Taking a look at business ideas

The judges who will run the rule over South Tyneside's next generation of entrepreneurs have been revealed.

Next week, three shortlisted candidates will come to the Gazette offices to pitch their business ideas before a panel of experts as part of our If We Can You Can competition.

After a Dragon's Den-style grilling, the panel will pick the final two who will be put forward to a public vote, with a winner announced next month.

Among the panel is the Gazette's assistant news editor Tom Patterson and former IWCYC winner Kaye Winship.

Optician Kaye was named winner in 2008 for her business S Walton Eyecare, in Stanhope Road, South Shields, and is in the perfect position to spot the next high flier.

The 40-year-old mum-of-two said: "We are looking for something fresh and new.

"The standard of the entrants has risen unbelievably every year, so it will take a great idea to win. Winning in 2008 helped me enormously.

"The exposure in the Gazette also helped. I was given a much higher profile, which resulted in a lot more people coming to see me."

Other judges are Carol Metcalfe, who set up fine art business Musa, and Angela Brown, who set up Boldon-based Training in Childcare Ltd, which provides help for childcare workers.

As well as becoming the Gazette's 'Face of Entrepreneurship for the North East,' the winner will claim a unique prize, including a package of business mentoring and one year's membership to the Entrepreneurs' Forum.

All finalists will become entrepreneurial ambassadors for the region.