Islington entrepreneur lends support to Gazette’s business initiative

One of Islington’s most successful entrepreneurs has hailed the Gazette’s ”amazing” promotion for new businesses.

Simon Prockter, who set up Speeddater, Europe’s largest dating events company with more than half a million users, was impressed by the scale of what was on offer for local emerging businesses.

The Gazette and its parent company Archant have pledged an unprecedented free advertising deal to the most dynamic fledgling enterprises in the area.

Mr Prockter, whose new venture is helping to re-define the concept of takeaway food, said: “It’s a really great, what‘s on offer is excellent. Media is very important to small business, so to offer this level of free advertising is fantastic.

“Plus, to get the businesses to enter what is almost a pitching competition is good experience and will help them move to the next level.”

The initiative, which is also backed by Dragons’ Den judge Deborah Meaden and prime minister David Cameron, is called Local Business Accelerators (LBA) and is being spearheaded by the Newspaper Society.

Mr Prockter added: “It’s unusual for a local paper to be able to do something on this scale, so this is amazing. And to have Deborah Meaden as a possible mentor is such a good opportunity.”

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We are joining forces to promote the strength and value of local newspapers for local businesses and communities.

We’re looking for the most promising young businesses and will help them accelerate their success with top professional advice from local business mentors plus a substantial allocation of free advertising space.

And one lucky business will be picked from hundreds of regional winners to receive individual mentoring sessions from the LBA national ambassador Deborah Meaden, who will become a consultant and mentor to the business for one year.

Our Local Business Accelerators search is open to all new businesses active in the local community, as long as they are between one and three years old and can demonstrate potential.

They may have a great idea or product, or even found a new market.

They’re the kind of businesses that will create new jobs and individually they will help create pride in the community.

If you run such a business, or know anyone who does, and want the chance to receive invaluable business support and advertising space in the Gazette, visit for more information on the scheme and how to enter. Entries close on November 14.

Members of the local business community and a Gazette representative will form the judging panel to award three lucky local businesses with the prize of free advertising and business advice.

The judges will also be looking for one star business to put forward for the chance to have Deborah Meaden as a mentor.