VIDEO: Local business winners

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CHAMPIONS! MEET the fabulous trio of businesses who were today crowned as the Hartlepool winners of a national contest.

A toffee-making company, a wellbeing firm, and a tea room/restaurant were celebrating after becoming the three town winners in the Hartlepool Mail-backed Local Business Accelerators competition.

Each of them wins a prize of free advertising in the Hartlepool Mail as well as mentoring from three top town business experts.

The winning companies are;

Clarity Wellbeing – a health and social services firm based in Scarborough Street. It helps workforces to enjoy a high level of wellbeing, so that workers realise a healthy work-life balance and companies enjoy reduced sickness rates. It is owned and run by Christine Paul.

Christine said: “This means so much to me. I am so pleased. The prize of the advertising means I can bring my business to the attention of more people. It means I can get information out there.”

There’s plenty happening for Clarity Wellbeing at the moment which is moving to the Victoria Road Health Centre on February 15.

Christine said the move would “help me bring my services to the attention of others as I will be more accessible.”

Mary Rowntree’s – a tea room and restaurant on the Headland in Hartlepool, based in a converted church.

It was transformed into its current format by owner John O’Connor who has already employed 11 staff and hopes to continue growing the company.

John told the Mail: “The staff will be absolutely delighted. This has been a team effort and it is important for us.”

He said his team of employees had “worked their socks off and everyone has excelled. This had made my day. I am over the moon.”

He said Mary Rowntree’s had a comments book and it had received “rave reviews” from customers who had come from as far afield as South Africa, China and the USA.

“That speaks volumes for the staff here.”

Sweet Niblets Confectionery – a toffee making business run from their home by husband and wife team Carole and Geoffrey Earl.

Their speciality range of home-made toffees includes strawberries and cream, treacle, mint and banana.

Delighted Carole said: “This has absolutely taken my breath away. It has been a really difficult month for us but then something like this comes along and makes it all worthwhile.

“I really need the help of a mentor, someone who can help to take the company to the next stage with practical business skills and a bit of knowhow.”

As well as winning the town heat, one of those three will also be chosen to go forward to the regional finals of the contest, and potentially the national stages.

The overall winner will receive free membership of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) for a year, free business advice from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) valued at £2,000, and an iPad from Freeagent, which is also offering a year’s free access to its accountancy software to each of the national finalists, valued at £300 per finalist.

That’s in addition to the campaign’s main prize of mentoring from the campaign’s national ambassador Deborah Meaden, of Dragons’ Den, and a free ad campaign in their local newspaper.

The Business Growth Fund has also contributed with a £10,000 cash sum for the overall winner.




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