Now for the dragons!

SIX super enterprises have been selected to face our business dragons for a chance to win a package of free advertising and mentoring.

Our dragon judges were delighted with the quality of entries to the Local Business Accelerators (LBA) campaign which aims to help firms reach the next level of their development.

LBA was devised by the Newspaper Society as a way for the local press to get behind the growth agenda. About 500 newspapers across the country are involved in the competition designed to give a £15m shot in the arm to 1,500 businesses.

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Judge Annette White, the marketing and sales director of PC Help Centre, in High Street South, Dunstable, has seen her business benefit from good mentoring in the past and is keen to pass on some of her knowledge to the winners.

She said: “It is nice to see a range of sectors and and some very, very new concepts. I am looking forward to the next stages.

“It is great to see start ups in this current economic climate, with people looking to set up in business.”

Consultant Richard Cooper, director at ASA Business Development and Quality Management Systems, said there was a ‘huge demand’ for mentoring among businesses.

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He said: “As well as the start-ups the entrants included established businesses that need some guidance and mentoring.

“There is a huge demand for mentoring and guidance for SMEs.”

He said he was looking forward to the Dragons Den-style next stage of the competition. He said: “It should be challenging. This is going to be a great opportunity for someone to go to the next stage.”

Business Monthly was represented on the judging panel by business editor, David Tooley and Luton and Dunstable field sales manager Emma Caswell.

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Emma said: “I am looking forward to working with the three eventual winners and helping them use the power of great advertising in leading local brands of newspapers and websites to help them grow their businesses.”

The six companies shortlisted were:

l Clearhead, a media and creative services company based at The Hat Factory, in Bute Street, Luton.

l Well Cool Clothing, a retail, hire and repair business based in Dagnall, near Dunstable.

l TSL Enterprises Ltd, an online retailer of a maths educational boardgame based in Woburn Road, Hockliffe, near Dunstable.

l Carnoisseur, a car leasing business based in Dunstable.

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l, a media and creative services business based in Grampian Way, Luton.

l SCIRE Training and Development, a professional business services firm based in Holtsmere Close, Luton.

The lucky local firms will now be invited to an interview on Thursday, December 15 and make a Dragons Den-style presentation before three winners are selected by the judging panel.

The three eventual winners will be announced in Business Monthly on January 11.

The judges rejected a number of entries but we regret that we cannot enter into correspondence. The panel’s decision is final.