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HARTLEPOOL’S grand winner in last year’s business challenge has urged other firms to grasp the chance for glory in this year’s contest.

Town firm Get More Time won the Hartlepool leg of the 2011 Local Business Accelerators (LBA) challenge.

The medical sales and marketing company based at Hartlepool Enterprise Centre beat off tough opposition to be chosen as the best in Hartlepool.

Sales director Jason Wilson said: “I think it is great for small businesses in the Hartlepool region to get involved in this type of competition.

“It clearly demonstrates there are opportunities for new business’s out there to gain valuable help and assistance through competitions such as this. But like every success it comes with hard work.”

Get More Time has “substantially changed” since winning last year’s prize of mentoring, free advertising space in the Hartlepool Mail as well as the chance to compete for the national title, said Mr Wilson.

He added: “The impact of the recession has meant that we have had to focus on one specific area and broaden the types of products that we now deal with. We are looking towards developing products of our own, hopefully working alongside engineering companies in Teesside.

“Our goal is to try and export more out of the region and to try to create more sales career opportunities for the North-East region.”

The firm remains a medical sales and marketing company but with a specialism and a focus on orthopaedics, said Mr Wilson.

He said: “We are currently re-designing our website and looking to use Get Orthopaedics as our overall brand for these specific products.”

Get More Time is still based in the Enterprise Centre although it has moved to a more suitable ground floor unit.

Mr Wilson said: “Despite the economic turndown we are optimistic about the future with innovative new products in orthopaedics such as patient specific knee implants.”

For the second year running, we are backing the nation’s search to find the best in growing businesses.

The highly acclaimed Local Business Accelerators campaign, organised by the Newspaper Society, is led by Deborah Meaden of Dragons’ Den.

This year’s winners will receive a free advertising campaign in their local paper plus mentoring support from local business leaders.

In our area, those mentors are;

l Alby Pattison, managing director of Hartlepool company Hart Biologicals;

l Pam Hargreaves, a director of town company XIVVI, and a founding member of the Women What Do club;

l John Megson, co-ordinator of both the Hartlepool Business Forum and the Hartlepool Business Awards.

Businesses aged between one and five years can enter the competition in their local newspaper, the Hartlepool Mail and the Peterlee Star.

They can register via the LBA hub which can be found at www.accelerateme.co.uk. They must register before the closing date of Friday, November 16.