Profile opportunities for new businesses

Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

There is no doubt that it is tough doing business during these challenging economic times. However for an increasing number of people it is the right time to make a life change and start their own business. Statistically it is proven that new business who seek and take independent advice are more likely to be successful including joining your local Chamber or entering into competitions like the Local Business Accelerator (LBA).

Norfolk Chamber has put together a package aimed at start up businesses. In addition to free legal and HR helplines and legal insurance worth over £670,000 and free banking, a start up can use the face to face networking events and as important these days the use of the Chamber’s online ‘PR machine’ through our community website and social media activity. Since April over 30 start up businesses have joined the Chamber with six signed up so far this month and more in the pipeline.

Publicity is key to any start up business and there currently is a great opportunity for Norfolk new businesses up to 5 years old to enter the Local Business Accelerators (LBA) competition supported by Archant as one of 500 local papers who have joined forces with Dragon’s Den’s Deborah Meaden. The winner has the chance to win a free ad campaign in their local paper plus mentoring support from local business leaders and free Norfolk Chamber of Commerce membership for a year. If the winner is already a Chamber member we will give them their next year’s membership f.o.c.

The most promising businesses will go forward to the national stage of the competition to win a year’s mentoring from Deborah Meaden and a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative ad agency. Last year’s national winner was Ilkly Brewery in Yorkshire who have seen their order double as a result of mentoring support from Deborah Meaden and free LBA ad campaign in its local paper.Last year’s regional winner was Norwich-based Indigo Swan who received mentoring support as well as attending the prestigious final event in London.

Business can enter online by logging on to and filling in the application form. The closing date for entries is Friday, November 16. More details If you are a business under 5 years old you have nothing to lose and a great deal to gain by entering the competition.

Whatever size business you are please check out our events programme. Our B2B Business Exhibition next week 18 October has a range of key speakers and workshops as well as over 60 exhibitor stands and is free to attend If you are based in Great Yarmouth our 'Pitchng for Business' event delivered with enterpriseGY on 14 November and also free to attend gives you the opportunity to attend a choice of six workshops and network over lunch with some of Norfolk's top buyers.

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