FIVE top business brains were today starting the tough task of picking the finalists for a Hartlepool Mail-backed competition.
The next stage of the If we can, you can challenge has arrived.
A panel of top town entrepreneurs were gathering today at the UK Steel Innovation Centre on the Queens Meadow Business Park to meet each of the hopefuls in the Hartlepool contest.
They will decide on two to go through to the finals.
The three people in the running are Kris Middleton, 23, from the Belle Vue area of Hartlepool, whose business The Legend of Skippy offers website development, applications, games, videos and animations.
Also in the running is Ian Griffiths, 45, who is setting up an advertising agency, Bright Ideas, at the Hartlepool Enterprise Centre.
The third hopeful is Castle Eden-based Ian Jobling, 42, whose firm Product Revolution is a product and packaging design and development firm.
Each will meet the panel of judges.
The two finalists will be officially announced at the annual Entrepreneurs’ Forum Conference next week.
Then, the overall If we can, you can winner will be decided by a public vote and announced on Thursday, June 23.
As well as becoming the Hartlepool Mail’s Face of Entrepreneurship for the North East, the winner will claim a package of prizes worth up to £5,000.