O2 today announces the launch of 2008 O2 X Awards, the search for the best of British entrepreneurs and small businesses. Now in their 5th year, the awards are looking for something extra special in the new generation of small businesses who are making an impact in an increasingly competitive market-place. The O2 X Awards are open for entry via http://www.o2blueroom.co.uk/O2XAwards with entrants being able to self nominate or be recommended by others for entry.

For the first time, there will be four individual categories to enter and one overall winner that will be crowned O2 X Entrepreneur of the Year and scoop the £10,000 prize to help take their business to the next level. Each award category will focus on some of the most creative and exciting growth sectors in the small business market.

O2 X Award for Fashion – supported by Grazia

Recognising innovation and excellence in the small business world of the fashion industry, the Fashion X Award honours companies with brilliant ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that’ ideas – those set to become the ‘next big thing’.

O2 X Award for Technology & Innovation – supported by Shortlist

Whether it’s a product or a service the Technology & Innovation X Award will throw the spotlight on companies that demonstrate real creative and technological innovation to change the way we do things.

O2 X Award for Food & Drink – supported by Observer Food Monthly

Food and drink is now one of the most exciting sectors for entrepreneurs and SMEs and the Observer Food Monthly judges are looking for original and visionary businesses that bring something new to a busy and competitive marketplace.

O2 X Award for Music – supported by Music Week

The way we interpret, use and listen to music is changing every day. The Music Week judges will be looking for a business with vision and strong leadership that demonstrates an understanding of new, different and better ways of how we incorporate music in our lives.

About the O2 X Awards

The O2 X Awards give UK small businesses the opportunity to share in substantial benefits at both a regional and national level, including a £10,000 prize for the overall winner and the prestigious title of 2008 O2 X Entrepreneur of the Year.

As well as the overall £10,000 national prize for the O2 X Entrepreneur of the Year, each national category winner (Food & Drink, Fashion, Technology & Innovation and Music) will receive business mentoring from an industry figure from their category and a profile in their category’s media partner (Grazia, Shortlist, Observer Food Monthly or Music Week).

Simon Devonshire, Head of SME Marketing at O2, commented: “The O2 X Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate all the hard work of talented and inspirational small businesses in the UK today. As the UK’s number one network for SMEs, O2 is passionate about helping businesses achieve their goals and the O2 X Awards provide an invaluable platform for businesses to highlight their achievements at a local and national level.”

2007 Arena O2 X Award winner, Richard Palmer from d3o lab said: “The award has been a real benefit to myself and the company. It has brought a lot of further interest in the product and the technology, and is also a further stamp of credibility in the eyes of investors and customers. In summary it’s great exposure, a great sense of achievement and great to meet all the other entrepreneurs in the competition.”

Winners in all categories will be chosen from a regional shortlist before advancing to the O2 X Awards National Final at The O2 in London in October 2008.

Eligible businesses with 1-50 employees can enter any of the four categories in the following regions:

  • South West & Wales
  • North East
  • North West
  • London
  • East
  • South East
  • Central
  • Scotland

Regional winners will then be invited to attend the national finals for the O2 X Awards at The O2 in October 2008.

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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