With 10 days to go, new prizes pledged in Recorder’s Local Business Accelerators competition - enter now

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 November 2012

Dragons' Den star Deborah Meaden will mentor the Local Business Accelerators winner (photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Dragons' Den star Deborah Meaden will mentor the Local Business Accelerators winner (photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA)

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The countdown is on, with just 10 days remaining for Havering start-ups to enter the Recorder’s competition to help young businesses grow strong.

National entries in the scheme, organised by the Newspaper Society and supported by local papers like the Recorder across Britain, topped the 900 last week and are expected to soar in the final days. Last year, 3,100 businesses entered.

Firms in the borough aged between one and five years can enter at for a chance to win a package of mentoring, advertising, networking and cash that could push them into the big time.

The regional winner – to be picked by a panel that includes Gerry Byrne, who owns five McDonald’s franchises in the borough – will get a free ad campaign in the Romford Recorder and personal mentoring from Gerry.

And one overall national winner will also receive £10,000 from the Business Growth Fund and mentoring from Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden.

Meanwhile, LBA has gained backing from government business and enterprise minister Michael Fallon, who spoke last month about the value of advertising in local papers.

“The government is proud to support the Local Business Accelerators initiative, which highlights the important role that local papers can play in working with businesses in their area,” he said in a video on the LBA website.

“There are about 4.8 million small and medium sized enterprises in the UK – that’s around 99 per cent of all businesses. They are the lifeblood of our economy and that’s why we feel it’s so important to support Local Business Accelerators.

“Local press can help businesses reach more than 30 million people who rely on local papers and for information about events and services in their area each week.”

With the final fortnight underway, a host of additional prizes have been announced for this year’s national winner.

Free membership of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) for a year, free business advice from the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) valued at £2,000, and an iPad from accountancy firm Freeagent are all up for grabs.

Freeagent is also offering a year’s free access to its accountancy software to each of the national finalists, valued at £300 per finalist.

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