A COMPANY which trains tennis stars of the future, another which recycles bikes, a fledgling brewery and a specialist childcare agency are among six East Sussex businesses which have moved forward to the next stage of the Observer’s Local Business Accelerators initiative.
All six new businesses will receive a substantial allocation of free advertising from the Observer and mentoring from Hastings business leaders to help them forge ahead in a difficult market place.
Local Business Accelerators was launched last autumn as part of an initiative involving the local newspaper industry to deliver a powerful shot in the arm for British business.
In East Sussex alone, scores of new businesses under three years old came forward looking for that added entrepreunerial muscle as well as the welcome platform of free advertising, covering a huge diversity of industry.
From East Sussex, the six businesses which have been shortlisted include: Exquisite Home Care Ltd, Bexhill; Lulu Nannies, Fairlight; Hastings Brewery, St Leonards; Tennis Eastbourne Ltd, Eastbourne; Pure Paper, Eastbourne and Rebicycled, Hailsham.
The Local Business Accelerators, which was backed by the Newspaper Society and will see 1,500 firms receive £15m worth of free advertising to help boost their businesses in 2012, has received high profile backing from Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden and Prime Minister David Cameron.
He said: “Congratulations to all the winners of the Local Business Accelerators scheme.
“It’s brilliant that so many promising young companies, from such a wide range of sectors, are benefitting from this excellent initiative.
“Entrepreneurship, creativity and ambition are essential for our economic recovery and through Local Business Accelerators, newspapers such as the Observer are supporting some great new British businesses to grow, and helping to boost their local economy.
“I wish the newspapers, businesses and their mentors every success over the coming months.”
Later in the year, one business will go on to be crowned the overall Local Business Accelerators winner and receive mentoring from the campaign’s national ambassador Deborah Meaden.
Local Business Accelerators has also received the support of Stephen Welton, Business Growth Fund chief executive, who said the initiative was providing a “powerful boost” to young businesses.
Mr Welton said: “I am delighted to lend my support to the Local Business Accelerators initiative which is offering a powerful boost to young businesses throughout the UK.
“Clearly economic conditions continue to be challenging; but we need businesses to be considering the opportunities and focusing on what they can influence.
“When growth is harder to achieve, history tells us that the most successful companies are not those with defensive strategies.”
The Business Growth Fund has contributed to Local Business Accelerators by offering a series of free half-day workshop sessions at its regional centres to winning businesses.
Mr Welton added: “Our workshops will help business owners to think about how they can expand; how they can reach new audiences and new markets; how they can begin exporting; and how they can raise the capital that they might need to fund their ambitions.
“The question that BGF will be addressing in 2012 is how best can we find, encourage and support ambitious business owners.
“The Local Business Accelerators scheme is playing a vital role in furthering this ambition.”