As part of the programme, Ali will receive free business accommodation, with broadband and phone charges included in the prize.  She will also receive frequent mentoring support, covering everything from business strategy and marketing, to accounts and promotions.

Ali will be based in the Aspire Building within Middleton Auction Mart, allowing her to benefit from being part of a community of rural businesses operating from this purpose built hub. Being a small business in an enterprise zone there will be a range of support available from UTASS, H&H Land and Property and South Durham Enterprise.

Upon receiving her prize, Ali said: “This is a great opportunity to expand my business and continue to supply the local area with my products.  I have already received some fantastic business advice from South Durham Enterprise and Peter Hull, which has been really helpful as it is my first business.  Together they have ensured that I am compliant in terms of the legislative requirements of my business, and giving me marketing and promotional advice.  I would like to thank them for all the support they have given me, and the opportunity to further develop my business.”

Born and bred in the Middleton, Ali, 26 set up Sweet Tooth 9 months ago after spotting a gap in the market.  Since then her business has grown and she now specialises in products such as sweet trees and gift boxes, while also catering for everything from children’s parties to hen parties.

In order to win the award, Ali had to prove she met the criteria set by H&H and UTASS, attending an interview in which she demonstrated a clear business vision for the future, with the drive to make her business succeed.

Peter Hull, Director of H&H Land and Property said:  “Ali demonstrated some excellent business skill during the application process, process; she saw an empty niche in the market and has sought to exploit it, displaying exceptional drive to make her business succeed whilst balancing the demands of a young family.”

Peter adds:  “We are very excited to begin our work with Ali; it is wonderful to see such a progressive young businesswoman establish herself in the local area.  The programme will be hugely beneficial and we hope that it will really help to drive the business forward.  As a company we pride ourselves on making a difference to the community and helping it thrive. Providing business support to young up and coming businesspeople is one of the ways we can really help make a difference to people’s lives and we take this role extremely seriously.”

H&H Land and Property are keen to continue to engage with the local community, and as one of the largest firms of chartered surveyors and specialist rural advisors; they offer an extensive range of expertise throughout the north of England.

Diane Spark, Project Manager at UTASS commented that:  “We are delighted to be working in partnership with H&H and South Durham Enterprise Agency to provide such a magnificent opportunity for a young person to test the waters and develop a successful local business.

“Ali is from a farming family and has lived in the village all her life, and with two small children an opportunity like this provides her with the flexibility to combine her family life with running her own business enterprise.”