NEWS: Virtalent shortlisted for £20,000 prize

We are delighted to say that we have been shortlisted as finalists at a regional awards ceremony along with two other businesses.

Baldwins Accountants’ second Entrepreneurs Awards will be held on Thursday 20th November, when the three businesses that have been shortlisted will compete to win a £10,000 grant along with £10,000 worth of accountancy advice from the company. Baldwins Accountants is one of the region’s largest, independent family-owned accountancy firms with eight offices across the Midlands.

Both runners-up will also be rewarded with £5,000 of mentoring and accountancy advice from Baldwins following the judges’ decision, after giving their presentations to a 300-strong audience at Villa Park.

Ellie Bekalo and Sam Wilson launched Virtalent at the Innovation Birmingham Campus adjacent to the Aston University campus. They will be competing against Give Vision, an app for Google Glass, which acts as “eyes” for blind and visually-impaired people, as well as Art of Football, that sells hand-crafted t-shirts which capture defining moments in football.

Ellie said: “When you are an entrepreneur just starting a business, there might be an area that you struggle to develop. We can assign you a Virtual Assistant who is capable of assisting in that business area, so that the entrepreneur can concentrate on the more value-adding aspects of their business.”

“The VA has an opportunity to earn a flexible, part-time income, which fits around their other commitments or clients and can be carried out from the comfort of their home, as well as gain interesting hands-on experience working with a growing small business. It allows them to put what they learn in the corporate world into practice.

Sam added: “We aim to reduce the cost and worry associated with employing permanent staff, allowing the small business owner to grow or shrink their business with ease, at the same time as giving them access to a wide range of different skillsets.”

“It would mean everything to us to win. Both the grant that is being offered, but also the support and advice offered to us, as we look to raise our first round of investment”.

David Baldwin, a partner at Baldwins Accountants, said the business owners had beaten some extremely talented candidates to reach the final.

“The finalists will present an overview of their business on the night to the audience and we want them to highlight their product or service, their future plans and their personality,” he said.

“We want to give the first prize to a business which has spotted a gap in the market and has long-term potential.”

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