The News Letter today announces the ten Northern Ireland businesses, including a renewable energy company, a premium liqueur producer, and a firm promoting local tourism via a smartphone app, that have made the shortlist in the Local Business Accelerators (LBA) competition.
The nationwide campaign launched in October, spearheaded by the Newspaper Society along with regional and local newspapers across the country and backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, will see 1,500 firms, who have been trading for 1-3 years, receive £15m of free advertising to help boost their businesses in 2012.
The judging panel and local business mentors - Mervyn McCaughey, managing director of Fivemiletown Creamery; Derek Quinn, Commercial Lines director with Hughes Insurance; Johnny Webb, Forensic Accounting and Corporate Finance partner with business advisors BDO alongside Adrienne McGill, News Letter business editor - reported that entries from across Northern Ireland were of an extremely high standard, with enthusiastic local firms recognising the benefits that local advertising can bring.
The Northern Ireland businesses to have made the LBA shortlist are:
l Heavenly Tasty Organics (Cookstown)
l CD Consulting (Tempo)
l The Undie Factory (Belfast)
l Dj’s juice and cider (Lisburn)
l Kergo Group (Enniskillen)
l Go Explore NI (Portballintrae)
l Boozeberries (Dromore)
l Epitome Recruitment (Coleraine)
l Digital Cloud Art (Belfast)
l Cheapest Oil (Belfast)
The firms will now be asssessed with a focus on the product or service of the business, its strength, its ability to develop and its receptivity towards mentoring before three winners are selected by the judging panel. As well as receiving top professional advice from our local business mentors, their prize also includes a substantial allocation of free advertising space in the pages of the News Letter.
In addition, Deborah Meaden will also become a mentor to one overall business, picked from the hundreds of regional winners, providing invaluable business support throughout 2012 to drive their business forward.
Adrienne McGill, News Letter business editor said there had been a considerable number of entries with intense competition between companies to make it onto the shortlist.
“The wealth of talent in Northern Ireland’s young business sector is immensely impressive as can be seen by the diverse range of businesses who entered the competition.
“There is a real desire by these firms to benefit from mentoring with a leading local business figure offering advice and expertise and also from advertising so the companies can project themselves to a wider audience.
“This is a very exciting initiative and it has been embraced enthusiastically,” she added.
The three lucky winners will be reported in the News Letter on January 11.