FUNDING for business start-ups and ideas is becoming harder to find.
In the past I’ve mentioned Shell Livewire, which gives away grants of £1,000 each month to help you get your business (under 12 months old) well and truly off the ground.
This week I want to highlight a brand new source of funding from mobile giant Orange.
The Different Competition has been launched to find a business or project that is different.
If you have a unique idea or something that pushes the boundaries, Orange wants to hear from you.
The prize fund is a massive £200,000, plus support to make your idea happen and change your life forever!
The judging panel is made up of some of the most successful business leaders and they’re looking for the brightest and freshest ideas.
If you think you have one, you must enter - you never know, you could become the UK’s next different business.
For more information and to enter go to: http://www.winyourbusiness.com
ANOTHER fantastic opportunity has been launched by the BBC.
Richard Reed, the co-founder of Innocent drinks, is fronting an exciting new series for BBC Three.
He has £1m at his disposal, and is looking to nurture and invest in the next wave of young entrepreneurs.
In his early 20s, Richard and two friends had a business idea that no one believed in.
Eventually one man took a chance on them and their company was born, turning Richard and his mates into millionaires.
Now Richard wants to do the same for a new generation of start-up superstars.
If you and your friends have got a killer idea, or already have a business but need help to make it grow, and you’re up for the challenge, apply today for your shot at a life-changing investment from one of Britain’s most inspiring business leaders.
To apply, visit: https://couldyoubeyourownboss.apply.twofour.co.uk/
BACK to the North East, where there are numerous exciting enterprise events and happenings taking place right now.
The UK’s first Start-up Weekend outside London and Cambridge will take place from April 20-22 at Newcastle University Business School.
Start-up Weekend is a world-renowned, 54-hour start-up event that provides the networking, resources, and incentives for individuals and teams to go from idea to launch.
In the past two years, more than 300 Start-up events have been held, 35 countries visited, over 600 start-ups created, and more than 45,000 entrepreneurs inspired.
Teams have even started to generate revenue during the event, others gone on to direct angel and VC investment, and 36 per cent of Start-up Weekend start-ups are going strong after three months.
Sponsored by Newcastle University Business School, Start-up Weekend Newcastle will be the first event in the North East, and aims to inspire attendees towards building their own successful businesses.
The event is open to anyone interested in the North East entrepreneurial community, and includes an all-star list of experienced entrepreneurs, providing hands-on mentoring to guide teams from proof of concept to prototypes.
Tickets are £29.99, which includes weekend access, mentoring, food and drink, and can be purchased through the official website: http://newcastle.startupweekend.org
FINALLY, last week I mentioned the launch of the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy within our region, with hubs being announced at both Sunderland and Newcastle College.
This is brilliant news for the area, and will give young people the opportunity to take part in a hands-on course that will see them set up and launch their own business.
The Sunderland Peter Jones Enterprise Academy is hosting a launch event on the evening of March 27.
You can find out all about the course and what it entails plus hear from Stacie Stewart, a successful local entrepreneur, alongside myself.
I’ll be telling my story and sharing my experience of the Enterprise Academy in Manchester.
For FREE tickets to this great evening, visit: www.citysun.ac.uk/pjea/
Go for it! See you next week.
* If you have enterprising news you want to share, get in touch via Twitter @grantridley, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.grantridley.com