MUSICIAN Richard Ashton’s career has hit a new high note after his business was nominated to compete against the cream of entrepreneurial talent across the country.

Mr Ashton, 30, runs World Beats Music, which teaches music in schools and to adults.

It was one of three winners of the Local Business Accelerators contest, run by Newsquest Oxfordshire and aimed at finding the top fledgling companies in the county.

Now he will go on to compete against winners nominated by newspapers from all over the UK as the national leg of the competition gets into full swing.

He said: “I am so excited about finding out what will happen in the next stage and to meet other businesses who have been involved.”

Mr Ashton formed his company after developing a career at the County Music Service.

Now he works with schools throughout the county running music classes and workshops and has found a ready demand for his services.

Since his success in the Local Business Accelerators earlier this year, things have been moving fast for World Beats Music.

It was recently awarded a Government start-up loan of £6,000 and the company has moved to new offices in Appleford, near Abingdon.

The new premises includes a hi-tech teaching studio that allows for an evening and weekend music school to operate, boosting the client base.

Mr Ashton is in the process of hiring two new teachers in time for the new academic year in September to cover the growing number of schools that are coming on board, including three in the past six weeks.

One is Woodeaton Manor school for youngsters with social and emotional difficulties and Mr Ashton has found the experience of teaching there particularly rewarding.

He said: “It is less about achieving technical ability and more about how learning an instrument can improve your quality of life.”

Mr Ashton is also offering youngsters work experience, developing the company website to help accommodate the growth of the business and is working with his old employers at the County Music Service to help plan the future academic provision of music teaching.

After being voted a winner of the competition, Mr Ashton won three months’ worth of free advertising in Newsquest publications including the Oxford Mail, along with a year’s support from mentor Bob Urwin.

The advertising has proved successful at bringing in new clients and highlighting the new premises.

And Mr Ashton has had regular meetings with Mr Urwin, who runs the Martin & Co lettings agency in Oxford, which have also proved highly beneficial.

“Bob has given me some invaluable support, particularly when I was moving into the new offices,” he said.

Such has been the rapid expansion of World Beats Music, Mr Ashton has had to spend more time running the business and less time teaching but he is enjoying the whole experience.

He said: “I don’t think there will come a time when I am never teaching but I am really excited to see the business grow.”

After judging, the national shortlist will be announced in September, followed by the grand final event in October at which the national winners will be announced.

The overall LBA winner will receive a prize package including mentoring from Deborah Meaden, of Dragons’ Den fame, a free advertising campaign in their local newspaper and £10,000 cash.