New franchise opportunity is launched

The founder of a new franchise business, Smart Talkers, which helps shy youngsters communicate and build self-confidence has been nominated for three national awards.

Libby Hill's Smart Talkers pre-school groups have helped hundreds of youngsters in Staffordshire over the past two years, and they are now being rolled out across the country, with the first franchise in St Neot's, Leicestershire.

Hill has been nominated for a mum's "Oscar" at the annual Mumpreneur Conference for mothers in business in September - and is also a candidate for the 'Best New Business' award. The nominations will be judge by a panel which includes Jo Cameron, who took part in the BBC's Apprentice, and ex TV Dragon, Rachel Elnaugh.

In addition to this she is among the nominations for a national kids award scheme - What's On 4 2010, which recognises achievers in 13 categories, ranging from pre-school activities through to community group work.

Hill's methods, involving singing, games, stories and songs, have been adopted by pre-school educationlists all over Staffordshire, ensuring children can effectively communicate and learn when they reach school age.

Speech and language therapist Hill, whose business is based in Hednesford, Staffordshire, said: "So many children in the past have gone to school and failed simply because they lack the confidence to communicate and have been unable to concentrate enough to learn."