ONE lucky start-up business will win three months’ free advertising in The Hunts Post, thanks to the Local Business Accelerators campaign.

Nearly 500 daily and weekly newspapers are taking part in the competition, organised by the Newspaper Society, which will deliver a £15 million shot in the arm for fledgling British businesses. The campaign’s national ambassador is Deborah Meaden from Dragons’ Den.

Local newspapers are joining forces to find the nation’s most promising young businesses and help them accelerate their success with top professional advice from local business mentors and a substantial allocation of free advertising space.

Entries closed on November 14, and soon The Hunts Post’s judging panel will meet to decide on a final shortlist, which we will announce in our December 7 issue.

The judging panel will consist of Hunts Post editor Andy Veale, a member of the Huntingdonshire Chamber of Commerce and a representative from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Tim Weaver, national councillor for the Federation of Small Businesses (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire) and a recent Hunts Post Business Awards judge, said: “The FSB has long been a champion of new businesses, and as an experienced entrepreneur I wish to put something back into the business community and help new businesses to succeed.”

The final member of the judging panel is social media and networking coach Lucy Cooney, who runs her own start-up business (www.promotetoperform.com) as well as netLinked breakfast networking groups. Lucy has also offered a free LinkedIn course to the winning business.

She said: “Being the owner of a young, small business myself, I know the benefits of gaining greater promotion and awareness out to my local network. In my first year I was lucky enough to meet a lot of generous, open individuals, who were happy to share their expertise with me.

“This was invaluable to me, and is the reason I support this initiative and will mentor the winner of this competition, so I can support another young business in return.”