Dragons Den star joins our quest to boost promising businesses

�The Recorder is teaming up with businesswoman and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden to search for Newham’s most promising businesses in a competition for start-ups.

More than 500 local newspapers across the country have pledged �15 million worth of free advertising space for winners of the Local Business Accelerators, with prizes including mentoring from the borough’s most experienced business leaders.

Deborah Meaden, from the hit BBC show were entrepreneurs pitch their ideas for financial backing and support, will also choose one business from the hundreds of regional winners to work with as a consultant for a year.

Prime Minister David Cameron and the Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King, have pledged their support to the campaign co-ordinated by the Newspaper Society.

The initiative is also backed by the private sector’s Business in You campaign. Newham’s judging panel will consist of business leaders from the borough.

Recorder Editor Colin Grainger said: “All communities need thriving local businesses, and in this economic climate it’s crucial that we identify and support young Newham Communities.

“I hope we will help drive the local economy forward with this initiative and I’m very proud to be involved.

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“By joining forces to launch this excellent initiative for the second year running, local newspapers are demonstrating their commitment and providing exactly the sort of practical, hands-on support that will help local businesses succeed and grow.”

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Our judging panel will award mentoring and free advertising space to three Newham businesses.

One will be put forward for the chance to win Ms Meaden’s expertise throughout 2013 and a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative ad agency.

She 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 am delighted to be supporting the initiative once 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.”

Last year’s overall LBA winner, Ilkley Brewery in Yorkshire, which is currently receiving mentoring support from the “dragon”, saw its orders in Leeds double as a result of the free ad campaign in its local paper and the business expanded to take on two new employees since taking part.

The judges are looking for a business with a great idea or product, that is between one and five years old, active in the borough’s community and full of potential.

* For more information or to enter visit www.accelerateme.co.uk, by Friday November 16.

Of the campaign Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“The Local Business Accelerators campaign has provided tremendous support to fledgling businesses across the country and I am delighted that 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 that 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.”

While Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King said:

“In all parts of the country, I am impressed by the companies that I visit. Exciting innovation and imaginative entrepreneurship are plain to see in many companies. That deserves recognition and support.

“The Local Business Accelerators scheme is an excellent initiative that supports local businesses and communities. And it does so through local newspapers, which play a key role in communicating with the public about the economy and business.”

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