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How to enter the Local Business Accelerators

Businesses aged between one and five years old can enter LBA for the chance to win a free ad campaign in their local paper plus mentoring support from local business leaders.

The most promising businesses will go forward to the national stage 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.

Business can enter online by logging on to www.accelerateme.co.uk and filling in the application form.

The closing date for entries is Friday, November 16.

Today sees 500 local papers including titles across Archant Norfolk joining forces with Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden to launch Local Business Accelerators (LBA) competition to boost promising young businesses.

Backed by the Newspaper Society and supported by the Government and private sector’s Business in You campaign as well as Prime Minister David Cameron and Bank of England governor Mervyn King, the competition will see newspapers across the UK joining forces to deliver a £15m boost to promising young businesses through free advertising and mentoring.

Businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk reading this newspaper could receive significant advertising and mentoring support to boost their business.

Now in its second year, last year’s contest was won by Ilkley Brewery in Yorkshire, which is currently receiving mentoring support from Deborah Meaden, and saw its orders in Leeds double as a result of the free LBA ad campaign in its local paper.

That saw the business expanded to take on two new employees since taking part in the initiative.

In Norfolk, Norwich-based energy contract management specialists Indigo Swan was a regional winner, receiving mentoring support from NWES as well as attending the prestigious final event in London.

LBA national ambassador 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.”

Adrian Jeakings, chief executive of Archant and president of the Newspaper Society, said: “The inaugural Local Business Accelerators campaign was a resounding success and this year it is going to be even bigger and better.

“LBA demonstrated that local newspapers have a unique ability to deliver a real boost to local businesses, energising and invigorating local economies as they do so.

“This was recognised by the high profile figures who backed LBA including the Prime Minister David Cameron, Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Business Growth Fund chief executive Stephen Welton, and CBI director general John Cridland.

“It has never been more important for us to promote our strengths and demonstrate how we remain not only relevant, but vital to communities across the UK. LBA, which begins now for a second year, does exactly that, while simultaneously providing a massive lift to business up and down the country.”

The launch comes as new research shows that Britain’s young businesses are positive about prospects for growth despite tough economic times but they still need advice and support.

Research conducted by Toluna and campaign organisers the Newspaper Society reveals that a third of owners of young businesses expect some or significant growth in the next 12 months (35pc) with the majority saying they expected their businesses to perform at the same level (53pc). Just 12pc said they expected decline. They cited high rent and rates, sluggish consumer demand, access to affordable finance, and access to advice as the biggest barriers for local businesses.

Owners were most likely to use local newspapers to advertise their businesses (22pc), followed by internet advertising (15pc) and directories (14pc).

Local newspapers were cited as the most effective of all forms of advertising (49pc), followed by outdoor / point of sale (48pc), and internet (45pc).

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