The shortlist for businesses who entered The Press Local Business Accelerators campaign will be announced tomorrow. Meet more of the entrants.

Present Issue

CLAIRE Wooldridge set up her online retail business after she started sending magazines to friends as gifts.

With a relative in hospital many miles away, she wanted to send something different to the usual flowers and cards. She then sent them to friends for various occasions, such as moving house and starting maternity leave.

Claire saw the opportunity and her Harrogate business now sends out beautifully packaged magazines for publishers including IPC Media, Bauer Publishing, BBC Magazines, Redan Publishing, as well as a number of independents.

Claire hopes to develop Present Issue into a household name, eventually diversifying into sending other gift ideas.

She said: “I would love to have a mentor who can channel my creativity into a great marketing strategy for the business and increase awareness of the concept and the brand. Free advertising would be a fantastic way to let people know about my idea within the local area.”

Minster Cookies

KEN Shaw and his wife, who is gluten-intolerant, have witnessed the expansion of gluten-free ranges in supermarkets. But, frustratingly, she could still not enjoy a cookie with a cup of tea while out and about.

They searched high and low to find the best gluten-free cookies in the country and once they found them, they saw the opportunity to fill a gap in the market. The couple made an agreement with the North Yorkshire producers to sell the cookies, rebranded Minster Cookies, into hotels and cafés. They have also had interest from supermarkets in the product.

Ken said there were few others in the market, and legislation tightening what can be considered “gluten-free” and “low gluten” will shake up the market even more. With a growing market in front of them, the couple hope to expand the range of products they offer, extend their reach nationwide and maybe even set up their outlets.

He said: “We know from our own experience how much our business will help so many people in their everyday life as it is created out of our own needs.”

Little Green Rascals

ENVIRONMENTALLY friendly nursery, Little Green Rascals, is hoping to win the support package to help it franchise its idea.

The nursery, run by Vanessa Warn, is based on hard work, sound ethics and a respect for children and their families, staff, the environment and local businesses, she said. It uses all organic food and natural cleaning products.

“There is a need to go back to basics with childcare,” she said, and refocus on time and love and plenty of outdoor space.

Law Wizard

SOLICITOR Tom Hiskey saw the opportunity to put legal services online in 2009, when he left his job.

With friend and business partner Rob Blake, he set about providing a simplified solution for clients needing a step-by-step guide to the probate process, for which they didn’t really need to pay a fortune to a lawyer.

Tom now hopes mentoring and free advertising can help him turn his vision, passion and product into a successful business.


BELLEZZA Academy won Best Business and Community Link at The Press Business Awards 2011, after taking home The Press Business Of The Year award in 2010 and Women in Enterprise in 2010 as well.

The Bridlington-based social enterprise, run by Angela Langton, which provides vocational training for disadvantaged people, now hopes to add Local Business Accelerators to the list. Angela said: “Free marketing and advice can only strengthen what we are trying to do.”

THREE winning businesses will get free advertising in The Press and mentoring from local business people Dr Paul Gibson of PureNet, Stephen Kennedy, of CPP and Katie Stewart, of City of York Council.

Up to ten shortlisted businesses will battle it out to win one of the three packages of support at a pitching competition on January 5.