By Maximilian Clarke

Local Business Accelerators, a £3 million scheme offering a free advertising boost to businesses via local newspapers, has received over 1,000 applicants in under a week.

Set up by the Newspaper Society and backed by its national ambassador, Deborah Meaden; Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and the Prime Minister; the scheme intends to stimulate a crucial small business recovery by providing free advertising space on the UK’s most read paper medium- local newspapers.

“It will help hundreds of small businesses establish themselves, helping to grow our economy and create jobs,” commented the Cultural Secretary. “This really shows the incredibly valuable role that local newspapers play in their local communities.”

Hundreds of entries have been flooding in to local and regional newspapers across the UK each day since the campaign’s launch last week, which came with the backing of the Prime Minister and Dragons’ Den judge, Deborah Meaden; the campaign’s national ambassador.
Under the Local Business Accelerators scheme, the successful businesses will be rewarded with top professional advice from local business mentors plus a substantial allocation of free advertising space in their local publication.
With nearly 500 local papers taking part, the campaign aims to highlight the power of local newspapers for local businesses and communities while delivering a £15 million shot in the arm for fledgling British businesses.
The initiative has received widespread coverage in the national and media trade press and on Twitter with Deborah Meaden, No 10 Downing Street, media sales houses, chambers of commerce, local mentors, and small businesses talking about the campaign.
Ads created by St Luke’s have been running this week in regional and local press titles alongside editorial stories. Mentors from all types of professions - retail, legal, finance, local government, academic and entrepreneurs such as Michelle Mone OBE - have signed up to be part of the campaign.
Feedback from businesses has been positive with one applicant saying: “What you are doing is fantastic. It's innovative, and it will give start-ups and small businesses a massive boost. We really need schemes like this in the UK to help us grow and get recognition.”
Businesses can apply for a place on the scheme on the www.accelerateme.co.uk website until the 14 November deadline. Individual newspapers taking part in the initiative will then select their shortlist from all the entries their title has received.

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