Meet the mentors who will choose our winning firms

TOP TEAM Stef Nienaltowski, Julia Kirby and Stuart Hill
TOP TEAM Stef Nienaltowski, Julia Kirby and Stuart Hill
The Brewer's Arms in Milton Road in 2012

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IT’S time to unveil the business mentors who will be involved in our new campaign to help local firms.

IBM’s Stuart Hill, who leads the Business and Enterprise group for Shaping the Future of Portsmouth, will be joined by Stef Nienaltowski, chief operating officer of Integrite; and Julia Kirby, of Workshop Recruitment.

They are both also part of the Shaping the Future of Portsmouth Business and Enterprise group.

It aims to help grow businesses, just as the Local Business Accelerators is trying to do.

‘The Business and Enterprise group recognised we want to work on three things in particular, which we’ve called Celebrate, Start and Grow.

‘This campaign fits in exactly with the Grow part of our work, helping business start-ups and trying to make sure they grow.

‘We’re trying to find, in particular, those “explosive” new firms which, if we give them a bit of help now, will really do something special.’

The campaign is simple, and The News is running it in conjunction with around 500 other local papers in the UK, spearheaded by The Newspaper Society.

It’s open to all businesses that are active in the local community, between one and three years old and full of potential. They may have a great idea or product, or even have found a new market. They’re the kind of businesses that will create new jobs and pride in the community.

Firms can nominate themselves, or be nominated by clients or customers.

Up to three winners will be chosen by our panel of judges: Mr Hill, Mr Nienaltowski, Ms Kirby, The News’ editor Mark Waldron and business editor Emma Judd.

Those winning firms will get top professional advice from our mentors, plus a substantial allocation of free advertising space in The News.

What’s more, one lucky business picked from the hundreds of regional winners will get mentoring sessions from Deborah Meaden, of TV’s Dragons’ Den, who will become a consultant and mentor to the business for one year.

Mr Hill added: ‘We’ll get these businesses in contact with other people in similar situations, getting them collaborating and providing them with an incubator experience – access to the sort of support they need.’

To find out more, and to enter, visit accelerateme.co.uk. There, Ms Meadon and Prime Minister David Cameron explain more about the campaign.

Nominations close on November 14.