Entrepreneurs can enter our competition to win £5,000 to help their start-up

HAVE you got a big idea for a small business?

We’ve teamed up with Camelot to give 50 kitchen table entrepreneurs the helping hand they need to launch their business dream. 

Entrepreneurs can enter our competition to win £5,000 to help their start-upCredit: Getty – Contributor

We’ll be giving away a whopping £250,000 to help small start-ups – and get you started on the road to success.

Every fledgling business we select will win a bumper £5,000 grant to grow or buy the basics you need to begin in business.

Though kitchen table firms are small in size, they have a huge impact on our economy. Small companies make up 97 per cent of all UK businesses and account for three fifths of all UK employment. 

And as lockdown eases, there’s never been a better time to set up on your own.

Despite the pandemic, more than 804,000 new businesses were launched last year nationwide – up almost five per cent on 2019.

So whether you want to be the next Alan Sugar or simply want to fit work around caring commitments or the kids, The Sun and Camelot can help you make it happen.

To help you build your business, our bumper business grant giveaway offers:

  •   25 x £5,000 grants for existing microbusinesses to help you grow
  •  25 x £5,000 grants for to set up your brand new business

Our amazing business giveaway is backed by top entrepreneurs, celebrities and industry experts – and we’ll support you all the way with tips, help and insider advice.

HOW TO ENTER 

Fill in the entry form below by May 22. 

Our panel of experts will choose the winners and grants will be allocated in June and July.

See the full terms and conditions

I’m excited to see inventive new ideas

By Camelot CEO, Nigel Railton

AS CEO of Camelot, which operates The National Lottery, I see examples of people and projects putting National Lottery grants to amazing use every single day. And over the past year, I’ve heard so many incredible stories of people coming up with ingenious ideas that are bringing communities together and making the UK a better place to live.

For example, I loved the story of National Lottery Award winners Sean Welsh and Megan Mitchell who, thanks to support from National Lottery players, have produced subtitles for more than 275 films during lockdown. This not only helps people with disabilities and hearing difficulties, but a huge number of other people use subtitles too – including those learning English.

That’s why we at Camelot are hugely excited to be backing The Sun’s ‘Kitchen Table Entrepreneurs’ initiative – to see what inventive new ideas are uncovered. At this time more than ever, we understand the importance that small firms make to the UK economy. So, in my role on the judging panel, I’ll be specifically looking out for those ideas that really fill a gap in the market, but also that go some way to helping keep people in work and bring something positive to society.

As we begin to hopefully come through the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, I truly can’t wait to get stuck in and see what ideas our ‘Kitchen Table Entrepreneurs’ have up their sleeve for boosting economic growth after lockdown. I’d urge anyone – even someone who has just a glimmer of an idea – to get involved, as the best ideas often come from a single moment of inspiration.

HOW TO GET STARTED BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS 

Get a helping hand from the nation’s top experts to help launch your small business.

Emma Jones, CBE, is the founder EnterpriseNation.com, said: 

1.    Do your research. You’ve got your idea, but what’s next? Spend some time researching online. There’s lots of support out there.

2.    Create a business plan.   A good way to look at this is I’M OFF: idea, market, operations, financials, and friends – which includes advisers and those who can help you along the way.

3.    Start selling via marketplaces. Selling via powerful global marketplaces like Amazon. Etsy and eBay will give you easy access to customers and you can parcel-up and send via your local Post Office. 

Or look for service-based platforms like Fiverr or People per Hour

4.    Get paid. If you’re using marketplaces, the cash comes through automatically, but if not, get used to regularly invoicing, and chasing.

Cash is king and prompt payment is vital for small firms.

5.    Upskill and network. Once you’ve got orders or work coming in, start networking to widen your contacts and build skills.

Hats off to The Sun

OUR campaign has government backing.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “Hats off to The Sun for launching this initiative and helping our budding entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground and scale up.

“Backing ambitious and dynamic business owners is key as we push to build back better and level up opportunity across the country.”

Michelle Ovens CBE, Founder, Small Business Britain, said: 

1.    Get support – no one is an expert in every area of business, so don’t try and do everything on your own. From pricing to finding customers, there is so much help available across the UK and online, and much of it is free.

2.    Be open minded – 2020 showed just how fast the world can change. Growing a business will rarely go exactly to plan.

The businesses that dealt with the crisis well reacted fast, changed things and made a plan B.

It’s important to keep that flexible mindset, as things inevitably continue to change.

3.    Think digital – From selling online to automating customer communications, technology offers huge opportunities.

If you need help BT Skills for Tomorrow is a great free programme.

4.    Focus on your customer – Listen to your customers, talk to them and find ways to support them – and good things will follow.

Remember people value small businesses more than ever and want them to succeed.

5.    Find community  Running your own business can also be lonely and challenging at times. Seek out mentors, experts and support from other small businesses – there is a really collaborative community out there.  

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