The search to discover fifteen of the UK’s most exceptional minds is well and truly on. Benedict Smith tells us more about entry criteria and deadline dates. It's your chance to be crowned Britain's best entrepreneur and to win five thousand pounds.

The search to discover fifteen of the UK’s most exceptional minds is well and truly on. Benedict Smith (find him on Twitter @BenSmithPCG) tells us more about entry criteria and deadline dates. It's your chance to be crowned Britain's best entrepreneur and to win five thousand pounds.
 
The competition, which gives the UK’s brightest and best self-employed people the chance to win £5,000 to put towards their business, closes on the 1st September, and the entries are flying in.
 
Recent statistics revealed there are now more than 4.55 million self-employed people in the UK. It’s a figure which has grown uninterruptedly since 2004. The dramatic rise of people deciding to strike out on their own signals that self-employment is now very much the new way of working.
 
Fifteen for 2015 recognises this. It’s a competition designed to give these hard-working and brave self-starters a helping hand – and not just financially either. The fifteen finalists will all receive business support, financial advice and tech worth thousands of pounds. The chosen fifteen – picked by an expert panel of judges – will also be invited as guests of honour to a star-studded celebration in the heart of London in November.
 
The competition to be crowned the UK’s best self-employed person is heating up. So much so, that even The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson – who recently announced he will stand in the next election – has voiced his support.
 
“15 for 2015 aims to make life a little easier for those adventurous independent professionals from throughout the UK who want to control their own destiny and will also unearth some of our business leaders of the future," he said.
 
"London is home to tens of thousands of enterprising people who have taken the plunge and set up their own business when it would have been much less risky for them to get a regular nine to five job,” The Mayor continued. “These entrepreneurs help to make London the business capital of the world and a true commercial and economic powerhouse.”
 
Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna MP also backed the competition. “We should do all we can to highlight and showcase the growing contribution made by self-employed people to the UK economy,” he said.
 
“That’s why I’m pleased to support PCG’s Fifteen for 2015 competition which shines a spotlight on the UK’s self-employed professionals and the benefits which starting out on your own can bring, as we look forward to National Freelancers' Day later this year.”
 
And if you think the applicants for Fifteen for 2015 are confined to England or even just London, think again. Exciting entrepreneurs from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have thrown their hats into the ring. Ian Murray, Shadow Business Minister and MP for Edinburgh South, is another high-profile politician who has backed the campaign, emphasising that Fifteen for 2015 is turning heads north of the border too.
 
“This is an exciting competition that will highlight the very best of those who are self-employed. It is incredibly rewarding being self-employed and there are significant advantages - the chance to be your own boss, grow your own business and be entrepreneurial. I look forward to seeing the winners of the 15 for 2015 competition,” said Murray.
 
Self-employment covers a wonderfully diverse range of industries, professions and services in the UK. To represent this, Fifteen for 2015 is encouraging anyone from web-designers, writers, app developer, artisan bakers or architects to enter. If you believe you are one of the UK’s brightest and best self-employed people, enter 15 for 15 now!
 
Find out more about Fifteen for 2015. Keep abreast of the latest news on Twitter @15for15