Dragon’s Den star backs local newspaper drive to help small businesses

Deborah Meaden
Deborah Meaden
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DRAGON’S Den star Deborah Meaden is backing a local newspaper industry drive to help small business.

As the industry launches its Local Business Accelerators (LBA) campaign, new research shows Britain’s young businesses are positive about prospects for growth but need advice and support.

The campaign is supported by the Government and private sector’s Business in You campaign and backed by Prime Minister David Cameron as well as the Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King.

More than 500 newspapers across the UK are joining forces to deliver a £15million boost to promising young businesses through free advertising and mentoring.

Businesses between one and five years old can enter for the chance to win a free ad campaign in the Echo, plus mentoring support. The most promising businesses will go forward to the national final to win a year’s mentoring from Deborah and a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative ad agency.

Deborah 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. It saw its orders in Leeds double as a result of the free ad campaign in its local paper and has expanded to take on two new employees.

Research conducted by Toluna and the Newspaper Society reveals 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 (53 per cent).

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.

Businesses can enter via the LBA hub – www.accelerateme.co.uk – before the closing date of November 16.

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