Three companies that successfully won thousands of pounds of advertising with BPM Media titles have been put through to a regional final and a step closer to the top prize of a year’s mentoring from Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden.
Recruitment firm Alexander Daniels, baby product company Mama Designs and employment lawyers Schofield & Associates will all compete to be best in the West Midlands and then an overall winner will be chosen from the a winner from each of the 12 regional winners.
The nationwide Newspaper Society campaign was launched in October by regional and local newspapers across the country and backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and Ms Meaden and has seen 1,500 firms receive £15 million of free advertising to help boost their businesses in 2012.
In Birmingham a panel made up of Birmingham Post editor Alun Thorne, CBI regional director West Midlands and Oxfordshire Richard Butler, Dr Steve Walker from Aston Reinvestment Trust, assistant principal of external funding at Bournville College Jenny Stokes and Tracy Colley, advertising director for the Birmingham Post and Mail.
In total more than 100 companies entered the Local Business Accelerators initiative with a view to winning up to £11,000 of advertising in the newspaper of their choice – either the Birmingham Post, the Birmingham Mail or the Solihull News – as well as support from local business mentors.
These were then whittled down to 10 for each title with the chosen companies all pitching to the panel as to why they believe the support of the advertising and mentoring would benefit their company.
Three successful companies were then chosen for each of the titles and they have since embarked on advertising campaigns and an overall winner from each title was also chosen by the judges to put through to the regional final.
The winner representing the Birmingham Post was Alexander Daniels, a Baskerville House-based recruitment firm that has grown from employing three people to 14 in little more than a year and is looking to expand to the south west later this year. Representing the Post’s sister newspaper the Birmingham Mail is Mama Designs, a baby product design company started by Keira O’Mara which has seen its first product – a breastfeeding scarf called the Mamascarf – taken on by some of the UK’s biggest retailers while representing the Solihull News will be Schofield & Associates, a new legal firm that specialises in employment law.
One of these three companies will be put forward to the national final to be judged by a panel made up of senior media and business figures with an overall winner set to be announced in June.
Post editor Alun Thorne said: “The quality of all the entries was extremely high so just finding the three winners for each title was quite a challenge but we believe the three companies that we have put forward to the regional final represent all the qualities we were looking for in a business including a sound financial footing, an entrepreneurial spirit and the potential for significant growth.”