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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 05:31 GMT 06:31 UK
Pudding firm reaches final
Black puddings
Black puddings have proved a hit on the internet
A company that sells black puddings over the internet could be 20,000 richer after an awards ceremony on Thursday night.

Market stall worker Debbie Pierce began the Bury Black Pudding Company on the web in May 2002 and is now one step away from being named as the UK's best young business.

The company has beaten off fierce competition to reach the final of the HSBC Start-Up Awards 2003.

Ms Pierce said she had the idea for the company after being amazed at how far people would travel to get to Bury - the traditional home of the black pudding.

She began with a budget of 1,000 to pay for the website and adverts in farmers' fields close to major motorway junctions.

'Tough competition'

But she says her biggest breakthrough was in persuading Asda to stock her wares.

The supermarket now has plans to stock the North West delicacy at 75 stores.

John Rendall, head of business banking at HSBC Bank, said: "A record number of entries made this year's competition very tough.

"The Bury Black Pudding Company was up against some outstanding businesses and they should be justly proud of their achievement.

"The Bury Black Pudding Company is a great example of how people with guts and determination, backed by careful planning, can create an exciting new business."

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