Grab free adverts worth thousands

BACKING -- TV 'dragon' Deborah Meaden

BACKING -- TV 'dragon' Deborah Meaden

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THIS week we can reveal that the total prize fund for advertising up for grabs in the Dispatch’s Local Business Accelerators (LBA) competition stands at more than £4,000.

The campaign, which is being backed by local newspapers across the country, is being organised by the Newspaper Society and aims to reward promising young businesses with a powerful boost of free local newspaper advertising as well as mentoring.

Local press advertising is a proven force to drive growth for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) — 60 per cent of small business owners agree that advertising in their local newspaper is the best way to attract customers in their area — and the same can be said for mentoring.

Ninety percent of businesses that secured help from a mentor reported seeing the benefit, with three quarters citing an improvement in their ability to develop business plans and strategy.

Mentoring is a key part of the government and private sector’s Business in You campaign, which is supporting LBA for the first time. Business in You highlights the range of support and advice available to businesses to help them start up, improve and grow.

And a key partner of the Business in You campaign is mentorsme.co.uk — Britain’s first online mentoring gateway, owned and operated by the British Banker’s Association — which provides a single point of access for businesses seeking mentoring and those seeking to become mentors.

The gateway currently provides access to over 110 organisations and, through them, to around 22,000 mentors – a number that continues to grow.

LBA national ambassador Deborah Meaden, the entrepreneur and investor who appears on TV’s ‘Dragons’ Den’, will provide a year’s mentoring to the 2012 overall national LBA winner, chosen from the regional finalists.

It will also receive a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative agency.

Last year’s Dispatch winners were Acorn Locksmiths, of Montague Road, Hucknall and Southall Driver Training, of Auckland Road in the town.

Entry is free and only takes a few minutes. Applications should be submitted by Friday November 16.

To enter go to: www.accelerateme.co.uk.