Firms could win business packages worth thousands

Local Business Accelerator ambassador Deborah Meaden from BBC TV's Dragon's Den.
Local Business Accelerator ambassador Deborah Meaden from BBC TV's Dragon's Den.
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THE Derbyshire Times is inviting fledgling firms to enter our fantastic competition and cash in on a share of free advertising packages worth nearly £34,000, as well as expert business mentoring.

Our newspaper is running the competition as part of the National Newspaper Society’s nationwide Local Business Accelerators scheme which is helping to raise the profiles of companies and provide them with a huge boost during difficult times.

Promising young businesses are being urged to enter the Derbyshire Times’ Local Business Accelerator contest to win substantial free advertising in the newspaper with professional mentoring from top advisers.

The over-all winner will receive over £18,000 in free advertising, while the second and third places will land £8,959 and £6,779 in free advertising respectively.

Derbyshire Times editor Nicola Megson said: “The Derbyshire Times and local newspapers make a genuine difference by supporting local businesses. And with this wonderful competition, we’re determined to continue identifying businesses that have the potential to lead us all to recovery.”

Derbyshire chamber of commerce chief executive George Cowcher, Clowne Enterprise Centre adviser Paul Davies and Nicola will judge entries for a publicised shortlist before announcing the winners.

Nearly 500 local publications including the Derbyshire Times are taking part in the nationwide drive which aims to collectively pledge £15m of free advertising to worthy local businesses.

Newspaper Society president Geraldine Allinson said: “The UK needs to grow local businesses like never before and local businesses need the local press.

“Newspapers like the Derbyshire Times have always made a difference by helping to build strong local businesses and encourage thriving communities.”

The most outstanding first-placed regional winners also qualify for the LBA’s national contest with a chance of getting BBC TV’s Dragon’s Den judge Deborah Meaden as a mentor during 2012.

Deborah said: “I’ve seen the unique contribution that local press makes to the success of local businesses with my own ventures and it has never been more important to drive awareness about the value of local marketing for a fledgling business.”

The Derbyshire Times’ Local Business Accelerator competition is open to businesses in our local area between one and three years-old with potential, a great idea or product or plans to venture into a new market and a desire to create new jobs.

The Derbyshire Times winner will get an advertising package worth £18,104, the second placed runner-up will get one worth £8,959 and the third-placed runner-up will get one worth £6,779.

All three will receive business mentoring from Derbyshire chamber of commerce chief executive George Cowcher and Clowne Enterprise Centre adviser Paul Davies.

Any budding prize-winning businesses which fit the competition criteria are urged to visit for information on the scheme and details on how to enter.

Entries will be considered until a November 14 deadline. A shortlist will be announced on December 7 and the winners will be announced on January 11, 2012.

The advertising campaign and mentoring will run from January to April, 2012, and the national winners’ event will run between May and June 2012.