FLEDGLING businesses are being offered the chance of a double boost for their firms thanks to a campaign being launched today by Newsquest Oxfordshire.

The Local Business Accelerators campaign will see three of the most promising businesses in the county being offered free advertising in the Oxford Mail and its sister Newsquest Oxfordshire titles, along with advice and mentoring from top business experts.

It is part of a national drive worth £15m across almost 500 local and regional newspapers spearheaded by the Newspaper Society. It is being backed by Deborah Meaden, a judge on TV’s Dragon’s Den.

Ms Meaden will then become a mentor and consultant to one lucky business picked from the hundreds of regional winners.

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 to build thriving and industrious communities.”

Local Business Accelerators is open to all businesses active in Oxfordshire that are between one and three years old to enter. They can come from any industry, may have a great idea, product or service or even have identified a new market.

We are looking for those with the most potential which are likely to have a big impact in the community, for example through local job creation.

The judges will be Mike Jennings, who runs the Jennings business parks across the county, Brendon Cross, managing director of Witney-based STL Communications and Bob Urwin, of Oxford letting agents Martin & Co.

They will work alongside Newsquest Oxfordshire’s business editor Andrew Smith to review and short-list entries before awarding the winners the prize of free advertising and business advice.

One overall star business will also be put forward to be in with a chance to gain Ms Meaden as a mentor during 2012.

Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron has backed the campaign.

He said: “The Local Business Accelerators campaign will help provide the boost that our smaller British businesses need right now.

“By joining forces to launch this excellent initiative, local newspapers are demonstrating their commitment and providing exactly the sort of practical, hands-on support that will help young local businesses succeed and grow.

“Those that will benefit from the initiative are the very businesses and entrepreneurs that will help to lead Britain’s recovery.”

If you run such a business, or know anyone who does, and want the chance to receive invaluable business support and advertising space in Newsquest Oxfordshire’s titles visit accelerateme.co.uk for more information and how to enter. Entries close on November 14.

If you want to speak to us about advertising in any Newsquest Oxfordshire publication, please contact our advertising display manager, Julian Richings, on 01865 425275.