YOUNG businesses in Beds, Herts and Bucks will be given a helping hand with a free advertising and mentoring package from their local papers.
Premier Newspapers, the publishers of this website and a range of titles across the region, have signed up for a second year of the Local Business Accelerators (LBA) competition.
The campaign spearheaded by national ambassador and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden has been launched today (Wednesday). Entrants should apply via the website http://www.newspapersoc.org.uk/accelerate-me
Businesses should be a minimum of one year old and no more than five years old as of today (Wednesday, October 3). They should show genuine promise with a great idea or product or found a new market and should be able to clearly benefit from exposure in our newspapers. Local businesses will also get free mentoring from local business leaders.
The most promising businesses will go forward to the national stage of the competition to win a year’s mentoring from Deborah Meaden and a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative ad agency.
LBA national ambassador Deborah Meaden said: “With last year’s LBA having demonstrated the unique power of local and regional press to provide a meaningful boost to promising young businesses, I am delighted to be supporting the initiative once again.
“The campaign provided tangible examples of the real contribution that local newspapers can provide to young businesses across many different sectors, accelerating their development.
“Enterprise and entrepreneurism in the local community is more important than ever before and I look forward to finding another young business to mentor and drive forward.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The Local Business Accelerators campaign has provided tremendous support to fledgling businesses across the country and I am delighted that it will be running for a second year.
“Local newspapers play a vital role in their communities and are uniquely placed to support small businesses, giving them the boost that they need to grow, which is good for local areas and good for the economy as a whole.
“I hope more young businesses put themselves forward over the coming months and get involved with this innovative scheme, which rewards entrepreneurship and creative thinking in business.”
More than 500 local and regional newspaper titles have registered to take part - even more than in its inaugural year which saw 489 newspapers across the UK participate.
Last year’s national winner was Yorkshire-based Ilkley Brewery which had an ad campaign designed by a top London ad agency and mentoring from Deborah Meaden. Ilkley saw its orders in Leeds double as a result of the free local newspaper advertising in the Yorkshire Post and signed a contract with Harvey Nichols shortly after winning the competition.
The £15million campaign has been backed by a series of high profile supporters including Prime Minister David Cameron and Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England.
The campaign aims to showcase the unique power of local press to deliver a boost to local businesses and invigorate the economy and will be supported by the government’s entrepreneur campaign Business in You.
Lynne Anderson, the Newspaper Society communications and marketing director, said: “Local Business Accelerators helped to drive the success of hundreds of fledgling businesses in its first year, demonstrating the scale and collective power of the local press to build strong local businesses. It has captured the imagination of politicians, national advertisers and the business community and promises to be even more successful in its second year.”
Local Business Accelerators attracted entries from over 3,000 SMEs last year. This year the closing date it November 16.
Follow LBA on Twitter @acceleratelocal.
To enter this year’s Local Business Accelerators, visit http://www.newspapersoc.org.uk/accelerate-me or click on the link on this page.