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StartUp Awards Open For Entries

The 12th annual Startups Awards – the UK’s most prestigious awards for up-and-coming companies – are now open for entry.

Sponsored by the UK’s favourite business insurance broker Simply Business and organised by, the number one website for start-ups and small businesses, the Awards recognise the success of Britain’s newest businesses which have been trading for four years or less.

This year’s event will take place on Friday 27 November at the underground vaults of Vinopolis, near to London Bridge, hosted by comedian Alun Cochrane.

It will be one of the last events at the iconic site, which is due to close its doors at the end of the year to make way for a new upmarket shopping development.

There will be 15 awards on offer with categories including Innovative Business of the Year, Service Business of the Year and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, alongside four new awards for 2015 including App of the Year, Export Business of the Year, Retail Business of the Year and Lean Start-up of the Year.

The main accolade as usual will be the Simply Business Startups Business of the Year, selected from the winners of all other categories. Additionally, the People’s Champion will be voted for by readers of

David Lester, founder of, said: “We are very excited to launch Startups Awards 2015 which we hope will be the biggest ever.

“This year we have a new iconic venue and we are also moving the ceremony from a lunchtime to an evening start.

“It promises to be a very special night attended by some of the most exciting young companies in the UK. 

“The deadline for entry is September 11 and I expect the standard to be the highest ever.”

The awards have built an enviable reputation as one of the most important dates in the business diary since being launched in 2003.

Previous winners have included some of the UK’s fastest rising brands, such as (sold to Google for £37.7m), The Cambridge Satchel Company, Raspberry Pi, Ella’s Kitchen, Naked Wines,, YPlan, Joe & Seph’s Gourmet Popcorn and Secret Escapes. 

Last year’s event saw Edinburgh-based Beer52, a craft beer club founded by Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner James Brown, named Simply Business Startups Business of the Year. 

The People’s Champion award went to LendMeYourLiteracy, an online platform in which children can have their writing critiqued by a global audience.

Headline sponsor, Simply Business, returns for a third year in 2015. Head of Marketing & Communications at Simply Business, Jasper Martens, commented: “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Startups Awards are the most important and prestigious awards for businesses under four years old. 

“I would urge all new businesses out there to take a look and consider entering. I guarantee it will be a very special occasion at Vinopolis in November.”

DGChamber Lunch - Tickets on Sale NOW!

Dumfries & Galloway Chamber of Commerce present the Annual DGChamber Business Lunch.

Meet and mingle with over 250 business people from across the region at the biggest networking event in Dumfries & Galloway.

It's the ideal way to grow your contacts and develop the network you need to maximise your business potential.

Enjoy a delicious two-course meal featuring the regions finest local ingredients, help raise funds for our new Chamber Charity Cash for Kids and enjoy keynote speaker Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal of the University of the West of Scotland.

Chef Jonathan Brett has put together a great menu with locally sourced and produced ingredients:

Starter - Breaded Houstons Haggis, served on a bed of neeps and tatties with a rich whisky sauce.

Main Course - Lochmaben Beef Pie in a red wine sauce with local steamed vegetables and potatoes.

Coffee & homemade shortbread.

Bookings for this event have now closed.

Doors open at Easterbrook Hall at 11.45 on Monday October 5th 2015, lunch is announced at 12.15 with plenty of time for networking both before and after the lunch.  

We will be having our fundraising raffle, with some great prizes including a 1 year subscription to BT TV - Home of BIG entertainment including the UEFA Champions League and the BRAND NEW AMC channel, a whole year of BT Broadband and a BT TV Youview set top box. We also have a unique session with the Original You Company, to help you look and feel your best, Harper Stairmand have a 3 ball golf day to give away and Easterbrook Hall have given us a family ticket for the new Cinderella Pantomime.


Get Set For A 'Swinging' Event

Friday August 21st 2015 sees the first ever DGChamber Golf Team Challenge take place.

The event takes place at the beautiful Dumfries & Galloway Golf Club, a great way to meet other businesses, expand your networking circle and have a great round of golf.

Teams of 4 are invited to enter and with green fees of only £25 per team member including lunch it's sure to be a great and different way to spend your Friday.

Non-members are welcome to compete too, and don't worry if you don't want to enter as a team, we have the ability to make up teams as individuals are welcome to sign up too.

For more information or to book click the link below:

DGChamber Golf Event

Or to see more watch our Youtube video:

DGChamber Golf Youtube

Time is running out for this years Social Enterprise Awards....

The Social Enterprise Awards Scotland are open for entries. These annual awards, organised by Social Enterprise Scotland, are a unique opportunity for social enterprises across the country to celebrate their achievements.

Social enterprises are independent businesses that exist to deliver a specific social and/or environmental mission.


Social Enterprise Scotland are encouraging every Scottish social enterprise to enter the 2015 awards - particularly those who haven’t entered before, those who don’t perhaps identify as a social enterprise, are taking tentative steps away from a traditional charity model or aren’t even aware that they are a social enterprise.

Audrey Carlin of Wasps Studios, winners of Social Enterprise of the Year 2014, says, “It was fantastic for Wasps to win Social Enterprise of the Year last time. The recognition the award has given Wasps on a national level has been incredible and has opened new doors for us. We'd urge all eligible organisations to put themselves forward for the awards this year.”

Craig Sanderson of social housing provider Link Group said, “Since Link was formed in 1962 it has, in effect, been a social enterprise - having delivered not only its core activity of providing homes but also supporting people and regenerating and reinvesting in communities. We’ve been honoured many times but are particularly proud of these awards as they recognise our social impact plus our entrepreneurial approach. We very much identify as a social enterprise.”

The closing date for applications and nominations is 10th July and you can find more information on the Social Enterprise Scotland website.

Scottish Chamber of Commerce Respond to Summer Budget

Commenting on the Chancellor’s Summer Budget Statement, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“This has been one of the most densely packed Budgets of recent years, which shifts the goalposts completely in a number of key areas.  For businesses, there are pluses and minuses: good news in terms of future further reductions in Corporation Tax rates and the extension of the annual investment allowance but of course what will be uppermost in many businesses’ minds is the creation of a new mandatory National Living Wage and the implications this has for employers.  This is a Budget where the full implications may take some time to digest.  However the UK Government has missed a clear opportunity to secure future growth opportunities by failing to deliver a clear answer on airport capacity expansion and by failing to act to reduce VAT for our tourism businesses.”

Mrs Cameron went on to comment on specific aspects of the Budget:

On the National Living Wage:

“The creation of a new National Living Wage which will apply to all employees aged 25 and over will come as a bolt from the blue for many employers.  Businesses aspire for the best for their employees and most businesses already pay this rate or more, however for some businesses, and especially smaller businesses in some key sectors such as retail and hospitality, wages of this level do not fit within current commercial models.  Ultimately, consumers will dictate what is affordable and what is not.  That is why transition arrangements are important and, in this case, appear to fall somewhat short.  The rate of £7.20 per hour applicable from 2016 is more than 10% higher than the current National Minimum Wage and, whilst the National Insurance Contributions Employment Allowance rises to £3,000 next year, it will be a further year before any other benefits to businesses arrive in the form of a cut in Corporation Tax.  Businesses need assurance from Government that their genuine concerns over transition to the new scheme will be listened to and acted upon accordingly.”

On Corporation Tax:

“It is welcome news that the downward path in Corporation Tax is to continue over the next five years.  Having an economy with a low corporate tax rate is important not just for existing businesses but as a component in the package we offer to those in other countries looking to invest in Scotland and the UK.  That said, for many businesses, the real problem at the moment is the high levels of other business taxes, such as Business Rates, which show no signs of abating.  It is time that the Scottish Government took advantage of its new powers to help facilitate a change in Business Rates that would benefit Scotland’s businesses.”

On the Annual Investment Allowance:

“It is good news that the Annual Investment Allowance has been increased and extended.  This is vital in order to incentivise business investment and to cement growth in our economy and in productivity.”

On the Apprenticeship Levy:

“This new scheme is being used to fund apprenticeships in England and it will be interesting to monitor this and its effectiveness as Scotland looks to extend its own apprenticeship programme.”

On welfare cuts:

“The Chancellor has now provided some detail around his plans to cut the welfare budget by £12 billion and it is clear that much of this will come from in-work benefits.  We will be monitoring the knock on effects that this policy will have both on employers and in terms of the wider economy, as this could result in falling consumer demand, which until now has been one of the key drivers of economic growth.”