THE Local Business Accelerators campaign is now into its second week, and has already been given widespread support across the business community.
The nominations have started coming in, and the judges are watching with interest which businesses are looking to take part.
It is a nationwide £15m shot in the arm for local businesses – a partnership between the local press and business leaders to revitalise the economy during these tough times.
The News is one of around 500 papers joining together to run the initiative.
Locally, we’ll be looking for firms that look like they’re exploding with promise, and just need a bit of help to get them going.
Editor Mark Waldron, business editor Emma Judd and 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, to do the judging.
The News’ parent company, Johnston Press, is among media groups nationwide supporting the scheme which has been organised by The Newspaper Society.
Johnston Press chief executive, John Fry, said he is proud that the company is taking part.
He said: ‘The Local Business Accelerators campaign is an exciting initiative that I believe very much fits the time. It is designed to help existing businesses grow and develop which must be a good thing to do at the bottom of the biggest recession in our lives.
‘As publishers we are putting something back into the communities we serve.
‘All of us taking part are committing free advertising space to help grow recently-created local businesses so that they can, in turn, help grow their local economies.
‘It is a very clever idea. Sir Ray Tindle has provided the seed capital to fund the campaign – he gave The Newspaper Society a quarter of a million pounds to create an initiative and we and our publishing colleagues are providing additional investment through the free advertising space, which will be worth around £15m.’
To find out more, and to enter, visit accelerateme.co.uk, where business expert Deborah Meadon from television’s Dragons’ Den and Prime Minister David Cameron explain more. Nominations close on November 14.