It’s all sweet for Carole and Geoffrey’s business

Geoff and Carol Earl
Geoff and Carol Earl

THE boss of a toffee-making company has described her “wonderful journey” in a national business competition.

The final 15 was announced today for the national finals of the Hartlepool Mail-backed Local Business Accelerators contest.

Hartlepool’s representative Sweet Niblets Confectionery just missed out but company boss Carole Earl said the end result wasn’t important. The company’s raised profile had already made all the difference to the firm.

Sweet Niblets is run by Carole, 51, and her husband Geoffrey, 38.

They produce a toffee range which includes strawberries and cream, mint and banana as well as an Autumn and winter range with Bourbon, Irish Liqueur and Whisky Toffee.

Carole told the Mail: “The PR that I have out of this has been amazing. People are suddenly recognising me.

“I go out to places now and people say to me ‘you’re that lady who makes the toffee.’

“I feel like a celebrity and this competition has really generated interest in the company. You just can’t buy that type of PR.”

Sweet Niblets’ was the overall town winner in the competition. Their prize for being chosen as one of three town winners in the competition was free advertising in the Hartlepool Mail and mentoring from three town business experts.

Carole added: “The mentoring has been brilliant and that looks like it is going to continue. One of the mentors, Pam Hargreaves, is quite keen on that.”

“But the other great thing is it’s a real plus when we can go out and put on our publicity that we are an award winner.”

Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden, the campaign’s national ambassador, said: “Local newspaper advertising, whether in print, online or mobile, can provide a dramatic boost to SMEs which is beneficial both for the local communities they serve and the wider national economy.” 

The overall winner of LBA will be revealed at a ceremony in London later in the year.

As well as mentoring from Deborah, the winner will receive prizes including £10,000 cash from the Business Growth Fund, an iPad from FreeAgent, a year’s free membership of the CBI, £2,000 worth of business advice from the ICAEW.