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Martin McCourt, formerly CEO of Dyson has been added to the list of judges of the O2 Smarta 100 Awards. McCourt spent 15 years with the company, helping build into a £1Billion business with products in 52 countries.

McCourt joins a stellar panel to judge award entries including Smarta CEO and No.1 Bestselling author Shaa Wasmund, O2 Business Director Ben Dowd, Al Gosling, Founder of The Extreme Sports Company and Polly Gowers who founded last year’s overall winner Give As You Live.

Now in its fifth year, the O2 Smarta 100 Awards have always been devotedly unscientific in their judging. Instead of simply finding the 100 most profitable businesses, the O2 Smarta 100 will unearth and celebrate the businesses and entrepreneurs who are genuinely disrupting their markets, positively engaging customers and bringing new ideas into traditional industries.

With £10,000 on offer to the overall winner and £1,000 to each category winner, and the chance to join such illustrious alumni as Naked Wines, Huddle, Funding Circle, Graze, Zoopla, Crowdcube and Superjam it’s no surprise that the awards attract over a thousand applications every year.

The deadline for applications is now close, with just two weeks left for small businesses to get their applications in

The 2014 100 winning companies will be divided into 10 categories (listed below) to ensure the awards represent a true cross-section of UK small business. The public will vote for the winner of each category, before the esteemed judging panel selects the overall winning ‘O2 Smarta 100 Business of the Year’.

Martin McCourt said:
'My time as CEO at Dyson allowed me to witness first hand what can happen when a British company invests in developing inventive solutions to everyday problems that we all endure with dysfunctional products and technology. I am looking forward to cheering on the next wave of Inventive British companies that are seeking to achieve global success, like Dyson managed to do.'

Smarta’s Shaa Wasmund added:
“O2 Smarta 100 always has a special place in my diary from the launch to the awards ceremony. Each year the competition gets tougher so I can’t wait to see what’s on offer in 2014”

Ben Dowd, Business Director O2 UK, said:
"O2 is passionate about helping UK small businesses and we are proud to sponsor the O2 Smarta 100 to recognise the most disruptive and innovative in 2014. Last year’s winner had a strong digital focus and I’m hoping to see more of the same this year. ”

Businesses have until September 12th to enter the awards. They can apply at: www.smarta.com/smarta100.

This year's winning O2 Smarta 100 businesses will be announced October 1st.

The voting and judging stages will then commence to determine the category winners and overall O2 Smarta 100 Business of the Year, to be announced at an awards ceremony in mid-November.

Full list of judges:
Paul Lindley, Ella’s Kitchen
Eamon Fitzgerald, Naked Wines
Al Gosling, Extreme Group
Shaa Wasmund, Smarta
Ben Dowd, Business Director O2 UK
Charlie Mullins, Pimlico Plumbers
Lynne Franks, B.Hive
Polly Gowers, Give as you Live
Matt Thomas, Smarta
Martin McCourt, Montagu

O2 Smarta 100 Awards categories:
Most Innovate Business
Best Use of Technology
Best Use of Marketing
People Business of the Year
Female-run Business of the Year
Micro Business of the Year (fewer than five employees)
Biggest Social Impact Award
Mobile Business of the Year
Startup of the Year (one year old or younger)
Made In Britain

Notes to editors:
Smarta is the UK’s trusted destination for startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs, providing advice, support, events, software and savings to help start and grow your business.
Founded by Shaa Wasmund, Smarta is backed by some of the UK's top entrepreneurs, including Deborah Meaden, Theo Paphitis, Michael Birch and Sir Richard Needham. At the heart of everything we do is a commitment to encourage more people to start and grow successful businesses.

Contact information:
For interviews with Shaa Wasmund, any of the O2 Smarta 100 judges or previous winners, please contact:
Daniel Ivery, editor, Daniel.Ivery@smarta.com
To interview O2’s Ben Dowd or for more information on O2, please contact:
Becky Potgieter, becky.potgieter@telefonica.com

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Smarta.com in the following categories: Business & Finance, Media & Marketing, Retail & Fashion, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.