Last chance for young firms in Chichester, Bognor Regis and Midhurst to win thousands of pounds worth of free advertising

The Official images of Deborah Meaden for use with the LBA Campaign
The Official images of Deborah Meaden for use with the LBA Campaign

Time is running out for local firms to give themselves a massive shot in the arm with the Observer’s Local Business Accelerator campaign.

The £15m initiative, which is open to businesses aged between one to three years, will see one firm from our area selected to received three months’ free advertising and mentoring from experienced West Sussex entrepreneurs.

But companies have only until Monday, November 14 in which to apply via the Newspaper Society website at the following link (www.accelerateme.co.uk) so make sure you don’t miss your chance.

Among the mentors are Mark Barber from Chichester University, whose work setting up its new school of enterprise at its Bognor Regis campus involves assisting a number of undergraduates and emerging firms.

Louise Fenwick, vice-president of Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is also a mentor, having gained strong industry experience with her own marketing firm.

The trio is completed by Rupert Green, finance director of Covers builders merchants, which is one of the area’s most successful firms in its field within the region.

As an added prize, the Observer winner will be placed into a national draw for the chance to win additional mentoring from Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden.

The director general of the CBI, John Cridland, is the latest high-profile figure to lend his backing to the Local Business Accelerators campaign.

Mr Cridland said: “The Local Business Accelerators campaign is an innovative scheme to help promote much-needed growth in our local communities.

“Small and medium-sized businesses across the country have the potential to grow and create many new jobs and by joining forces in this way local newspapers can help provide valuable practical support.”

Companies in sectors such as catering, retail, technology, education, sports, creative industries and manufacturing are among those to have applied. A teddy bear-making company and a football school for youngsters are just two examples.

In addition to backing from Mr Cridland, prime minister David Cameron and culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, the campaign has received widespread support from business leaders, local authorities, industry groups and other leading figures in communities across the UK.

Deborah Meaden said: “Local Business Accelerators is the perfect opportunity to drive your business to success.

“With less than two weeks before entries close, I’m calling on businesses in West Sussex to get involved.

“I’ve got a simple message for businesses in West Sussex – don’t miss this great opportunity! Free advertising in the Observer and invaluable mentoring advice to kickstart your business is not to be thrown away.

“So if you’re a business that’s between one and three years old, with a great idea that wants to succeed, enter to be in with a chance of building a better future for both your business and the local community.”

To see a video of David Cameron and Deborah Meaden backing the LBA campaign and to nominate your company, visit the Local Business Accelerators website to put your company forward. by Monday, November 14.