New advertising initative launches to help grow SMEs across West Midlands

AAccelerate for Growth needs you!

July 25, 2018: The Advertising Association, the UK industry body for advertising, has launched a new initiative – AAccelerate for Growth - where ten SMEs in the West Midlands can gain access to a unique high value multi-platform advertising campaign, at an exceptional discounted cost, to drive company growth and complete with an independent evaluation of the business impact. Entry to the competition is open until 31st August, 2018 and businesses wishing to apply should visit:

The initiative is part of the Advertising Association’s AAccelerate for Growth pilot programme and the West Midlands is the proving ground for what the organisation aims to be a national programme to enable SMEs to advertise more.

Applicants to AAccelerate for Growth should broadly meet the following criteria:

  • £5-£50 million turnover

  • More than 10 employees

  • Over three years old

  • In profit or well-funded

  • Has ambitious plans for growth

A two-day pitch event of the short-listed entries will take place on Monday 1st October and Tuesday 2nd October at a central Birmingham location. Entries will be judged by experts from the UK advertising industry including Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association and Siobhan Kenny, Chief Executive of the Radiocentre. The competition is backed by many of the region’s biggest media players including ITV, Royal Mail, Global, Pearl & Dean, Channel 4, 8 Outdoor, Facebook, Mediacom, McCann Central and Gough Bailey Wright.

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association said:

“The West Midlands’ vibrant and creative economy is notable for the strength of its SME community, which is why we have launched our AAccelerate for Growth competition here. Ambitious SMEs seeking to expand should apply to make the most of the exceptional value that this scheme offers to experience the growth and profit benefits the best advertising can bring.”

Siobhan Kenny, CEO, Radiocentre commented:

“SMEs are the beating heart of the West Midlands economy which has a history of growing innovative businesses that think big. At the height of the Industrial Revolution, Birmingham was known as the City of a Thousand Trades and that entrepreneurial spirit has seen a resurgence in recent years. An effective advertising campaign has the power to boost a business like no other and we are confident every business winning a place in our AAccelerate for Growth initiative will experience a real, significant uplift in performance.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said:

"As former Managing Director of John Lewis I understand the importance of good advertising in building a global brand. I'm really pleased that the Advertising Association has chosen the West Midlands for this important initiative and look forward to seeing the benefits it brings SMEs in the region."

Research by UK advertising’s thinktank, Credos, has found the majority of UK SMEs limit their advertising to a single channel, inhibiting potential growth. Multi-channel advertising, i.e. a combination of more than one from across online, print, broadcast, direct and out-of-home, has been proven to better amplify a message - generating greater demand, raising higher awareness and aiding business growth.

AAccelerate for Growth will select 10 SMEs from across the West Midlands region. The SMEs will receive tailored advertising campaigns using a variety of different channels and media for a specific period of time, giving them access to leading advertising expertise. Successful businesses must be willing to allocate a budget to the campaign and this budget will then be matched. The results will be evaluated at the end of the campaign period and the SMEs participating will receive their own unique campaign evaluation. There will also be greater access for SMEs to professional advice and best-practice planning to ensure the results of the campaign continue.

Woodford added:

“We want to encourage faster growth among West Midlands SMEs through advertising, but also to bust the myths why SME owners might think advertising might not be for them. Advertising is accessible, effective and can boost a business’s bottom line like nothing else. Any SME fitting the criteria could be in with a chance to work with some of the brightest and the best advertising talent in the West Midlands.”

SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy and – as the Advertising Association rises to the challenge of the Government’s Industrial Strategy to boost growth across the UK – the West Midlands is the first of a competition format that it plans to take nationally. Research from advertising’s think tank Credos, in partnership with Deloitte, shows that every £1 spent on advertising contributes £6 to UK GDP and, for individual firms, £1 spent on advertising benefits an SME eight times as much as a larger one.


For further information, please contact:

Matt Bourn, Director of Communications

Matthew Evans, Communications Manager

Ellie Mason, Communications Executive

Tel: 020 7340 1100

About the Advertising Association The Advertising Association promotes the role, rights and responsibilities of advertising and its impact on individuals, the economy and society. Responsible businesses understand that there is little point in an advertisement that people cannot trust. That's why, over 50 years ago, the Advertising Association led UK advertising towards a system of independent self-regulation which has since been adopted around the world. There are nearly thirty UK trade associations representing advertising, media and marketing. Through the Advertising Association they come together with a single-voice when speaking to policy-makers and influencers.

About AAccelerate for Growth

AAccelerate is an industry-wide programme to encourage SMEs to advertise more in a multi-channel way. Originally crafted as a response to the government’s recently published Industrial Strategy, it seeks to increase business growth, productivity, potential to export and overall success. Currently in pilot phase, the project will take a number of SMEs in Scotland and the West Midlands, and help them to create multi-channel advertising campaigns for a short period of time with a view to scaling nationally. The pilot intends to prove research already undertaken by the Advertising Association in its Ad Pays 2 survey which shows that for every £1 spent on advertising there is a £6 uplift in GDP to the UK economy, and this impact is even greater for an SME (as much as eight times).

For more information on the programme please contact

#aaccelerate #smes #westmidlands

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