Businesses go head to head for support

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A REVOLUTIONARY treatment for depression, a website design specialist and an online promotions service for the North East are going head to head in our Local Business Accelerators campaign.

Conkemp LLP, Source Code Design and the North East Hub are the three businesses shortlisted for the chance to win a free ad campaign in the Echo, plus mentoring support.

Monkweamouth-based Conkemp is a new company focused on developing an ethical and sustainable approach to depression.

Lightrom is a computerised, head-mounted display that will use visual stimuli and sound as a non-pharmaceutical treatment for stress, anxiety, depression and associated illness.

Source Code Design, at the North East Business and Innovation Centre, provides a complete website design service and recently worked with the new Sunderland City Centre Traders’ Association to create its web presence.

The North East Hub is on-line which highlights all aspects of life in the region, from businesses and events to charities, competitions and offers. Based in Roker, the business uses social media such as Twitter to deliver its message quickly and efficiently.

Our winner will go forward to the national final to win a year’s mentoring from Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden and a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative ad agency.

More than 500 newspapers across the UK are joining forces in this year’s Local Business Accelerator (LABA) campaign, which is backed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Deborah Meaden said: “With last year’s LBA having demonstrated the unique power of local and regional press to provide a meaningful boost to promising young businesses, I am delighted to be supporting the initiative once again.

“The campaign provided tangible examples of the real contribution local newspapers can provide to young businesses across many different sectors.

“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 winner, Ilkley Brewery in Yorkshire, is receiving mentoring support from Deborah and saw orders double as a result of the free ad campaign in its local paper.

Research by Toluna and the Newspaper Society shows a third of owners of young businesses expect some or significant growth in the next 12 months, with the majority saying they expected their businesses to perform at the same level.

Owners were most likely to use local papers to advertise, followed by the Internet and directories. Local papers were cited as the most effective form of advertising, followed by outdoor/point of sale and Internet.

David Cameron said: “The Local Business Accelerators campaign has provided tremendous support to fledgling businesses across the country and I am delighted it will be running for a second year.

“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.”

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