THE Hunts Post has joined hundreds of daily and weekly newspapers from across the UK by registering to take part in Local Business Accelerators (LBA), which is launched today (Wednesday).

The campaign aims to showcase the unique power of the local press to deliver a boost to local businesses by offering young enterprises a free advertising campaign in their local paper and mentoring support. Last year it attracted entries from more than 3,000 SMEs.

The initiative has received the backing of leading businesses and politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, who said: "The Local Business Accelerators campaign has provided tremendous support to fledgling businesses across the country, and I am delighted that it will be running for a second year.

"Local newspapers play a vital role in their communities and are uniquely placed to support small businesses, giving them the boost that they need to grow, which is good for local areas and good for the economy as a whole.

"I hope more young businesses put themselves forward over the coming months and get involved with this innovative scheme, which rewards entrepreneurship and creative thinking in business."

Adrian Jeakings, Newspaper Society president and chief executive of Archant, parent company of The Hunts Post, said: "The inaugural Local Business Accelerators campaign was a resounding success, and this year it is going to be even bigger and better. LBA demonstrated that local newspapers have a unique ability to deliver a real boost to local businesses, energising and invigorating local economies as they do so."

The inaugural LBA was won by Yorkshire-based Ilkley Brewery whose owners are now receiving the campaign's grand prize of mentoring from Dragons' Den star Deborah Meaden and a free ad campaign designed by top London advertising agency St Luke's.

INFORMATION: For more on LBA and to download an entry form visit www.newspapersoc.org.uk/accelerate-me