By Maximilian Clarke

Dragons’ Den star, Deborah Meadon and Prime Minister David Cameron are among the famous faces lending their support to a £15 million scheme, spearheaded by the Newspaper Society, aiming to provide free local advertising for small businesses .

The Local Business Accelerator scheme will provide free advertising for local businesses in an estimated 500 local newspapers, worth around £15 million.

It is hoped the surge in free advertising will help stimulate local enterprise at a time when rising financial pressures are forcing many businesses to curtail advertising spend, among other investments. Small businesses form the backbone of the UK’s economy, constituting 99.9% of all companies, whilst employing 2/3 of the workforce. The UK recovery is therefore dependent on smaller enterprises’ performance.

“I’ve seen the unique contribution that local press makes to the success of local businesses time and again with my own ventures,” said Deborah Meaden. “In this age of enterprise it has never been more important to drive awareness about the value of local marketing for a fledgling business, which is why I’m so proud to support Local Business Accelerators and help build thriving and industrious communities.”

The competition is open to all businesses that are active in the local community, between one and three years old and full of potential. They may have a great idea or product, or even found a new market. They’re the kind of businesses that will create new jobs and individually they will create pride in the community.

Business owners are being encouraged to make the most of the offer, by visiting

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