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PeoplePerHour.com announce worldís first ëVirtual Businessí awards

Awards established to recognise the fast-growing virtual business sector for the first time. £20,000 prize pot and high-profile judging panel lined-up for September event

Awards established to recognise the fast-growing virtual business sector for the first time. £20,000 prize pot and high-profile judging panel lined-up for September event.

PeoplePerHour.com (http://www.peopleperhour.com) – Europe’s biggest online business marketplace – this week announced the launch of the world’s first awards specifically for virtual businesses: the Virtual Business of the Year Awards, 2010.

A virtual businesses is one in which the entirety or majority of the human interaction is not conducted in person, but remotely using technology.

The popularity of the virtual business model has grown rapidly in recent years, and looks set to continue being the modus operandi of choice both for startup businesses and increasing numbers of established companies.

There are two principal drivers behind the growth in virtual businesses. Firstly, the recession forced many businesses to find ways to cut costs. Virtual businesses can make huge office and infrastructure cost savings. Virtual businesses also tend to use remote freelance contractors instead of in-house staff, which has tax saving implications and means they can expand and contract according to demand.

The second element in the rise of virtual businesses is the advent and spread of high-speed broadband internet, which facilitates remote working, collaboration and communications.

“Virtual businesses are already making a huge contribution to the economic recovery, but there is still very little awareness of what they are and how they operate,” says PeoplePerHour.com founder Xenios Thrasyvoulou. “We’re launching these awards to recognise the success stories in this sector and, hopefully, increase general understanding about the role they play now and in the future.”

The awards are open to any young business with less than 50 employees that operates virtually in some demonstrable way. So far £20,000 in prize money has been raised so far, and an illustrious group of judges confirmed for the panel, including Intuit MD Pernille Bruun-Jensen, Bebo cofounder and Crunch.co.uk investor Paul Birch, AdJug cofounder Michael Stephanblome, Crunch.co.uk founder and MD Darren Fell and Zoopla! COO Doug Monro.

“This new award recognises a rapidly-growing and increasingly important sector of the UK economy,” says Paul Birch. “PeoplePerHour.com has facilitated the growth and developments of thousands of virtual enterprises, so it’s an appropriate sponsor of the award. I look forward to assessing entries from those organisations that have embraced the virtual business revolution most successfully.”

Pernille Bruun-Jensen, MD of Intuit UK – the company behind small business accounting software QuickBooks – has praised PeoplePerHour.com for proactively promoting the benefits of virtual business practices with small businesses in the UK.

“Small businesses have been hard-hit over the past two years,” says Bruun-Jensen. “The advent of PeoplePerHour.com couldn’t have been more timely: it has acted as an invaluable resource for small businesses and startups by rendering resources flexible and virtual during a recession. The Virtual Business Awards will recognise the best proponents of virtual business principles and help raise awareness of a new way of working for businesses looking to operate with greater flexibility and with more immediate access to talent.”

Visit http://www.peopleperhour.com/awards.php to learn more about the Virtual Business Awards and read resumes of the panel. The awards application deadline is 15 September 2010.