Winners hailed in Evening News-backed competition

THREE local businesses are set to receive a major boost after being unveiled as the winners of the Evening News-backed Dragons’ Den-stye Local Business Accelerators (LBA) competition.

Property management company Greatbase, website Shop Scotland and education publisher Bright Red Publishing have been announced as the local winners, and will receive free advertising in the Evening News as well as mentoring from local business leaders.

They are also in with a chance of progressing to the national stages of the competition which will see the overall LBA winner receive support from the Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden, the campaign’s national ambassador.

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The three were chosen by judges as being the most promising local businesses, after presenting their own pitches on why they should win.

Greatbase, run by Katie Kerr, is a property management service making use of vacant homes around the Capital to attract discerning tourists. It was praised in the early stages of the competition for turning negative aspects of the recession into positives. Ms Kerr said: “When I started off we had five to offer – now we have 40.”

Shop Scotland, created by Susan Elliott, is the only website showcasing independent online retailers and other small businesses north of the Border. Ms Elliott said: “We’ve built up a great roster of Scottish vendors, but winning would mean many others could hear about what we do.”

Alan Grierson’s Bright Red Publishing is aiming to produce a full range of study and revision guides suitable for the new National 5 Qualifications.

Robert Kirkhope, agency business development manager at the Evening News and one of the judges, said: “Bright Red Publishing have made a terrific achievement in a very short space of time.

“We had a very high standard of entrants this year. The three winners were all driven, well organised companies with impressive plans which matched exactly what the competition is about.

“Although the competition was tough, the winners really stood out in the end and definitely have a chance of winning at the national level.”

Supported by the Government and private sector’s Business in You campaign, LBA has seen 500 local newspapers join forces to provide a boost to promising young businesses.

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Research has found that local newspapers play a vital role in advertising small businesses, and 60 per cent of small business owners agree that advertising in the local paper is the best way to attract new customers.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who backs the competition, said: “Last year’s Local Business Accelerators campaign was a phenomenal success and showed what a huge range of strong, growing businesses there are across the country. It is a huge credit to the papers taking part that they are offering support to their local businesses. They play a vital role in local communities and are uniquely placed to boost their local economy in this way.”

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