Prime Minister David Cameron today congratulated two growing Norfolk businesses on winning free advertising in The EDP.

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Emily Groves of energy specialist Indigo Swan and Rebecca Lewis Smith of search agency Fountain Partnership have won the EDP Local Business Accelerators competition - part of a national project by the UK’s newspaper industry to support small businesses.

The pair, both based in Norwich, will now go forward to the national stages of the competition where they will be in with the chance a year of mentoring from entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden.

The Norfolk winners were picked by Archant Anglia business editor Paul Hill and Kevin Horne, chief executive of the enterprise agency NWES, who is also chairman of judges for the EDP’s Future50 entrepreneurs project.

Mr Cameron said: “Congratulations 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 benefitting from this excellent initiative.

“Entrepreneurship, creativity and ambition are essential for our economic recovery and through Local Business Accelerators, newspapers such as the Eastern Daily Press 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 over the coming months.”

Both winners said they were delighted to have been selected.

Miss Groves , whose business has a turnover of about £400,000 and employs eight people, said: “The EDP is a fantastic supporter of local businesses and this is a great start for the new year.

“Winning this campaign will help promote our service so that we can help local businesses manage their energy costs.”

Miss Lewis Smith’s business has a turnover of £150,000 and five employees.

She added: “The Local Business Accelerator campaign is a fantastic idea to help growing business like Fountain, and we are delighted to have won this opportunity.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how the advertising can support our growth, and help us to reach out to businesses across the Eastern region.”

Backed by high profile figures including the Prime Minster and the CBI’s John Cridland, the campaign has seen the newspaper industry come together to deliver a shot in the arm for British business.

Local Business Accelerators has also received the support of Stephen Welton, Business Growth Fund chief executive,.

Mr Welton described the initiative as providing a “powerful boost” to young businesses.

“Clearly economic conditions continue to be challenging; but we need businesses to be considering the opportunities and focusing on what they can influence,” he added.

“When growth is harder to achieve, history tells us that the most successful companies are not those with defensive strategies.”

The Business Growth Fund has contributed to Local Business Accelerators by offering a series of free half day workshop sessions at its regional centres to winning businesses.

Mr Welton added: “Our workshops will help business owners to think about how they can expand; how they can reach new audiences and new markets; how they can begin exporting; and how they can raise the capital that they might need to fund their ambitions.”

Archant Anglia business editor Paul Hill wished the Norfolk winners well in the next stage of the competition and their chance to win mentoring support from Ms Meaden.

“We know that Norfolk is home to some great businesses and that the economic downturn and fragile recovery has not dented this region’s entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.

“Emily and Rebecca’s businesses are good examples of people who have starting out with a determined to succeed whatever the economic weather.

“I’m delighted that the EDP will be working with them to help promote their services through our pages and websites and reach new customers.

“We delighted to support their future growth.”

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