Local Business Accelerators: Deadline for entries is Friday, November 16
WITH just days left for young businesses to enter the Local Business Accelerators contest, BT has become the latest high-profile organisation to add to the prize package for the overall winner.
BT has come on board to offer free business broadband and wi-fi access for a year, including wireless router and free installation, and the design and management of a website, with ecommerce if required.
More than 1,100 businesses have already entered the competition in the hope of winning the campaign prize of free advertising in their local newspaper and mentoring from local business leaders.
Next year, one business will be crowned the overall LBA winner, scooping the grand prize of mentoring from Deborah Meaden, the campaign’s national ambassador, another free ad campaign in their local paper, and a host of other prizes.
Hundreds of participating daily and weekly regional and local newspapers, including the East Anglian Daily Times, are inviting entries to the competition, the closing date for which is Friday, November 16.
LBA has been supported from the outset by the Government and private sector’s Business in You campaign, and BT joins organisations including the CBI, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England Wales and Freeagent which have also come on board to bolster the overall winner’s prize package.
The overall national winner will receive free membership of the CBI for a year, free business advice from the ICAEW valued at �2,000, and an iPad from Freeagent, which is also offering a year’s free access to its accountancy software to each of the national finalists, valued at �300 per finalist.
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This is in addition to the campaign’s main prize of mentoring from Deborah Meaden, of Dragons’ Den fame, and a free ad campaign in their local newspaper. The Business Growth Fund has also contributed with a �10,000 cash sum for the overall winner.
According to research from Toluna and the Newspaper Society, the industry body for the local and regional media, 60% small business owners agree that advertising in their local newspaper is the best way to attract customers in their area but only 22% said they had actually used local newspapers to advertise their business.
Michael Fallon, Minister for Business and Enterprise, said: “The Government is proud to support the Local Business Accelerators initiative which highlights the important role that local papers can play in working with businesses in their area.
“There are around 4.8 million small and medium sized enterprises in the UK, that’s around 99% of all businesses. They are the lifeblood of our economy and that’s why we fee it’s so important to support Local Business Accelerators.
“Local press can help businesses reach over 30 million people who rely on local papers and for information about events and services in their area each week.”
Deborah Meaden added: “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.”
Businesses between one and five years old can enter LBA at www.accelerateme.co.uk . A prize of free advertising is available to the winners chosen by each participating title, with the best going forward to compete for the main prize package.