Harborough business awards nomination deadline nears

Spark Harborough Business Idea Competition Finale at Hothorpe Hall.'Winner Will Prentice with Mark Carrington ENGNNL00520140124005533
Spark Harborough Business Idea Competition Finale at Hothorpe Hall.'Winner Will Prentice with Mark Carrington ENGNNL00520140124005533

One of the winners of last year’s Spark Harborough District awards has urged people with good ideas to enter this year’s contest before it is too late.

Will Prentice, 19, from Kibworth, was winner of the 2014 Best New Business Idea for under 25-year-olds.

His business Elite Scooters is a premium, freestyle scooter brand developing products designed by riders for riders. They are unique as they mainly cater towards taller riders and products are backed up with a lifetime warranty.

Elite Scooters are available worldwide and we work with distributors globally.

Will said: “At school the only subject I was really interested in was Business Studies so after doing my first year of A levels I decided to do a college course where I began to work on my Elite Scooters business idea. I heard about the competition from the Harborough Innovation Centre and thought it could really help me to launch my business. I had started my business plan and was trying to get prototypes made when I entered.

“I received a lot of help from Oxford Innovation business coaches with my business plan and working though all the little details. The one-to-one coaching focused on how to fund the venture to get it off the ground and how to cost and price goods. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support from them. They have given me so much knowledge.

“Following the competition and since I started Elite Scooters I have also launched two other brands in the same market because of Spark. It has given me the knowledge to open up more business opportunities and develop the product range.

“After winning things progressed quite rapidly for Elite Scooters; I started to get in contact with distributors, and Spark helped to facilitate this. I have been able to better focus on developing a product sourcing strategy that can properly supply an international market. I have recently agreed a sole manufacturing licence with a large Chinese Sports Products manufacturing company near Shanghai. I am now able to send products directly to distributors worldwide which has made a huge difference as they buy in volumes that gives my business a much more robust platform for growth 2015 and it is much more efficient.

“Winning the award gave me the drive and the push I needed to go ahead with the business I wanted to do.

“I am looking to employ people in the New Year and I am also looking for a warehouse around Market Harborough as I also want to set up my own UK distribution company in the autumn.

“Even if you do not win an award, you get all the advice. When you enter be passionate and enjoy what you do because this will help you to be successful.”

The Spark Harborough District business initiative funded by Harborough District Council is designed to generate jobs, encourage entrepreneurship and boost the local economy. It provides free business support services and the climax to the initiative is the Spark Business Idea Awards where business innovators get support to assist with business growth plans and two winners share prizes in excess of £40,000. To find out more and enter the competition visit www.sparkharborough.com. The closing date for entries is 5pm on May 19.