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Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden hails success of newspaper scheme to help small businesses

PUBLISHED: 19:52 03 July 2012

Deborah Meaden from Dragon's Den, talks to Emily Groves from Indigo Swan, Adrian Jeakings, chief executive of Archant, and Kevin Horne from NWES at the Business Accelerator's event in London

Deborah Meaden from Dragon's Den, talks to Emily Groves from Indigo Swan, Adrian Jeakings, chief executive of Archant, and Kevin Horne from NWES at the Business Accelerator's event in London

Archant

A pioneering competition to help small firms harness the power of the local press to grow their businesses is to be extended after a successful first year.

The Newspaper Society last year launched its business accelerator competition as part of an industry-wide initiative to help support small businesses. Backed by business secretary Vince Cable and prime minister David Cameron the contest which was won by Yorkshire-based Ickley Brewery selected 12 finalists to compete for a chance to receive a year’s worth of free mentoring from Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden and a advertising campaign designed by a top London agency.

Among the finalists were Norwich-based energy contract management firm Indigo Swan, a member of the EDP’s Future 50, who as a local winner received free advertising support in the EDP and will also be offered mentoring support from NWES chief executive Kevin Horne.

Managing director Emily Grove said: “It’s definitely helped raise our profile. We work with companies from all over the country but in the last four to five months we have really increased the amount of local business which we do.

“We’ve been delighted to be involved, I’m disappointed not to win, but it’s been worth it and the EDP has really supported us over the last 12 months.”

This year’s competition is likely to get underway in October, with businesses again given the chance to take part.

Adrian Jeakings, chief executive of Archant publishers of the EDP, and new president of the newspaper society, the business accelerator competition had been a fantastic success.

“It’s shown the power of the press to help local businesses to hit their target audience. Lots of people have been saying the regional press is dead - this proves it isn’t.”

Deborah Meaden said: “What we were looking for were businesses which clearly understood that there was a market out there and these businesses understood that. My experience is that regional advertising absolutely works and if you have gove a product to sell, why not do it through regional advertising?”

<T> Read Indigo Swan’s blog about the business acelerator event at www.EDP24.co.uk

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