TODAY The News is putting its weight firmly behind local businesses by taking part in a £15m campaign for the second year.
More than 500 newspapers in the UK are launching the Local Business Accelerators campaign, led by Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden and backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and Bank of England boss Mervyn King.
Businesses aged between one and five years old can enter LBA for the chance to win a free ad campaign in The News, 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.
News editor Mark Waldron said: ‘Last year’s Local Business Accelerators campaign was a resounding success, and we’ve had great feedback from our finalists about how much of a difference the advertising campaigns and mentoring support has made to their business.
‘We are absolutely delighted to be a part of it again this year, and hope that as many businesses as possible come forward to be in with a chance of getting free advice and advertising.’
Businesses can enter the competition via the LBA hub – accelerateme.co.uk – before the closing date of November 16.
LBA national ambassador Deborah Meaden said: ‘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.’
Last year’s overall LBA winner, Ilkley Brewery in Yorkshire, which is currently receiving mentoring support from Deborah, saw its orders in Leeds double as a result of the free LBA ad campaign in its local paper and the business has expanded to take on two new employees since taking part in the initiative.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: ‘Local newspapers play a vital role in their communities and are uniquely placed to support small businesses, giving them the boost that they need to grow, which is good for local areas and good for the economy as a whole.
‘I hope more young businesses put themselves forward over the coming months.’