TIMES are tough but business is still booming for some firms with the right support.
And the Observer is keen to offer budding local companies a helping hand, by giving you the chance to win three months of free advertising.
Newspaper advertising is a powerful way to promote your business which is why we are one of 500 local newspapers taking part in a national scheme, Local Business Accelerators (LBA), which offers free advertising to give businesses a boost, as well as advice from respected industry professionals in the area.
Businesses aged between one and five years can enter the competition via the LBA hub – www.accelerateme.co.uk – before the November 16 closing date.
And it’s even got the backing of prime minister David Cameron – as well as Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden.
Deborah, the national ambassador for the scheme, 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 local newspapers can provide to young businesses across many different sectors, accelerating their development.”
The 2011 contest was a great success, generating a strong response across our area, with a broad spectrum of firms putting themselves forward to compete for thousands of pounds worth of advertising support.
Three leading West Sussex business figures signed up to act as mentors and assist the winning enterprise.
And Louise Fenwick, director of Coalition Marketing, is back on board for the 2012 LBA campaign.
She told the Observer: “The overall package being offered to the winners could really help turbo-charge their business growth. The winner gets an amazing advertising package from the Observer plus editorial coverage, which provides excellent exposure among local audiences.
“Twinned with mentoring sessions in marketing and business planning, we will make sure the winner gets the right messages out to the right people, to make a difference to their business.
“This competition is not for the faint-hearted! The mentoring provided is proactive and challenging, so the winning applicants should see the value of the complete package; not just the advertising!”
The most promising businesses will go forward to the national stage of the competition, and the Business Growth Fund (BGF), an independent business established to help the UK’s fast growing smaller and medium-sized businesses, has come forward to add a £10,000 cash sum to the prize package for the overall winner.
BGF’s contribution means the prize pot for the overall LBA-winning business now consists of a year’s mentoring from Ms Meaden and a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative ad agency as well as the £10,000 cash prize.