Growing firms win top prizes

sp94552'Phil Bramley with Kevin Walker
sp94552'Phil Bramley with Kevin Walker

THREE ground-breaking companies have dazzled judges in the Derbyshire Times’ Local Business Accelerators competition to claim thousands of pounds worth of free newspaper advertising and mentoring.

The DT competition - which is part of the National Newspaper Society’s nationwide LBA scheme to boost the profiles of fledgling firms - was inundated with worthy entries from business sectors including manufacturing, retail, catering and IT.

But after a long judging process our expert judges selected Chesterfield’s Reduce, Reuse, WEEECycle as our first placed winner. Clowne’s Excell Complete Care clinched second place with Chesterfield’s Chocolate by Design coming third.

DT acting editor Phil Bramley said: “We had to consider companies that showed potential, innovative ideas and products as well as those that demonstrated plans to venture into new markets and create new jobs.”

Other entrants who made it on to our shortlist included GB Pest Control, Vintagerosecatering, Huggyhoundz, Tideswell School of Food, FrancisCo4, Lidsters, Remote Keys and more, Unique Hair & Therapy/The Circuit Gym.

First-placed Reduce, Reuse, WEEECycle which finds new homes for unwanted old PCs and lap tops will receive an advertising package worth £18,104. Excell Complete Care which helps those with learning difficulties will receive an ad package worth £8,959 and Chocolate By Design will receive one worth £6,779.

Mentors including Derbyshire chamber of commerce chief executive George Cowcher and Clowne Enterprise Centre adviser Paul Davies will be available to guide our winners through 2012 as their mentors.

The LBA campaign - launched in October 2011 by local newspapers across the country with 3,097 entrants - has been backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and will eventually see 1,500 firms receive a share of £15m of free advertising.

Selected regional winners will also be in with a chance of qualifying for the LBA’s national contest with a chance of getting BBC TV’s Dragon Den judge Deborah Meaden as a mentor.

Mr Cameron said: “It’s brilliant so many promising young companies from such a wide range of sectors are benefiting from this excellent initiative.”

LBA finalists will also benefit from Business Growth Fund workshops from regional offices with advice and support.