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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Enterprising ventures fly the flag for Tynedale

THE Hexham Courant today unveils the winners of our Local Business Accelerators competition to find the most promising young businesses in Tynedale.

Health and social care specialist Annie Barr Associates, in Bywell, and stonemason Nick Rowsell, from Hexham, have won the LBA prize of free advertising in the Courant and mentoring from local business leaders.

They were chosen after a presentation in front of judging panel comprising Courant editor Colin Tapping, Tony Bullock from Armstrong Watson, Ewan Pullan from the University of Cumbria and business mentors Fiona Raglan and Tony Trapp.

Now they have the chance of progressing to the national stages of the competition which will see the overall LBA winner receive mentoring support from the Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden, the campaign’s national ambassador.

Deborah said: “I would like to congratulate the winners of this year’s Local Business Accelerators who should all feel extremely proud to have got this far in the competition.

“The first LBA created hundreds of business success stories across the UK and I am confident that we will see hundreds more again this year, as the winners receive the campaign prize of free local newspaper advertising and mentoring.

“We need to do everything we can to support small business owners and entrepreneurs and LBA is helping to do just that.”

Supported by the Government and private sector’s Business in You campaign, LBA has seen 500 local newspapers join forces to provide a boost to promising young businesses. Research found that local newspaper advertising is highly valued by small business owners with 60 per cent agreeing that advertising in the local paper is the best way to attract customers.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Last year’s Local Business Accelerators campaign was a phenomenal success and showed what a huge range of strong, growing businesses there are across the country. It is a huge credit to the papers taking part that they are offering real support to their local businesses. They play a vital role in local communities and are uniquely placed to boost their local economy in this way.

“Last year’s national winner Ilkley Brewery has gone from strength to strength, growing its sales by 140 per cent and I hope this year’s winners will go on to enjoy similar success. I would like to congratulate the winners of the Hexham Courant’s competition and wish them all the best for the national final.”

The Ilkley Brewery has increased its staff by 20 per cent over the year as a result of growth. Deborah Meaden visited the brewery in November as part of her mentoring pledge.

Ilkley Brewery managing director Chris Ives said: “Winning LBA has provided a real boost to the business enabling us to grow both sales and staff headcount at a rapid rate. The free local newspaper advertising we won allowed us to reach new customers and establish our brand, while the mentoring gave us a helpful outside perspective on the business.

“We are now at the stage of exploring ways to take the product into new markets overseas as well as continuing to build on the strong progress we have made in our local marketplace. I would like to congratulate all the winners of the second LBA and hope that they will benefit from winning the competition as much as we have.”

In addition to the main prize of a year's mentoring from Deborah Meaden, this year's overall LBA winner will take home: £10,000 cash sum from the Business Growth Fund; one year's free membership of the CBI; free business advice from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales valued at £2,000; an iPad from Freeagent; free business broadband and wifi access for a year and the design and management of a website from BT.

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