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The Financial Times is delighted to be a sponsor of the Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Britain’s economic success is underpinned by those brave enough to build their own businesses, through imagination, hard work, perseverance and risk-taking.

As Gordon Brown, the chancellor, has recognised, entrepreneurs play an important role in economic development, spotting innovative business opportunities, providing fresh employment and building organisations that may grow into the large quoted companies of tomorrow.

Most media attention is focused on quoted companies, which have a requirement to report regularly to the markets. They can enter the competition, but the awards also provide an opportunity to highlight the achievements of the unquoted sector.

The contest is a way of unveiling remarkable stories of individual achievement. Entrepreneurs are often mavericks, exciting to be around and willing to pursue extraordinary ideas and break the mould of convention. Yet establishing a business involves graft more than glamour, and despite the government’s championing of entrepreneurs they can still face a formidable burden of red tape.

The FT looks forward to airing all these issues as the contest progresses, not only with extensive coverage in the newspaper, but also on our website, FT.com, where you can find out more about the competition, its time­table, and how to enter.

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