Sign up to the newsletter - the UK's largest independent online resource for budding entrepreneurs - has recently announced the 60 finalists in its prestigious Startups Awards 2006. Endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and organised in conjunction with NatWest, the event identifies and rewards the UK's best new businesses.

Winners of each of the 15 categories will be announced at an awards ceremony and three-course luncheon to be held at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington on Friday 20 October. They will compete to be named The NatWest Startups Business of the Year and walk away with a £5000 cheque.

Finalists include Women Builders Limited, a privately-owned women-only building company; Fruity Faces Limited, manufacturer of fruit packing cases; Dragonmobility, manufacturer of elevated powered wheelchairs with customised seating; and Ella's Kitchen, a new brand of healthy food for children.

To be eligible to enter the Startups Awards 2006, businesses must have been trading for less than three years, be privately owned, and employ fewer than 60 people.

This year's judging panel consists of some of the UK's most successful entrepreneurs, including Trevor Baylis, inventor of the wind up radio, James Murray-Wells, founder of GlassesDirect and Karen Hanton, founder of

The judges look at a wide range of criteria; in particular, business success either by increase in sales and unit volume, market research and identification of customer focus, organisational and team building effectiveness, strategic planning, overcoming obstacles and barriers to success, visionary leadership and social and community responsibility.

Additional sponsors include Blackberry, BT Plc, Sage, Viking, Bartercard, Brother, Wageroller and National Business Register PLC.


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