Winners of CN Group's Business Boost competition revealed

by Duncan Bick


TWO lucky companies have been given a £10,000 helping hand thanks to CN Group.

The publisher of The Cumberland News has announced the winners of its Business Boost competition.

CHO, a fashion and lifestyle business, and whisky retailer House of Malt, which are both based in Carlisle, emerged victorious after a Dragons Den-style meeting where they made presentations to a panel on their business, where they wanted to take it and how £10,000-worth of advertising would help them.

Gareth O'Rourke, the head of e-commerce at CHO, formerly known as Country House Outdoors, made the pitch for his firm, in Lonsdale Street in Carlisle city centre.

He was delighted to hear his firm had triumphed in the 'business with fewer than 250 employees' category.

"It is a great opportunity to extend the awareness of the business," he said.

The company does the majority of its trading online and wants to use the £10,000 to promote the off-line side of its offer. He described CN Group's publications as the ideal way to do this.

"CN has the most recognised local newspapers in the area," he said.

Mr O'Rourke pointed out that the firm carries about 100 different brands, giving it access to 3,000 individual items.

He had not been expecting to make the pitch and had to step in after managing director Anthony Irving found the pitching date this week clashed with his holiday.

Mr O'Rourke said: "It was actually quite good fun."

House of Malt, which is in Crosby Street, Carlisle City Centre, won in the 'business up to five-years-old' category. It opened in December and was previously an online-only business.

It is run by Ben Turnbull operates the online business House of Malt - - from his home at Moorhouse at Carlisle. Mr Turnbull had a successful career in online sales on Carlisle but decided last year to set up his own firm to meet the growing demand for specialist spirits.

He was also pleased to win Business Boost and also wants to use the advertising to make more people in the county aware of what the firm has on offer.

"I think more than 90 per cent of Cumbria does not know we are here," he said.

"We want to be the go to place for premium drinks in the county."

He added: "It (advertising) is something we have really needed to do but the budget just has not allowed for it," he said.

This is the fourth year that CN Group has run the Business Boost contest.

Chartered accountant Lamont Pridmore offers free mentoring and support to enterprises through the scheme.

Partner Graham Lamont, one of the judges, said: "I think the quality of the businesses that are coming forward is very high."

Stuart Irving, a partner at fellow sponsor Bendles, a law firm, was also one of the judges.

He said: "The entrants have been very impressive."

There were also winners in west and south Cumbria.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 10:15AM
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