Prime Minister praises Gazette’s helping hand

PRIME Minister David Cameron has highlighted the role of the Northumberland Gazette in supporting local business as newspapers announce the winners of Local Business Accelerators.

And he extended his congratulations to the winning businesses who will receive a substantial allocation of free advertising and mentoring from local business leaders.

Mr Cameron 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 Northumberland Gazette 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.”

Northeast Press managing director Stuart Birkett said: “Coming only a few weeks after we launched the Keep Northumberland Working campaign, it is great to be able to reward some exciting young local businesses with a prize that should help kick-start their growth in 2012.

“The judges were delighted with both the number and range of businesses entering the competition and it proved a very difficult task to select the best from such a great range of entries. However, the winners all exhibited a blend of commitment, growth potential and at least a touch of uniqueness that made their business stand out.

“If young businesses are the future lifeblood of the local economy, then enterprise in Northumberland is destined to flourish.”

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, of Dragons’ Den.

Backed by high-profile figures including the Prime Minster and the CBI’s John Cridland, the campaign has seen the local newspaper industry come together to deliver a shot in the arm for British business.

Local Business Accelerators has also received the support of Stephen Welton, Business Growth Fund (BGF) 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 BGF has contributed to Local Business Accelerators by offering a series of free half-day workshops 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.”

The winners of the Northumberland joint programme, which covers the Gazette and its sister titles the Morpeth Herald, News Post Leader and Berwick Advertiser, were CJ Performance Cycles in Cramlington, which came first, Blitz Clean in Ashington and Barkers Northumberland in Morpeth.

Kayola’s Deli in Morpeth and Berwick-based DM Designs were runners-up.