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CAMPAIGN NEWS: HBOS on £35 million search for 'entrepreneurial spirit'

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Bank of Scotland Corporate has relaunched its annual Entrepreneur Challenge for 2008 in partnership with the Sunday Times.

The competition prize fund has been extended for 2008, offering an extra £10 million on top of last year's sum, taking the total to £35 million. This year, seven promising entrepreneurs - each from a different region of the UK - will be awarded an investment of up to £5 million each.

The bank is inviting any UK business to enter the competition provided they have a turnover of at least £2 million per annum and at least two years' sustained growth in sales, revenue or profit.

Judges say they are looking for "real entrepreneurial spirit and a sound business idea."

Peter Cummings, chief executive of Bank of Scotland Corporate, says, "The success of last year's challenge demonstrated that entrepreneurial spirit is thriving in the UK. As a result, we have launched the challenge for 2008 with an additional £10 million to encourage entrepreneurship and demonstrate our willingness to offer financial support. This is now available to seven companies who display the flair for business that marks entrepreneurs out from the crowd."

The seven regional winners will go on to a national final, to be held in December, with the overall winner named Entrepreneur of the Year. Last year's winner, Matt Riley at Daisy Communications, says, "We have benefited enormously from the funding package, but the entry process itself also had a huge impact on the business. It meant we had to analyse and clarify our plans to ensure we had a sound strategy for future development."

Ads are being run in press titles including The Telegraph, City AM and Management Today, as well as featuring online.

The closing date for entries is 19 May.

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