Who’s the best in biz?

Christine Paul from Clarity Wellbeing
Christine Paul from Clarity Wellbeing
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THREE businesses are waiting on tenterhooks to find out who has won the next stage in a Hartlepool Mail-backed challenge.

The Local Business Accelerators contest reaches its next major step on Wednesday, June 5. One town company will be revealed as the firm to represent Hartlepool in the regional finals.

John O'Connor (front centre) with his wife Daphne (front right) and staff (front left to right) Tracy Andrews, Sian Reed and Donna Andrews (rear left to right) Alistair Shea, Quintin Burger and Andrew Small

John O'Connor (front centre) with his wife Daphne (front right) and staff (front left to right) Tracy Andrews, Sian Reed and Donna Andrews (rear left to right) Alistair Shea, Quintin Burger and Andrew Small

And it’s a strong line-up which remains in the running.

• Clarity Wellbeing – a health and social services firm which helps workforces to realise a healthy work-life balance and companies to enjoy reduced sickness rates. It is owned and run by Christine Paul.

Christine’s business is based in the Victoria Road Health Centre. She believes winning Local Business Accelerators would be important because she could raise the profile of her firm to more people.

• Mary Rowntree’s – a tea room and restaurant on the Headland in Hartlepool, based in a converted church. It was transformed by owner John O’Connor who said the success of the business had been “a team effort and it is important for us.”

Geoff and Carol Earl, who run the confectionary company, Sweet Niblets from their Clavering home, are one of the winners of the Mail's Local Business Accelerator competition and will now receive free advertising in the Mail as well as mentoring from a successful business person.

Geoff and Carol Earl, who run the confectionary company, Sweet Niblets from their Clavering home, are one of the winners of the Mail's Local Business Accelerator competition and will now receive free advertising in the Mail as well as mentoring from a successful business person.

Customers have come from as far afield as South Africa, China and the USA.

• Sweet Niblets Confectionery – a toffee making business run from their home by husband and wife team Carole and Geoffrey Earl. Their speciality range includes strawberries and cream, treacle, mint and banana.

Delighted Carole was delighted to have reached this stage in the competition and praised the competition for giving Sweet Niblets the chance to get expert advice.

One will go forward to the regional finals of the contest, and potentially the national stages.

The national winner will receive mentoring from the campaign’s national ambassador Deborah Meaden, of Dragons’ Den, 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), 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.

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

The town winners will be revealed next week in your Hartlepool Mail, and online at www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk.