LOCAL BUSINESS ACCELERATORS CAMPAIGN: £15million boost for new firms

Ben Cooper and Janet Rawson of Twisted Events Presents
Ben Cooper and Janet Rawson of Twisted Events Presents

IT’S just a week old, and already the launch of the Local Business Accelerators’ initiative has received widespread support across the business community.

The LBA is a nationwide £15million shot in the arm for local businesses - a partnership between the local press and business leaders to revitalise the economy during these tough times.

We’ve already received several entries from emerging businesses in East Sussex who are looking for mentoring from established entrepreneurs in the county and the possibility of further advice from Dragons’ Den star, Deborah Meaden.

The drive to provide vital support to regional businesses brings together 450 papers from across the UK who are injecting millions of pounds of advertising to give the LBA campaign momentum.

Sussex Newspapers’ parent company, Johnston Press, is among media groups nationwide supporting the scheme which has been organised by the Newspaper Society. Chief executive, John Fry, said he is proud that Johnston Press is taking part.

He said: “The Local Business Accelerators campaign is an exciting initiative that I believe very much fits the time.

“It is designed to help existing businesses grow and develop which must be a good thing to do at the bottom of the biggest recession in our lives. As publishers we are putting something back into the communities we serve.

“All of us taking part are committing free advertising space to help grow recently created local businesses so that they can, in turn, help grow their local economies.

“David Cameron has thrown his support behind the campaign because he knows the public sector can’t recruit millions of new people, but the private sector can.

“It is a very clever idea. Sir Ray Tindle has provided the seed capital to fund the campaign – he gave the Newspaper Society a quarter of a million pounds to create an initiative and we and our publishing colleagues are providing additional investment through the free advertising space, which will be worth around £15 million.

“Deborah Meaden from Dragons’ Den is very much on board. She sees how the initiative will benefit local businesses and local economies.

“Johnston Press is proud to be taking part. This campaign achieves multiple objectives.

“It helps local businesses and the economy, it creates huge goodwill and it demonstrates the effectiveness of our medium.

“Everyone will benefit.”

The LBA initiative follows closely with the words of the Prime Minister earlier this year who was reflecting on the steps which industry needs to take to pull the economy on an upward trend.

He said: “The recovery we need is a private sector-led recovery. A recovery with ‘Made in Britain’ stamped all over it. We need to see a country where new businesses are starting up on every street, in every town; entrepreneurs are everywhere.”



THE world is just a stage, and for East Sussex business duo Janet Rawson and Ben Cooper the stage is their new and fledgling business.

Ben, a professional producer and stage manager, and Janet, an author and playwright, are the brains behind Twisted Events, an Eastbourne-based company which puts on theatrical productions for corporate business and also private functions.

Since the firm was founded in 2009, it has put on team development days for a number of big businesses using the power of theatre, including banks, insurance companies and retail groups.

Twisted Events also puts on fun murder mystery evenings, add a bit of theatrical sparkle into conferences, and themed dinner parties.

“It is not perhaps the best time to launch a business, but it has been going well,” admitted Janet.

“We are getting work in and we have had quite a few enquiries. We have been doing quite a few team building events for corporates which are fun. They are very theatrical and very interactive.”

Both are keen to be part of the Local Business Accelerators’ initiative to provide them with the vision to take their company forward.

“When we started out we possibly defined our market far too narrow,” explained Janet. “We were just a theatrical company, but now we have begun to explore the opportunities.

“I used to run a very successful drama-based training company which became global and I grew to appreciate the value of mentoring then.

“Mentors are not afraid of giving you tough advice, they are able to give you a perspective on the business you have not seen.

“For us, an expert mentor would immediately see where we could make improvements,

“We could be better at marketing, so we feel any marketing would be beneficial to raise our profile.”

Twisted Events: www.twistedeventspresents.co.uk / email: info@twistedeventspresents.co.uk



• More than 450 papers around the country are taking part in the Local Business Accelerators (LBA) initiative.

• It is open to emerging businesses formed between one and three years ago.

• The selected business will receive mentoring tips and advice from established entrepreneurs within our area. They will then be put forward for the chance to be mentored by Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden.

She said, “I’ve seen the unique contribution that local press makes to the success of local businesses time and again with my own ventures. In this age of enterprise it has never been more important to drive awareness about the value of local marketing for a fledgling business, which is why I’m so proud to support Local Business Accelerators and help build thriving and industrious communities.”

• Entries to LBA are open between now and November 14. To nominate a business, use the following Newspaper Society link – {http:// www.newspapersoc.org.uk/accelerate-me|www.newspapersoc.org.uk/accelerate-me| accelerate-me}

• Entries will be judged independently and results revealed in December.