Local Business Accelerators: The shortlist is revealed

LOCAL and regional newspapers across the UK have drawn up their shortlists under the Local Business Accelerators (LBA) campaign which aims to deliver a boost to promising young businesses.

The LBA initiative, being staged for the second time this year following a successful launch in 2011, aims to highlight how local newspapers can assist businesses in achieving their growth objectives.

More than 500 daily or weekly local and regional newspapers, including the East Anglian Daily Times and its sister title the Ipswich Star, have signed up to the campaign which is being championed nationally by entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, pictured, left, as seen on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den show.

LBA is organised by The Newspaper Society, the industry body for the local and regional media, and sponsored by Business In You, a Government initiative to encourage more people to start a business of their own.

A host of leading figures from business and politics, including including Prime Minister David Cameron, Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon, Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King and CBI director general John Cridland, have also given their support to the campaign.

LBA offers businesses between one and five years old the chance to win a free advertising campaign in their local newspaper plus mentoring support from local business experts.

The most promising businesses will go forward to a national round 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.

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The national winner is also in line to receive a prize package including a �10,000 cash sum from the Business Growth Fund, free business advice from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales to the value of �2,000, free business broadband and wi-fi access for a year from BT, a year’s free membership of the CBI 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.

On the shortlist for the EADT and the Ipswich Star are Dayle Bayliss Construction Consultants from Bentley, near Ipswich, lager brewer Calvors, from Coddenham Green, near Stowmarket, EquiListics Equine Sports Massage from Hadleigh and Spillsure Solutions, trading as Check-my-tank.com, from Earls Colne, near Colchester.

The two titles, part of community media group Archant, are due to announce their respective winners on Wednesday, February 6.

In a letter to local and regional newspaper editors, Michael Fallon said: “I am delighted that the Business in You campaign has joined forces with the Newspaper Society this year to support the Local Business Accelerators initiative.

“Business in You and LBA form an ideal partnership, based on a shared goal of helping the small businesses that drive your local economy get the help they need to thrive and grow.

“Business in You brings together the best advice and tools from Government and private partners on everything from finding finance to exporting and employment, making it easier for business owners and entrepreneurs to find what they need.

“Like LBA, Business in You also showcases small businesses who have found success despite challenging times as a way to help inspire other people who want to get ahead in business.”

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.”

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