TIME is running out to enter join a national campaign designed to help businesses grow and succeed.
Nominations for the Local Business Accelerators campaign close on Friday, so the race is on to get your business in with a chance of winning top prizes.
The competition is being run by the Newspaper Society, and sees small or medium-sized firms that are less than five years old give a presentation on why they would benefit from free mentoring and a newspaper advertising package.
The News is firmly behind the campaign, and last year’s winners, Jungle Buddies, have been singled out by the organisers after we reported how their business had doubled in size following their win.
As well as mentoring and advertising, BT has become the latest high profile organisation to add to the prize package for the overall winner.
It is offering free business broadband and wi-fi access for a year, including wireless router and free installation, and the design and management of a website, with e-commerce, if required.
More than 1,100 businesses have already entered the competition.
Next year, one business will be crowned the overall LBA winner, scooping the grand prize of mentoring from Deborah Meaden, the campaign’s national ambassador, another free ad campaign in their local paper, and a host of other prizes.
Last year’s national winner, Ilkley Brewery, has been mentored all year by Deborah.
She said: ‘They have already been powerfully accelerated by the LBA prize of free local newspaper advertising and mentoring and could, I believe, go on to be extremely successful.’
The campaign has received the backing of a host of high profile supporters, including Michael Fallon, Minister for Business and Enterprise.
He said: ‘The government is proud to support the Local Business Accelerators initiative which highlights the important role that local papers can play in working with businesses in their area.
‘There are around 4.8 million small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK, that’s around 99 per cent of all businesses.
‘They are the lifeblood of our economy and that’s why we fee it’s so important to support Local Business Accelerators.