TODAY The News can reveal which small firms are in the running to win big in our Local Business Accelerators campaign.
Six deserving businesses have been chosen as those most likely to do something special in Portsmouth if they are given a little helping hand.
That help includes free advertising within the pages of The News, and money-can’t-buy mentoring from some of the city’s business leaders.
Mark Waldron, editor of The News and one of our judges, said: ‘It’s been great to read the entries and confirm what we already know – that the Portsmouth area is dynamic and exciting when it comes to new businesses.
‘We are really pleased that we will be able to offer some of our short-listed firms some help to really get them going.’
Up to three out of the six firms will be chosen as worthy winners.
They will then go on to a national competition to be in with a chance of winning mentoring help from Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden.
The News is running the campaign in conjunction with about 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.
The campaign has been backed by the Prime Minister, the CBI Director General, the Culture Secretary, Bank of England, Business Growth Fund, and the LBA national ambassador Deborah Meaden.
Nationally, entrants have come from all sectors – retail, technology, manufacturing, arts, sports and recreation – and include diverse businesses such as a cheese making firm, an electrical bicycle manufacturer, an eco campsite, a pet minding service, a scuba diving school and a cider maker.
Our own shortlisted firms, detailed in panels on this page, will be invited to come to The News to give a presentation to our judges on why they believe they deserve to win the prize.
Our judges are: Mark Waldron; Stuart Hill, COO at IBM; Stef Nienaltowski, COO of Integrite; Julia Kirby, of Workshop Recruitment; and Emma Judd, The News’ business editor.
The three lucky winners will be unveiled in The News on January 11.
· Who are you? The Stone Shop
· What do you do? We are a family stonemason business
· Where are you based? Tangier Road, Baffins, Portsmouth
· Who are you? Enjoy Discovering Wine
· What do you do? We teach Wine and Spirit Education Trust courses, teaching people about wine
· Where are you based? Hamble
· Who are you? Janet Myers Photography
· What do you do? I am primarily a children’s portrait photographer, combining a background as a primary school teacher with photography
· Where are you based? Milton, Portsmouth
· Who are you? Covered Insurance Solutions Ltd
· What do you do? We are an independent commercial insurance broker
· Where are you based? Park Gate
· Who are you? Build Recruitment Ltd
· What do you do? We offer a professional recruitment and consultancy service for the built environment in the United Kingdom and abroad
· Where are you based? 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour
· Who are you? Jungle Buddies
· What do you do? We have a special bus that we use to entertain children, hire for weddings etc
· Where are you based? Knowle Village, Fareham