Prime Minister David Cameron has praised the winners of the Business Accelerators competition which has run in newspapers across the country, including those published by Newsquest Oxfordshire.

And he highlighted the role of the local newspaper industry in supporting British business.

Mr Cameron said: “It’s brilliant that so many promising young companies, from such a wide range of sectors, are benefiting from this excellent initiative.

“Entrepreneurship, creativity and ambition are essential for our economic recovery and through Local Business Accelerators, newspapers such as the Oxford Mail are supporting some great new British businesses to grow and helping to boost their local economy.

“I wish the newspapers, businesses and their mentors every success over the coming months.”

Later in the year, one business will go on to be crowned the overall Local Business Accelerators winner and receive mentoring from the campaign’s national ambassador Deborah Meaden, of Dragons’ Den.

Local Business Accelerators has also received the support of Stephen Welton, Business Growth Fund chief executive, who said the initiative was providing a “powerful boost” to young businesses.

Mr Welton said: “I am delighted to lend my support to the Local Business Accelerators initiative which is offering a powerful boost to young businesses throughout the UK.

“Clearly economic conditions continue to be challenging, but we need businesses to be considering the opportunities and focusing on what they can influence. When growth is harder to achieve, history tells us the most successful companies are not those with defensive strategies.”

The Business Growth Fund has contributed to Local Business Accelerators by offering a series of free half-day workshop sessions at its regional centres to winning businesses.

Mr Welton added: “Our workshops will help business owners to think about how they can expand, how they can reach new audiences and new markets, how they can begin exporting and how they can raise the capital they might need to fund their ambitions.

“The question that the Business Growth Fund will be addressing in 2012 is how best can we find, encourage and support ambitious business owners.”