Keep it local and you may be better off

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Local Business Accelerators (LBA) rewards promising young businesses with a powerful boost – free advertising in the Mid-Ulster Mail and the Tyrone Times, plus mentoring.

Local press advertising is a proven force to drive growth for SMEs – 60% of small business owners agree that advertising in their local newspaper is the best way to attract customers in their area – and the same can be said for mentoring.

Ninety per cent of businesses that had help from a mentor reported seeing the benefit, with three quarters citing an improvement in their ability to develop business plans and strategy.

Mentoring is a key part of the Government and private sector’s Business in You campaign which is supporting LBA for the first time. BiY highlights the range of support and advice available to businesses to help them start up, improve and grow.

And a key partner in the campaign is mentorsme.co.uk – Britain’s first online mentoring gateway, owned and operated by the British Banker’s Association – which provides a single point of access for businesses looking for mentoring and those interested in becoming mentors.

The gateway currently provides access to over 110 organisations and, through them, to around 22,000 mentors.

A recent survey found that of those business owners who said they were expecting to grow in the next two to three years, 80% had used external advice compared to 67% who hadn’t.

“As a mentor, my goal is to provide the support an entrepreneur needs to stay confident and focused on their goals,” says Penny Power, a business mentor, entrepreneur, and mentoring ambassador. “Having an outlet where you can share ideas or concerns and get guidance on the next steps can be invaluable to someone who is starting a business.”

And for the mentors it’s an opportunity to give something back to the enterprise community and gain a broader understanding of the issues facing small businesses.

These two components of business support – mentoring and local press advertising – comprise the key prizes for the Local Business Accelerators campaign.

The campaign has already seen hundreds of businesses across different sectors feel the effects of this acceleration and many more stand to benefit in the coming year.

To find out more about how you can join the campaign and win thousands of pounds worth of advertising, go to www.accelerateme.co.uk

This is a nationwide campaign led by Deborah Meaden of Dragons’ Den fame and backed by the Government, and the Bank of England.

More than 500 newspapers are taking part, and between us we are giving away millions of pounds worth of advertising to small businesses.