REGIONAL and local newspapers across the country have delivered a huge boost to UK business by pledging an unprecedented £15million of free advertising to the most dynamic fledgling enterprises.
The bold initiative, backed by Dragons’ Den judge Deborah Meaden, is called Local Business Accelerators and is being spearheaded by the voice of local media, the Newspaper Society.
Nearly 500 publications, including the Morpeth Herald, are joining forces to promote the strength and value of newspapers for their businesses and communities.
Together, the local press will search for the most promising young businesses and help them accelerate their success with top professional advice from mentors plus free advertising space in the newspaper.
And one lucky business picked from the hundreds of regional winners will get individual mentoring sessions from the LBA national ambassador Deborah Meaden, who will become a consultant and mentor to the business for one year.
Deborah said: “I’ve seen the unique contribution that local press makes to the success of businesses time and again with my own ventures.
“In this age of enterprise it has never been more important to drive awareness about the value of local marketing for a fledgling business, which is why I’m proud to support Local Business Accelerators and help build thriving and industrious communities.”
This week the Herald, along with its sister titles in Northumberland, launches its Local Business Accelerators search.
It is open to all businesses that are active in Northumberland, between one and three-years-old and full of potential.
They may have a great idea or product, or found a new market.
They are the kind of businesses that will create new jobs and create pride in the community.
If you run such a business, or know anyone who does, and want the chance to receive invaluable business support and advertising space, visit www.accelerateme.co.uk to enter.
Entries close on November 14.
Members of Northumberland’s business community, Robbie Dalgleish, a partner at Greaves West and Ayre accountants in Berwick, Phil Langton, chief executive of Northumberland Business Service Limited, and Alnwick-based renewables and food and drink entrepreneur Ian Brown, alongside Northeast Press managing director Stuart Birkett, will form the judging panel.
They will review and shortlist entries before awarding three lucky local winners with the prize of free advertising and business advice.
They will also be looking out for that one overall business to put forward to be in with a chance to gain Deborah Meaden as a mentor.
Geraldine Allinson, president of the Newspaper Society, said: “The UK needs to grow local businesses like never before, and local businesses need local press.
“No other medium has the power, local knowledge and influence to activate a scheme like Local Business Accelerators.
“It’s where local newspapers have always made a real difference: by helping to build strong local businesses and encourage thriving communities.”