Sisters make successful business

PUBLISHED: 10:58 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:35 31 May 2010

Mark Gaston from HSBC presents the award to Emma Harrison and Victoria Nielson

Mark Gaston from HSBC presents the award to Emma Harrison and Victoria Nielson

TWO entrepreneurial sisters who found success by selling ethical goods have made it to the final of a national business competition. Founded two years ago by sisters Emma Harrison, 45, and Victoria Nielson, 38, fair trade company The Chocolate Elephant ha

TWO entrepreneurial sisters who found success by selling ethical goods have made it to the final of a national business competition.

Founded two years ago by sisters Emma Harrison, 45, and Victoria Nielson, 38, fair trade company The Chocolate Elephant has flourished as a business and raised thousands of pounds for charity.

Mother-of-three Mrs Harrison, who has lived in Balsham for 10 years, said: "We are delighted our hard work has been recognised. The whole purpose of the company was to be able to make a donation to charity - it's a very satisfying way of doing business."

The Chocolate Elephant has reached the final of The HSBC Start-up Stars Award - the UK's most high-profile award for small businesses.

With more than 15,000 competition entries, The Chocolate Elephant had to win a regional heat and a national semi-final before making it to the shortlist of 10. The overall winner will pick up a cheque for £50,000.

"We started by selling fair trade jewellery at local fairs and coffee mornings and realised goods with a story behind them sell very well," said Mrs Harrison. "We launched The Chocolate Elephant in February 2007 and source the majority of our products from India, Indonesia, South Africa and Zimbabwe."

Attending about 130 charity fairs each year, the sisters give between 10 and 15 per cent of their profits to charity. Last year they were able to donate £36,000 to good causes.

Mrs Nielson, who lives in London, said: "It's great to be up for this award, but also I hope it will raise the profile of charity fairs and encourage more people to support them."

Head of business banking at HSBC, Huw Morgan, said: "We hope the success of The Chocolate Elephant in this year's HSBC Start-Up Stars Awards will help it go from strength to strength, as well as proving to other budding entrepreneurs that business dreams can be turned into reality."

The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at London's Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday October 29.

For more information about the company, visit their website at www.thechocolateelephant.co.uk

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