John Cridland, the director general of the CBI, is the latest high profile figure to lend his backing to the Local Business Accelerators campaign.
Announcing his support this week, Mr Cridland said: “The Local Business Accelerators campaign is an innovative scheme to help promote much needed growth in our local communities.
“Small and medium sized businesses across the country have the potential to grow and create many new jobs and by joining forces in this way local newspapers can help provide valuable practical support.”
The scheme, coordinated by the Newspaper Society, attracted 1,000 entries in the first week, with hundreds more being submitted each day to local newspapers by businesses across the UK.
Businesses that have applied already include companies in sectors such as catering, retail, technology, education, sports, creative industries and manufacturing. A teddy bear making company and a football school for youngsters.
Successful applicants will be rewarded with top professional advice from local business mentors plus a substantial allocation of free advertising space in their local publication. They are also in with a chance of winning a year’s mentoring with Dragons’ Den judge Deborah Meaden – the campaign’s national ambassador.
Mr Cridland joins high profile figures including Prime Minister David Cameron, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Professor David Miles of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee who have all voiced their support for the campaign.
Businesses can apply for a place on the scheme on the www.accelerateme.co.uk website until the November 14 deadline.