A website run by a musical instruments and accessories distributor based in Durham has won this year's government-backed Ecommerce Award for Small Businesses.
DGC Distribution set up its website (www.guvnor.com) as a central online resource for UK music shops. It provides them with an easy way to set up their own ecommerce site, and an online interface with DGC's distribution business, which imports its own-brand accessories from China.
DGC received a cheque for £30,000 from Ecommerce and Small Business Minister Patricia Hewitt.
More than 430 companies entered this year's awards, which are organised by the DTI-backed Information Society Initiative and the IT industry body Interforum. The judging panel also included representatives from the awards' sponsors: BT, NatWest and the Daily Express.
Simon Cohen, managing director of guvnor.com, said the website was created to help the UK's music retailers compete with global suppliers setting up on the internet. "It demonstrates to all small businesses how effective they can be when they band together to compete against the big boys," he said.
DGC is now working on plans to develop the site into a central databank for the whole of the music retailing industry, including a comparative product database for music customers.
Interforum chairman Geoff Morris said the number of entrants - nearly double last year's numbers - had shown how much smaller businesses are seriously undertaking ecommerce ventures. "There has also been a significant increase in the number of business-to-business entrants, which is indicative of the increasing maturity in the market," he said.
The dot.com start-up category was won by Unipharma.net, a business-to-business (b2b) website that sells pharmaceutical supplies to independent local chemists. It received £10,000 worth of internet server hardware from Sun Microsystems and £8,000 cash in prizes.
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