THE deadline is approaching for entries to the Local Business Accelerators campaign, which offers the region’s most dynamic young companies the chance to win mentoring from leading business people and free advertising with the Yorkshire Post.
The initiative will also see Local Business Accelerators national ambassador Deborah Meaden, the entrepreneur and investor who appears on TV’s Dragons’ Den, provide a year’s mentoring to the overall national winner, chosen from the regional finalists.
The national winner will also receive a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative agency. An additional £10,000 cash sum from the Business Growth Fund has been added to the prize package this year.
Last year, Yorkshire’s Ilkley Brewery was crowned the overall national winner. The brewery was set up in 2009 with an initial investment of £50,000.
Today, the business is forecasting revenues of £1.2m for 2012, with a target of £2m for 2013, and it supplies the likes of Asda, Booths, Morrisons and most recently Harvey Nichols, notably at its iconic OXO Tower in London.
The Local Business Accelerators scheme, which is backed by the Prime Minister, is open to firms in the region aged between one and five years. Organised by the Newspaper Society, it is being replicated by more than 500 newspapers across the UK and is in its second year of operation.
Business Growth Fund (BFG) chief executive Stephen Welton said: “Local Business Accelerators (LBA) is an excellent initiative by the local press industry which recognises and rewards the most promising young businesses. It is a much needed boost to UK entrepreneurship.
“On behalf of BGF, I am delighted to be able to make this contribution to the overall LBA prize pot and we certainly hope to see to some LBA winners among our investee companies in the future.”
Business Growth Fund has been established to help Britain’s fast growing smaller and medium-sized businesses. It will invest between £2m and £10m per business in return for a minimum 10 per cent equity stake and a seat on the board for a BGF director.
Ms 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’m delighted to be supporting the initiative again.
“The campaign provided tangible examples of the real contribution that local newspapers can provide to young businesses across many different sectors, accelerating their development.
“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.”
Chris Ives, managing director of Ilkley Brewery, said: “The LBA has helped us look more closely at how people view Ilkley Brewery and our beers as a brand and start to look at how we can set ourselves apart from our competitors and also make sure our beers and branding are going to appeal to target export markets, all of which Deborah Meaden is helping us with.
“Advertising in the Yorkshire Post helped us gain a strong presence for a new beer range in Leeds and we are looking forward to our next advertising campaign towards the end of the year.”
David Cameron said the LBA campaign has provided “tremendous support to fledgling businesses across the country”.
The Prime Minister added: “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.”
To enter the Local Business Accelerators competition, which is also being backed by Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King, visit www.accelerateme.co.uk
Deadline for entries is November 16.