Saturday, 05 September 2015

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University expert joins judging panel

THE woman responsible for innovation and enterprise at the University of Cumbria will be a judge of The Cumberland News’s Local Business Accelerators (LBA) competition.

Dr Michele Lawty-Jones joins a panel of experts who will help advise and provide pivotal early boosts to fledgling enterprises.

She will represent the university, one of the competition’s sponsors, among the judges. Her day job is as enterprise and business relations manager for the Carlisle-based institution.

She is a chartered psychologist, who was previously head of skills and education for the North West Development Agency.

Dr Lawty-Jones said: “I am delighted that Business Accelerators is running for a second year and that I have the opportunity to meet innovative businesses in Cumbria again.

“I believe that this is an excellent scheme as it will support the development of the people behind the business ideas. It is the contribution of people that really makes a business productive and anything we can do to nurture their growth and development can only be a great thing for Cumbria and the economy.”

The LBA nationally offers £15m of free advertising and mentoring to promising enterprises.

The Cumberland News is backing the local drive, led by the Newspaper Society and fronted by Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden.

Businesses have until November 16 to enter and must be between one and five years old. Six local winners will each benefit from £10,000 of free advertising in the newspaper and its sister publications, the News & Star, Whitehaven News and Times & Star.

They will also get professional mentoring from established business experts on the judging panel. In east Cumbria, they will be made up of Katie Milbourn, director of the multi-award winning Walby Farm Park attraction near of Carlisle, which she and her husband Neil have built into a thriving enterprise. She is joined by Chris Reay, managing director of Wigton-based Reays Coaches, the family-run firm that has grown to become one of the north’s biggest travel firms and has taken on bus giants Stagecoach with its City Hopper service in Carlisle.

The line-up will be completed by Charles Watt, finance director with Penrith-based Cranstons Quality Butchers and a representative of accountancy firm Armstrong Watson, another of the campaign’s sponsors.

To enter, visit



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