Young businesses across Wiltshire are being urged to sign up to a major campaign which could give a massive boost to their future prospects.
The Local Business Accel-erators (LBA) initiative is launching in the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald/Wiltshire Times and its sister titles across the Newsquest Wilt-shire group for a second year following its highly successful debut in 2011.
It will see three of the most promising businesses in the region being offered free advertising for a year along with advice and mentoring from top business experts.
LBA represents a national drive worth £15m across more than 500 local and regional newspapers spearheaded by the Newspaper Society.
Again it is being backed by Deborah Meaden, a judge on TV’s Dragons’ Den, with the overall competition winner receiving invaluable mentoring from the entrepreneur.
Last year, the competition in the Wiltshire strand of the LBA was fierce, with three winners being selected who have all benefited from their prizes this year. The three businesses were Frankly Recruitment of Commercial Road, Swindon, All Angles Ltd, furniture and paint sprayers, of Lushill Farm, Hannington and handbag designers Peony & Moore of Rode, near Bradford on Avon.
Lucy Clayphan, 39, who set up Peony & Moore with her mother Pam Palmer, 65, said: “To anyone out there thinking of applying, I’d say give it a go absolutely, it is a great opportunity to raise your brand awareness.
“If you have a new businesses and are enthusiastic the benefits can be huge.”
The regional winners will be selected by representatives from some of Wilt-shire’s leading businesses, who will work with News-quest Wiltshire to shortlist entries and then pick this year’s three winners.
The campaign has been backed by Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King.
Mr 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 they need to grow, which is good for local areas and good for the economy as a whole.
“I hope more young businesses put themselves forward over the coming months and get involved with this innovative scheme, which rewards entrepreneurship and creative thinking in business.”