Sanchita Saha, founder of the UK’s leading socialising network CitySocialising, has been revealed to be one of twenty winners of the BT Essence of the Entrepreneur competition, selected from hundreds of entries from across the UK by a panel of judges including Dragon Peter Jones.

Throughout the summer of 2009, BT conducted its annual search for inspirational British companies who are using technology to drive their business forward. The contest honours the nation’s finest entrepreneurs and celebrates the achievements of small businesses that have demonstrated exceptional dedication and passion towards their work.

As part of the campaign, each winner has been captured in a striking portrait, by renowned celebrity photographer Rankin, that reflects the spirit of their business, and these were unveiled at a private viewing, last night, at the Oxo Tower on London’s Southbank.

Sanchita’s addition to the list comes in recognition of her achievements in setting up and launching CitySocialising, a national events-based socialising network and community for urban professionals living in, working in and relocating to new cities in the UK.

With a Prince’s Trust loan, former BBC employee Sanchita spent 18 months developing her idea to create a trusted online and offline network through people could safely meet and find new friends in their area, with shared interests, and socialise together in their city.

Her first site launched in London in January 2007 and, within eight months was rolled out to seven other UK cities. Today CitySocialising spans nineteen cities in the UK and Scotland and has grown to over 60,000 members.

Most recently, Sanchita successfully secured £260,000 investment via the London Business Angels network, to invest in a new technology platform and expand the network internationally, and the business has this month formed a national, online partnership with the Metro newspaper.

Sanchita said of the award:

“Being recognised alongside such a talented group of entrepreneurs is really amazing. The business has been growing at a really fast pace since launching the network from zero base and the work has been non-stop, so winning this competition, and the experience of having my portrait taken by Rankin in particular, has been a great way to stop for a moment and celebrate the milestones that have been achieved.”

Other London-based award winners included:

• Daniel Ox of Fruit for the Office
• Sam Bompass and Harry Parr of Bompass and Parr
• Sam Wahid, of Gift Republic
• Alastair Mitchell and Andy McGloughlin, of IT firm Huddle
• Shane Lake and Tony Charles, of hungryhouse.co.uk
• Ben Rose, of Inspiring Interns;
• Paul Lorran and Henry Bennet, of mobile phone firm Island Wall
• Susan Cropper, of Loop Knitting
• Ben Black, of My Family Care;
• and Emmanual Addy and Huw Jenkins, of Send Money Home.

The exhibition is open to the public from 28th January – 28th February 2010. For further information please visit http://www.essenceoftheentrepreneur.co.uk/

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