At a special presentation event held at Blenheim Palace on Wednesday the eight finalists were invited to formally pitch their ideas to a team of senior management; including Chief Executive Dominic Hare.
After hearing from all eight finalists the judges decided to support two different small businesses; Neve’s Bees, which produces 100% natural beeswax skincare products, and designer and artist Kathryn Coxson, who creates a range of clothing accessories and homewear.
There were a total of 55 initial applications which were whittled down to the final eight and Blenheim is already looking at staging a similar event next year.
“Overall we were really pleased with the extremely high standard of all the pitches and it was an incredibly difficult decision to come up with an overall winner; so we ended up choosing two!” said CEO, Dominic Hare.
“Both Kathryn’s and Neve’s Bees’ presentations appealed to us as they have already demonstrated a very positive attitude to getting their businesses off the ground and it’s that dedication and enthusiasm which we were particularly looking for,” he added.
As part of their prize the winners will receive a contract to supply their products to the retail areas at Blenheim Palace. They will also get support with marketing, profiling and ongoing advice from business mentors. Each business has also been given a B4 Membership, offering them exclusive networking in the Oxfordshire area.
“The level of interest has been extremely high and we want to continue to work with enthusiastic and motivated businesses and entrepreneurs as they are helping to strengthen and develop the local economy,” said Dominic.
“The failure rate of startups within their first couple of years is extremely high. We believe this scheme will not only provide great new products for Blenheim but also help to ensure more businesses survive and thrive
“Initially we’ve chosen people who can supply us with products for our retail outlets, however the plan is to expand this to other business sectors in the future,” he added.