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Businesses aged between one and five years old can enter this year’s Local Business Accelerators competition, which is being launched today.
Apart from a chance to win support locally, entrants from the district will also be in the running to win a year’s mentoring from Deborah Meaden, of Dragon’s Den, and a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative ad agency.
Last year’s national winner was Ilkley Brewery, which beat more than 3,000 other firms and is currently receiving mentoring support from Deborah. As a result of taking part in the LBA initiative, Ilkley Brewery’s sales have grown further and it has taken on two new employees.
Owners of the three winning Bradford firms – Bingley Fitness Studio, Gateway Funeral Services and Hiba Hampers – have recommended LBA after it boosted their businesses.
Mary Cuthbert, of Bingley Fitness Studio, said free advertising and editorial coverage in the T&A had pushed up membership numbers and helped her to expand the range of activities, including children’s classes. She has been mentored by Craig Burton, owner of The Works recruitment business.
Mary said: “Winning LBA has been beneficial for my business and helped bring more people through the door. Craig has been helpful and supportive, and I’ve acted on some of his suggestions to move the business forward, including redecorating the studio.”
Lawyer Nasreen Karim runs Hiba Hampers and worked with former Yorkshire Building Society boss Iain Cornish as her mentor, and praised his contribution.
“I haven’t developed things perhaps as much as I should have done, due to balancing my work as a solicitor and trying to build up Hiba Hampers. But the support I’ve received through LBA has been really useful and will prove invaluable going forward.”
Janice Hutton, who runs Gateway Funeral Services with business partner Richard Arnold at Cleckheaton and Birkenshaw, urged entrepreneurs to “go for it” and enter this year’s LBA competition.
She said: “You have nothing to lose and we’ve found it very worthwhile, both from the help it has provided in raising our profile and from our mentor Andrew Mason (managing director of Shipley-based Newmason Properties), who has enabled us to stand back and look at what we need to do to develop our operations.”
The campaign, supported by the Government and private sector’s Business in You campaign, sees more than 500 newspapers across the UK joining forces to deliver a boost to promising young businesses.
Businesses aged between one and five years old can enter LBA for the chance to win a free ad campaign in the T&A, plus mentoring support. One of the local winners will go forward for a chance to win a year’s mentoring from Deborah Meaden and the expertise of a top London creative advertising agency.
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.”
Research by Toluna and campaign organisers the Newspaper Society reveals that 35 per cent of owners of young businesses expect some or significant growth in the next 12 months, with 53 per cent expecting little change. Only 12 per cent said they expected a decline.
Owners were most likely to use local newspapers to advertise their businesses (22 per cent), followed by internet advertising (15 per cent) and directories (14 per cent). Local newspapers were cited as the most effective of all forms of advertising (49 per cent), followed by outdoor/point of sale (48 per cent), and internet (45 per cent).
T&A editor Perry Austin-Clarke said: “We are delighted to be once again supporting the Local Business Accelerators initiative which will provide practical support to the winners and underline the important role that local newspaper advertising can play in boosting local businesses.
“Small firms are an important part of the Bradford’s economic mix and vital to bringing about a recovery, and anything we can do to help them is important.”
HOW TO ENTER
Businesses between one and five years old can enter the LBA competition online by clicking the Enter Your Business link at the top of this page, then clicking 'Apply'.
The closing date is November 16.