Town businesses go for gold as judges announce the winners

A CANINE hydrotherapy centre in Morpeth has emerged a winner in our quest to back the best up-and-coming local businesses.

Barkers Northumberland, which is based in Grange Road, has taken third place in the Northumberland programme of the Local Business Accelerators scheme.

And another business from the town narrowly missed out on the prizes, with Kayola’s Deli in New Market named a runner-up.

The awards are part of a national campaign in regional and local media to support fledgling businesses, with the winners claiming a share of £15million of free advertising, as well as the opportunity to receive expert advice on their enterprise from local business mentors.

One overall winner, announced later in the year, will receive mentoring from the campaign’s national ambassador Deborah Meaden, of Dragons’ Den.

Spearheaded by the Newspaper Society and involving almost 500 publications, including the Morpeth Herald, the competition has won the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron, the Confederation of British Industry’s Director General John Cridland and Business Growth Fund Chief Executive Stephen Welton.

In Northumberland, the entries were judged by Greaves West and Ayre accountancy partner Robbie Dalgleish of Berwick, Northumberland Business Service Chief Executive Phil Langton, Alnwick entrepreneur Ian Brown and Stuart Birkett, Managing Director of Northeast Press, which publishes the Morpeth Herald.

First place has been awarded to CJ Performance Cycles in Cramlington, with Blitz Clean in Ashington taking second spot.

Barkers Northumberland was third, while Morpeth’s Kayola’s Deli and DM Designs in Berwick were chosen as runners-up.

Mr Birkett said: “Coming only a few weeks after we launched the Keep Northumberland Working campaign, it is great to be able to reward some exciting young local businesses with a prize that should help kick-start their growth in 2012.

“The judges were delighted with both the number and range of businesses entering the competition and it proved a very difficult task to select the best from such a great range of entries.

“However, the winners all exhibited a blend of commitment, growth potential and at least a touch of uniqueness that made their businesses stand out.

“If young businesses are the future lifeblood of the local economy, then enterprise in Northumberland is destined to flourish.”

Barkers Northumberland offers a canine hydrotherapy pool, dog treadmill, and grooming, taxi, day care and socialising services for dogs.

Owner Judith Ogley says her biggest success to date is seeing injured dogs’ recovery after sessions, as well as enjoying the fun swims.

She entered Local Business Accelerators for the chance to benefit from professional mentoring.

Speaking before the winners were announced, she said: “I’m overjoyed to have been chosen for the shortlist and I think Barkers Northumberland would benefit immensely if I won.

“When I filled the competition entry in everything I put down was from the heart. I’m so passionate about what I do here and I feel that must have come across.

“The business is going really well and all of my customers are supportive.”

Kayola’s Deli has been open less than a year after owner Glenn Snaith built his unit from scratch, using traditional materials with a contemporary design.

With a background working in four and five-star hotels, he prides himself on excellent customer service and says he offers great quality products at competitive prices.

He said: “It was pretty amazing to make the shortlist. When it came out I was doing a stallholders’ event and lots of people were congratulating me, but I hadn’t seen it so I had to go and buy a paper as soon as I got the chance.

“The publicity just from that article alone has been great. We cut it out and put it on display and we have had lots of people interested in it.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Congratulations to all the winners of the Local Business Accelerators scheme. It’s brilliant that so many promising young companies, from such a wide range of sectors, are benefiting from this excellent initiative.

“Entrepreneurship, creativity and ambition are essential for our economic recovery and through Local Business Accelerators, newspapers such as the Morpeth Herald are supporting some great new British businesses to grow and helping to boost their local economy.

“I wish the newspapers, businesses and their mentors every success over the coming months.”