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The ninth annual Startups Awards 2012 has been launched and is now open for franchise businesses to submit their nominations for the Franchisee of the Year.

Sponsored by NatWest and organised by, the awards recognise the success of Britain’s new businesses, which have been trading for less than three years. This category is looking for a franchise owner that has already exceeded targets and delighted customers, doing the franchise brand proud in the process.

Commenting on winning the Startups Online Business of the Year Award 2011 David Grimes of, said: “Being named as the Startups ‘Online Business of the Year’ was an unbelievable feeling. Being recognised by such a prestigious Awards scheme has done wonders for and all the team here.”

There are 13 awards up for grabs this year, including two new categories; Trade Business of the Year and Freelance Business of the Year as well as Online Business of the Year, Innovative Business of the Year and the overall NatWest Startups Business of the Year, the winner of which is selected from the winners of the other categories.

Duncan Bannatyne, of Dragons’ Den fame, will sit on the judging panel with a number of other highly successful entrepreneurs and business experts including former Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson, Julie Meyer MBE, Kate Russell, reporter and journalist for BBC Click and Julie Deane, co-founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company and winner of the NatWest Startups Business of the Year award last year.

The organisers are delighted to have NatWest on board as the headline sponsor for the fifth year running and also welcome category sponsors; (Online Business of The Year), The Made Simple Group (Young Start-up of the Year), Simply Business (Freelance Start-up of the Year) and All Response Media, (Angel or VC Backed Business of the Year).

David Lester, founder of, said: “As one in three start-up businesses don’t make it beyond the first year of trading, we are rightly proud of the Startups Awards which recognise those that successfully negotiate these early hurdles.”

“Each year we unearth a whole set of innovative new businesses representing the unique diversity the start-up community has to offer, from home businesses to franchisees, and I am confident we will have another fantastic pick of companies and entrepreneurs this year which show that, despite the recession, British innovation is booming.”

The deadline for entries is 14 September 2012.


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