Clock ticking for ambitious Capital firms

Sir Tom Farmer
Sir Tom Farmer
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The brightest and the best of the Capital’s young businesses have until Monday to enter the Evening News-backed Dragons’ Den-style contest to win mentoring and free advertising.

Sir Tom Farmer will be amongst the judges for the competition, which is organised in tandem with the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and gives the winner a chance of getting advice from “dragon” Deborah Meaden.

Sir Tom will be joined on the panel by former Prince’s Trust director Geraldine Gammell, Evening News editor Tom Little and former Scottish Businesswoman of the Year Liz McAreavey.

Around 2000 entries have already flooded into the £15 million national Local Business Accelerators campaign, which is behind the competition. Prime Minister David Cameron has also given his backing.

Winners from the Capital will receive a package of mentoring from the Chamber of Commerce’s team of advisors, along with free advertising in the Evening News.

They will also have the chance to compete with others from around the country for the chance to win mentoring from Ms Meaden.

She said: “I’ve got a simple message for businesses in Edinburgh – don’t miss this great opportunity. Free advertising in the Evening News and invaluable mentoring advice to kickstart your business is not to be thrown away.

“If you’re a business that’s between one and three years old, with a great idea that wants to succeed, enter to be in with a chance of building a better future.”

After entries close on Monday, a shortlist will be drawn up of businesses to make their pitch in person to Sir Tom and the rest of the panel.

Ms McAreavey, who is director of operations at the Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a terrific opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses that believe they have real potential to develop.

“Growing businesses will be the engines that drive our economic recovery, and the Evening News is playing its part by recognising this and working in partnership with the business community.

“Getting access to external help, support and guidance can really make a difference to developing a business. Growing companies can find managing their growth a real challenge, and this campaign can help them in that process.”

Evening News editor Mr Little also encouraged businesses to complete their applications.

He said: “It is the success of new businesses that will help get our local and national economies back on a stronger footing.

“This is a unique opportunity for such businesses to tap into some of the best entrepreneurial brains in the city and I would urge them all to take advantage of that.

“The Evening News is proud to be helping in this way.”

To apply or find out more, visit