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Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards

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Published on 06 October 2021

Sugar Noms
Sugar Noms

Sunderland graduate Kay Tarry is one of over 80 budding entrepreneurs participating in the Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards 2021.

Kay, who runs Redcar-based Sugar Noms, a range of vegan sweets and treats, with partner Marc Teasdale, was bidding for a chance to recieve up to £75,000 of business development support at the National Final, due to take place at Wembley Stadium today in London (6 October 2021).

Kay said: “There's some really great competition here but I'm going to give it my best and see what happens over the two days! It does feel really special though, the whole programme has been amazing!”

Today the entrepreneurs pitched at Wembley for one of five places in the final. Kay got into the quarter finals, but unfortunately didn’t make it to the final five. However, she is still in with a chance of winning a Judges’ Choice Award.

Kay, a BA Counselling (Top-up) graduate who joined the University of Sunderland’s Enterprise Place after being awarded Santander Seed Fund for her lockdown business. Since joining the Enterprise Place in May 2020, she has accessed workshops and one-to-one business and marketing advice to develop Sugar Noms further. Kay started the business alongside her private counselling services and has registered the vegan sweet business as a Limited Company, separating this from her other true passion - counselling. 

Jenny Westgate, Enterprise Place Co-ordinator, said: “I have worked with Kay from the beginning of the Sugar Noms journey and it’s been amazing to see her business grow so well in the midst of a pandemic. Kay and her partner saw a gap in the market, seized the opportunity and it couldn’t have worked out better for them!”

Sugar Noms products are sourced world-wide with fudge made especially for them on the Isle of Wight and chocolate from Germany. The website features everything from fudge, meringues and the top-selling bon-bons to liquorice.

The Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards final will be hosted by Seema Jaswal, professional sports host and journalist. One winning business will receive £50,000 of seed funding and £25,000 worth of additional business support. The runner up will receive £25,000 of seed funding and £25,000 worth of additional business support.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, commented: “It’s fantastic to celebrate over a decade of supporting entrepreneurship with our Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards. It has been an exceptionally tough time for many start-ups and small businesses, so we’re delighted to have tailored this year’s programme of support to help innovative student and graduate businesses to scale, as part of our broader commitment to fostering entrepreneurship among university students. I look forward to meeting all of the entrepreneurs at Wembley in October and wish them the very best of luck in the competition.”

Since the competition launched in 2011, Santander Universities has awarded more than £600,000 in support of student start-ups across the UK and given universities the chance to showcase entrepreneurial talent from across the country. Overall, Santander Universities has provided over £2.5m of funding each year to support entrepreneurship at its 85 UK university partners.

Last year’s winners were Konglomerate Games, a video games company which specialises in developing healthcare games to improve lives, from Abertay University and Torann, which has developed a unique device to provide 100% sound quality for musicians playing amplified instruments across the globe, from Queen’s University Belfast.

The Internships and Enterprise project is receiving up to £3,326,399 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit the gov.uk website.


The Northern Powerhouse is a key aspect of this Government’s approach to addressing the productivity gap in the North and ensuring a stronger, more sustainable economy for all parts of the UK. Alongside over €1.5 billion of European Regional Development Fund support for businesses and communities across the North, the government has awarded £3.4 billion in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Northern Powerhouse.