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Couple transported to success with 'Grow With the Show' win 31 Mar

The annual competition aims to help new Lincolnshire businesses by giving them the platform and tools needed to excel in the crucial early stages of setting up and establishing their businesses. Held in conjunction with the Lincolnshire Show, the winning business will receive the opportunity to showcase their business in front of 60,000 people at the event in June.

Teaming up with Sparkhouse at the University of Lincoln, we were delighted to choose 28-year-old Sophie Bulgin and 27-year-old Aaron Walker as the 2016 winners, crowning the pair's business Mantle.

Having only opened last November, the business modifies shipping containers into customised, unique and versatile spaces for both commercial and domestic use.

Joint owner at Mantle, Sophie, said: “I can’t believe that we have won Grow with the Show. It was the first time that we had pitched our business to anyone so to be selected is brilliant and has given us even more faith and confidence in our business concept.

“Having only been trading for five months, we entered the competition as we thought it would be the perfect platform to help us raise awareness of our brand by taking advantage of foot traffic at the Lincolnshire Show.

“We are going to use this amazing opportunity to showcase what we can do and just how versatile a shipping container can be. It will also be an ideal time to undertake market research and get a better understanding of other people’s opinions and ideas about our business.”

As well as free trade space at the 132nd Lincolnshire Show on the 22 and 23 June, Sophie and Aaron will also receive a £250 cash prize and business mentoring from the Sparkhouse team, a detailed website review worth £300 from Root Studio and an invitation to the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards.

Runner-up 23-year-old Ashley Wilks, who entered the competition with his business Wall Breaker Productions, has received a £100 prize from Sparkhouse and two Lincolnshire Agricultural Society guest badges providing free admission to the Show and networking opportunities.

He said: "I work with two other directors Thomas Mckie and Luke Winter supplying commercial videos for businesses. Grow With the Show was the perfect opportunity for us to meet other Lincolnshire businesses and network.

"It was great to be placed as runner-up in the competition as I don't often have the opportunity to present the business and I received some great feedback. I am now looking forward to attending the Lincolnshire Show in June."

Jayne Southall, CEO for Lincolnshire Showground, added: "Grow With the Show is a fantastic platform for any business in Lincolnshire to get their business recognised and showcased in front of thousands of people.

"We have had a number of excellent businesses enter and pitch for us but both Mantle and Wall Breaker Productions stood out as brilliant start-ups that have the ambition and drive to succeed and significantly grow over the next year.

"We wish Sophie, Aaron and Ashley the best of luck and look forward to supporting their businesses and seeing them go from strength to strength.

"The Lincolnshire Showground would also like to thank Sparkhouse, the University of Lincoln, Lincolnshire Media and Root Studio for their continued support towards Grow With the Show."

Find out more about this year's Lincolnshire Show at www.lincolnshireshow.co.uk

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