Win Business Mentoring with Deborah Meaden

Local Business AcceleratorsDeborah Meaden, star of the BBC’s hit TV business show, Dragons Den, launches this year’s Local Business Accelerators scheme and one lucky venture could win the female Dragon as their business mentor for 12 months.

Now in it’s second year, Local Business Accelerators (LBA) is an initiative by the regional press industry to help local businesses to grow and prosper. The scheme is fronted by the famous Dragons’ Den star, Deborah Meaden, and supported by the Business In You campaign.

The overall winner will also win a £10,000 cash prize & an iPad and all finalists in the Local Business Accelerators competition will win £300 of online accounting software.

Free mentoring and advertising will also be available to fledgling businesses in an estimated £15 million boost to budding entrepreneurs.

The competition, open to businesses between 1 and 5 years old, wants UK firms to tell their story, to express where they are and what their business vision is.

Small businesses with the potential are most likely winners and last year’s winner, Chris Ives of Ilkley Brewery, has already secured the services of Deborah Meaden as the company’s business mentor.

Speaking in the podcast, below, Deborah Meaden said;

"It’s working out beautifully and they [Ilkley Brewery] are going from strength to strength"

The Newspaper Society has conducted research indicating that Britain’s young businesses are positive about their prospects in the current economic climate but they still need business advice and support.

A third of those polled expected growth in the next year, half expected business to remain flat and only 1 in 8 expected a downturn.

The Local Business Accelerators competition is open now, so have a listen to Deborah Meaden’s podcast below (There’s a transcript included for your convenience) and be sure to enter at www.accelerateme.co.uk

"Hi, I’m Deborah Meaden."

"I’m really pleased to be involved for the second year in a row with the Local Business Accelerator Scheme. That’s a competition for businesses between the ages of one a nd five years old. They can enter, they can tell us why their business has got the potential, tell us what they’re doing, what they’re all about, and the finalists and the winners, will win at least £10,000 worth of advertising in their local papers and, as important, if not more important, business mentoring from local business leaders."

"Of all of those entries there will be one overall winner, and that one overall winner will get a year’s worth of mentoring with me, whether they like it or they don’t and I don’t know what shape that takes because generally what happens I work with those businesses and I find out what it is that they really really need. And last year’s winner I’m working with and it’s working out beautifully and they are going from strength-to-strength."

"So last year’s winner, Chris Ives from Ilkley Brewery, they won in July, and the first thing I did we had a telephone call, just have a good old chat about what they felt they needed, actually, and sometimes it’s about what I feel they needed, because sometimes you get businesses who have a different opinion of where they are in their whole business life. However, not surprisingly, because Chris was the winner, I guess I wasn’t surprised to find out he had a pretty clear view of where the business was and what was even more interesting, where he wanted the business to go. Really what he wanted was some help in "how do we get there?" Actually, in fairness they’ve got a plan for that but "how does this sound?", "how does that look?", "how does that work?" and any contacts that I might have. So, so far, we’re half way through it, but it’s going really well."

"The most import thing for any business entering the local business accelerator this year is to be able to tell their story, they need to be able to express where they are and a taste of their vision because businesses always need to look forward and what we’re looking for is those businesses that have got the potential – they can see where they want to go and we can help them along their way; so being able to tell us your story, being able to show us not only where you’ve got to but where you want to get to."

"It’s pretty tough times out there at the moment and small business, not surprisingly, can be very worried at the moment. But I always say if you’re good at what you do, if you’ve got a reason to be, if you understand your customer then actually now is a very good time to be in business so don’t panic, that’s the thing I would say at the moment, don’t panic! It’s right to look around to look around you and think "should I be worried?", "what should I be doing?", Should I be adjusting my business?" but just listen to your consumer and keep yourself abreast or slightly ahead of your consumer."

"So, all businesses between the ages of one and five years old, that’s businesses, not children, A business needs to have been trading at least a year but no longer than five years, so we’re trying to help businesses in that growth stage. So, they can all apply and to apply there’s a website – www.accelerateme.co.uk Go on to the wbesite and it will give you all the information on there."

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