PRIME Minister David Cameron has thrown his weight behind the regional newspaper initiative to help fledgling businesses get a real head start.

The Local Business Accelerators scheme, supported by the Southern Daily Echo, now in its second year, offers new companies the chance to profit from experience and practical advice, as well as winning valuable free local newspaper advertising and even free wi-fi from BT.

“The campaign has provided tremendous support to fledgling businesses across the country and I am delighted that it will be running for a second year,” said Mr Cameron.

“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.”

BT announced this week that it will offer free business broadband and wi-fi access for a year, including wireless router and free installation, and the design and management of a website, with e-commerce if required, to the overall winner of the campaign.

The overall prize package now includes:

  • Mentoring from the campaign’s ambassador Deborah Meaden of Dragons’ Den.
  • A free advertising campaign in their local paper designed by a top London agency.
  • £10,000 cash from the Business Growth Fund.
  •  One year’s free membership of the CBI.
  • Free business advice from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales valued at £2,000.
  •  An iPad from Freeagent which is also offering a year’s free access to its accountancy software to each of the national finalists, valued at £300 per finalist.
  •  Free business broadband and wi-fi access for a year from BT for the overall winner, including wireless router and free installation, and the design and management of a website with e-commerce if required.

Even for local winners the prizes are fantastic.

The three businesses chosen by our team of judges at the Daily Echo will receive mentoring from a business expert and a free multi-mdeia advertising campaign in the Daily Echo and on line.

Local winners are then considered for the national finals.

The Business in You campaign is supporting LBA based on a shared goal of helping small businesses find the help they need.

The campaign brings together the best advice from government and private partners on everything from finding finance to exporting and employment. Like LBA, the cam-paign also showcases small businesses which have found success despite challenging times as a way to help inspire other entrepreneurs.


Businesses aged between one and five years can enter the LBA by simply visiting before the closing date of this Friday.