AFTER only a few months, Barbara Birdsall and Kate Willink set up a rival bank to their downstairs neighbours, Barclays, at Easingwold.

But Barclays did not mind - in fact it co-operated by creating the organisation's own logo stamp.

It was less a case of Trojan Horse than Wooden Horse, the name of the 35-place nursery and kindergarten the two established on the Easingwold branch's empty upper floor.

The Wooden Horse bank was part of a carefully devised programme to introduce children aged up to five years to the complexities of the real world - the kind of finesse which was so successful that by the end of its first six weeks, the nursery was an average of six a day over plan.

The take-up of baby places alone meant a waiting list well into 2002 and the staff has grown to ten.

And you could be sure that as a result they would enter the Small Business of the Year category.

In fact you could bank on it...