PRIME Minister David Cameron has congratulated the first round winners in a national competition being run by regional and local newspapers across the UK.

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The Local Business Accelerators initiative, backed by entrepreneur Deborah Meaden from hit TV show Dragons’ Den, was launched last October and invited start-up business to pitch for free advertising to help boost their businesses.

The East Anglian Daily Times winner, which will now go forward to the national stage of the competition, with the chance of winning a year of mentoring support from Deborah Meaden, is Ipswich-based Sales Media Evolution.

The company, based at the IP-City Centre in Bath Street, has developed the “dBanner”, a pop-up banner which incorporates a digital display screen which has proved popular with customers ranging from local firms to big names such as Disney and Ford.

Mr Cameron said: “Congratula-tions to all the winners of the Local Business Accelerators scheme. It’s brilliant that so many promising young companies, from such a wide range of sectors, are benefiting from this excellent initiative.

“Entrepreneurship, creativity and ambition are essential for our economic recovery and through Local Business Accelerators, newspapers such as the East Anglian Daily Times are supporting some great new British businesses to grow, and helping to boost their local economy. I wish the newspapers, businesses and their mentors every success.”

Local Business Accelerators has also been backed by Stephen Welton, chief executive of the Business Growth Fund, which is offering a series of free half-day workshops at its regional centres to winning businesses. He said: “Our workshops will help business owners to think about how they can expand; how they can reach new audiences and new markets.”

The EADT winner was selected by business editor Duncan Brodie and Iain Dunnett, low carbon development manager at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

The runners-up were The Artisan Smokehouse from Trimley St Martin and the Dynamic Dental Studio in Halesworth.

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