A chance to get your business in to the fast lane

Stefan Nienaltowski (left), with Peter Grant, who has joined The News Business Accelerator initiative which is now in its third year. Picture: Malcolm Wells (142145-1364)
Stefan Nienaltowski (left), with Peter Grant, who has joined The News Business Accelerator initiative which is now in its third year. Picture: Malcolm Wells (142145-1364)
An artist's impression of the new marketplace

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THE News is today launching this year’s Local Business Accelerator competition, offering firms in the Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire region a chance to win advertising and mentoring.

Stefan Nienaltowski, chief operating officer at Integritie and chairman of the business and enterprise work stream at Shaping the Future of Portsmouth, explained: ‘The programme is designed to encourage small businesses to grow.

‘By the support of a dedicated mentor, businesses can get the advice and guidance needed to finance the new business idea.

‘This will be the third year of the programme.

‘Over that time, over 25 companies have been helped.

‘The business and enterprise work stream of Shaping the Future of Portsmouth are working with The News and Mentor-net who provide the skilled resources on a short-term basis to shortlisted businesses and finalists.

‘It’s such an important part of what we do with the business and enterprise group.

‘We try to help all the finalists with mentoring and support and not just the top three.

‘If they need other assistance that they ask for in a reasonable fashion, we will try to help with that, too.’

It is the third year The News has run the competition.

The News’ editor, Mark Waldron, said: ‘We are glad we can work with our partners and offer this support to our local companies. We hope everyone reading this will consider entering.’

Peter Grant, chief executive of Mentor-net, a not-for-profit support organisation based in Fareham, added: ‘I am delighted to support this project.

‘We have seen time and time again the benefits of mentoring and how it can really help businesses to grow and sustain their business.

‘The partnership with this project brings sure success to businesses in this year.

‘Mentor-net provides mentors for all sorts of business issues, such as financial or marketing or accessing new markets.

‘What matters to us it they work one-to-one with that company to identify solutions to the problems that the business has. Often a company may think it has a problem with something like marketing but the mentor finds that in an discussion, there could be other aspects affecting the business’s profitability.

‘Mentoring takes its own life once the company gets to work closely with the mentor.’

To enter, e-mail business reporter Claire French at claire.french@thenews.co.uk, with the following information by Thursday, September 30:

- The name of your company.

- The number of employees it has.

- The date of the company’s launch (the business must be between one and five years old).

- Why your business would benefit from free advertising and mentoring (in no more than 300 words).