A landmark of 1,000 entries to Local Business Accelerators has been reached on the same day Jeremy Hunt lends his backing to the campaign – with 18 days still to go until the deadline.
Mr Hunt said of the scheme: “This is a fantastic initiative by the Newspaper Society, which will make a real difference to new companies up and down the country.
“It will help hundreds of small businesses establish themselves, helping to grow our economy and create jobs. This really shows the incredibly valuable role that local newspapers play in their local communities.”
The Culture Secretary’s backing for Local Business Accelerators comes as the milestone of 1,000 applications from young UK businesses was reached with 18 days still to go until the deadline.
Hundreds of entries have been flooding in to local and regional newspapers across the UK each day since the campaign’s launch a couple of weeks ago, which came with the backing of the Prime Minister and Dragons’ Den judge, Deborah Meaden; the campaign’s national ambassador.
Under the Local Business Accelerators scheme, the successful businesses will be rewarded with top professional advice from local business mentors – Borders textiles guru Hamish Carruthers MBE, proprietor of the County Hotel in Selkirk, Will Haegeland, and IT specialist and former Volunteer of the Year with the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, Scott McLean, plus a substantial allocation of free advertising space in The Southern Reporter.
With nearly 500 local papers taking part, the campaign aims to highlight the power of local forces to promote the strength and value of local newspapers for local businesses and communities while delivering a £15 million shot in the arm for fledgling British businesses.
The initiative has received widespread coverage in the national and media trade press and on Twitter with Deborah Meaden, No 10 Downing Street, media sales houses, chambers of commerce, local mentors, and small businesses talking about the campaign.
Adverts created by St Luke’s have been running this week in regional and local press titles alongside editorial stories. Mentors from all types of professions – retail, legal, finance, local government, academic and entrepreneurs such as Michelle Mone OBE - have signed up to be part of the campaign.
Feedback from businesses has been positive with one applicant saying: “What you are doing is fantastic. It’s innovative, and it will give start-ups and small businesses a massive boost. We really need schemes like this in the UK to help us grow and get recognition.”
Businesses can apply for a place on the scheme on the www.accelerateme.co.uk website until the deadline of November 14.
The Southern Reporter will then select its shortlist from all the entries we have received.
So what are you waiting for?