Intuit QuickBooks, online accounting software provider has launched its Small Business Big Success competition in conjunction with the Birmingham Post and Mail.

From butchers and builders, to hairdressers and IT consultancies, the competition aims to uncover local business heroes who are working hard day in day out to achieve success in whatever form matters to them.

Now in its second year, the competition is calling for entrants to describe their biggest success story and how they want to develop their business in 2016.

The winner will receive a package worth over £20,000 – including £10,000 in prize money along with advertising and Aston Villa prizes. Entrants will also have the chance to attend a gala dinner at Villa Park.

With over 99 per cent of the private sector made up of SMEs, small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy. This is especially true in the West Midlands, one of the country’s most vibrant and diverse hubs for SMEs.

In recent years, Birmingham has emerged as a new epicentre for entrepreneurs to start their business and a hotspot for investors.

Recorded as having the highest number of new startups launching in 2014, and the most active business population, Birmingham is the top performing entrepreneurial city outside of the South East.

Mike Williams, Director of Finance, Europe, Intuit, comments, “After a fantastic competition last year, we’re really excited to be bringing Small Business Big Success back to the West Midlands.

We’re looking to celebrate the everyday triumphs in starting, running and growing a business and support those looking to get to the next level. It’s not about finding the most profitable or fastest growing businesses. We’re looking to uncover genuine success stories – from delighting customers and exceeding targets to expanding the team or closing a significant deal – whatever has been the achievement they’re most proud of.”

Keon Heidarinia, co-owner of Boo Boo Coffee and winner of the inaugural Small Business Big Success competition, comments, “Winning the competition has had a major impact on our business and the prize package has really helped us push things forward. We’ve been able to start delivering an evening trade, which has helped us to grow the business.

The prize also helped us to fund training for all our junior staff members, making them experts on coffee ingredients, methods, treatments and techniques – skills they can take with them anywhere in the world.”

Businesses have until Monday 29th February to enter the competition. The winner will then be selected by a panel of judges including Mike Williams, Director of Finance, Europe, at Intuit, Tom Fox, CEO at Aston Villa Football Club, Graeme Brown, Business and Agenda Editor at the Birmingham Post and Mail and Saqib Bhatti, President of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce, and announced at the gala dinner at Villa Park on Tuesday 22nd March.

As well as the prize money, winners will receive a full page article in the Birmingham Post profiling their business, LED advertising at Villa Park at the Aston Villa v Southampton fixture on Saturday 23rd April, hospitality tickets to the match, exclusive access to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, a free QuicksBooks Online subscription for 12 months and expert clinic sessions with accountant, marketing and social media specialists.

Keon concludes: “We weren’t the highest profile or most profitable business in the competition but the judges clearly liked our story. So I’d advise any small business owner thinking of entering to get their entry in now for the chance to make their business bigger and better this year!”