Up and coming local firms are being invited to put themselves forward to win free advertising in the Lancaster Guardian plus mentoring from business leaders.
The newspaper is once more among more than 500 across the UK taking part in the industry’s acclaimed Local Business Accelerators (LBA) campaign.
The campaign, which is led by Deborah Meaden of Dragon’s Den, is backed by prime minister David Cameron and Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England.
It is estimated that the initiative, which is open to firms aged between one and five years old, will deliver a £15 million boost to business through the free advertising and mentoring.
Local winners will go forward to the national stage of the competition to win a year’s mentoring from Deborah Meaden and a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative ad agency.
Last year’s local LBA winner was the Redwell Country Inn and Restaurant, which is based near Arkholme.
The Redwell received three months of free advertising in the Lancaster Guardian plus support from local business leaders.
Ann Morris, chief executive of the Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, is among those who have backed the LBA initiatve.
“Businesses need every encouragement they can get, especially in the current economic climate,” she said.
“Advertising and support from the wider business community can give fledgling firms the boost they need to take that next step forward.”
Nicola Adam, editor of the Lancaster Guardian, said: “As a local newspaper we want to be at the heart of our community and that includes supporting up and coming businesses in Lancaster and the surrounding area.
“The success of last year’s competition proved that LBA is a great way of doing just that.
“I would therefore encourage companies in the Lancaster district to enter the competition and give themselves a chance of securing this valuable advertising and business support, not to mention the publicity that goes with it.”
LBA national ambassador Deborah Meaden 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 Deborah, saw its orders in Leeds double as a result of the free LBA ad campaign in its local paper and the business expanded to take on two new employees.
Research recently conducted by Toluna and campaign organisers the Newspaper Society reveals that business owners were most likely to use local newspapers to advertise their businesses (22 per cent) and they were cited as the most effective of all forms of advertising (49 per cent).
Businesses can enter the competition in their local newspaper via the LBA hub at www.accelerateme.co.uk.
The closing date is November 16.