday Times Tech Track 2013. They selected Proud to Care as the winner due to its impressive growth to date which was supported by a clear understanding of its industry and its customers. The company also has in place robust plans for the future which are set to result in the creation of further much-needed jobs.
Gary Hardman of Proud to Care said; “I am truly delighted to have our achievements recognised with such a prestigious accolade so soon after launching Proud to Care. The help I received to get started and the on-going support on offer has made it possible to develop my idea into a thriving business operation and I am now looking forward to pushing ahead with plans for the future.”
Kevin Horne, chairman of the Cavendish Consortium added; “In what was a highly competitive category, Proud to Care best captured what we were looking for in terms of expansion and job creation to date alongside the potential to outstrip existing predictions for growth in the future. We were impressed by the drive and determination shown by Gary; his wealth of experience in what is an extremely demanding sector alongside the clear commercial objectives for the business made Proud to Care stand out from all the other worthy finalists and we wish them all well as they strive forward.”
Tina Lowes, Barclays Regional Business Director for Yorkshire said: “SMEs are the life blood of the North East economy and it’s great to see Gary’s business flourishing and creating much needed jobs for the local economy. The provision of care to the most vulnerable in society is critical with the ageing population we have and Proud to Care are worthy winners of this prestigious award.”
The other local winners were Huddersfield based E3 Recruitment which triumphed as the Best B2B Start-Up for Yorkshire & Humber and The Sugarcube from Filey which was named as the region’s Best B2C Start-Up.
Ready for Business offers those looking to start a business the best preparation for success with concentrated support in the pre-start stages of their new business including intensive enterprise training via free Barclays Get Ready for Business Seminars, one-on-one help from a dedicated business advisor to explore and assess their business ideas and offer expert analysis into developing a business plan. To find out more please visit www.startupedge.co.uk