Grillers in their midst

WE gave them a right royal grilling but the businesses chosen to receive a massive advertising and mentoring package in 2012 stood up to the challenge, writes business editor, David Tooley.

Five Luton and Dunstable firms were given a Dragons Den-style going over in the Catherine Room of Dunstable’s renowned Old Palace Lodge Hotel and Henry’s Restaurant on the Friday before Christmas.

The companies chosen to receive a bespoke advertising campaign and free help from the mentors were Gavin O’Brien and Alex Lawrence, of Clearhead Media, based in Bute Street, Luton, and Mike Wright of

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Mentor Richard Cooper, director of ASA Business Development & Quality Management Systems, in Dunstable, said: “There were a very impressive range of applicants from across different sectors, some in need of initial direction.”

He added: “Over the coming years, I am sure we will see one or two become real success stories.”

Annette White, the sales and marketing director of PC Help Centre in High Street South, Dunstable, was also one of the judges.

She was impressed by the ‘creative and innovative pitches’ of the applicants.’

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She added; “I am looking forward to working with them in the near future and helping them to grow.”

The venue for the dragons’ meeting was Old Palace Lodge Hotel and Henry’s Restaurant. Venue general manager Victoria Taylor said: “The Old Palace Lodge is used to hosting business meetings and entrepreneurs on their overnight stays. I was delighted to make one of our suites available for this important event.”

All three of the judges were unanimous in the final choice of the winning companies.

The Local Business Accelerators competition has been backed by 500 newspapers up and down the country, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron.

As well as highlighting some superb businesses, it is hoped the boost will take one-to-three year-old companies to the next level.