A CANDLEMAKER who started out by making gifts for friends has won Blenheim’s annual business start-up competition.

The competition is open to any business, which is less than two years old or has fewer than five employees, is based within 20 miles of Blenheim, and can provide something which can be sold in their shops or cafes.

Molly Stevenson from Long Wittenham launched Littlemore Candle Company in 2018. She started out making candles as gifts for friends and family but, with the support of her mum Yvonne, she decided to switch from hobbyist to entrepreneur and has gone on to forge a successful brand from a favourite pastime.

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Candlemaker Ms Stevenson said: “Knowing there are many different brands choose from when it comes to buying a candle, I wanted to create candles that stood out from the competition, both in terms of the unique finished products and the ethical and sustainable production processes used to make them."

A total of 25 local entrepreneurs entered the competition with six being shortlisted as finalists.

In addition to Littlemore Candles, the other finalists were Fineline Arts Oxford, Love Rustic, Liz Corley Art and The Herberowe Candle Co.

Blenheim launched the start-up scheme in 2018 in a bid to support and mentor locally-based firms.

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