Local Business Accelerator shortlist is announced

The Observer’s Local Business Accelerator (LBA) competition has been a great success this year with 19 entries.

But we’ve had to whittle them down to a lucky 12, who are shortlisted to go forward for our four business mentors to judge.

The mentors will announce a winner on February 6, and the winning business will receive three months’ free advertising with the paper, and advice from the four mentors who have expertise in all areas of the business world.

Here is our shortlist of the final 12.

- Chichester company Travel Bespoke Ltd started in May 2011, and has never advertised in a newspaper.

The company provides ski holiday packages such as corporate holidays, and ski and spa breaks.

- Midhurst firm, Food Menu & In-store Display Photos is run by sole trader Antony Lynn-Hill.

He said: “I specialise in food images for menus... I am very good at creating my images, however I lack the skill of selling and marketing.”

- Ice-cream company Caroline’s Dairy started-up from Chalders Farm, Sidlesham, in March 2008.

She said: “As a small business, the opportunity of free local advertising and mentoring would be invaluable.”

- Media company Design 51 was set up by Daniel Edwards.

He won Young Business Person of the Year at the Observer Business Awards in March 2012 and was awarded Highly Commended at the Southern Business Awards in September.

- Hometyre Sussex is a mobile tyre service run by Mark Watson from Bognor Regis.

He employs two staff and believes mentoring will help his business thrive.

- The Chichester Biltong Company was set up in Oving in January 2010 by Simon Smith.

The firm runs a website which ships the South African meat worldwide, but they want to have a local presence too.

- Katy Garrigan started West Wittering catering company Bread a la Mer.

She said: “We were chosen to bake for all Goodwood House events/weddings including Festival of Speed and Revival, and they continue to be our most high-profile customer.”

- Luxury Lawns was set up in Chichester by Tom Evans in June 2011.

He has reached 100 regular customers without marketing.

However Tom said: “Because my business is still in its infant stages, letting people know I’m out there is key at this time.”

- IT service EventGeeks was set up by Tristan Cole in March 2010.

The Bracklesham Bay-based company has a BBC contract and employs two staff.

- Green Clean, a Chichester cleaning company, was set up by Katie Ramsey who now has 16 team members.

She said: “I have never tried to advertise in local papers as I have often found the pricing structure inaccessible for small/start-up businesses like 
myself.”

- David Friel set up his web development firm as a sole trader in October 2011.

He said: “Overall I believe my business is at the right point in time where mentorship and newspaper advertising would of great help.”

- Bognor Regis company Shake & Bake started in January 2011, on the Bognor seafront.

The company won the New Business of the Year award 2011 in the Arun Business Awards.