THE Pioneer can reveal that an Ellesmere Port firm has powered its way on to the Merseyside and Cheshire shortlist for this year’s inaugural Local Business Accelerators initiative.

The nationwide campaign, which was launched in October by regional and local newspapers across the country and backed by David Cameron and Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, will see 1,500 firms receive £15m of free advertising to help boost their businesses in 2012.

Judges – including John Newton-Jones, chairman of Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, Phil Harris, executive dean of Faculty Business Enterprise, and Jack Stopforth, CEO of the Liverpool Chamber – reported that entries in Cheshire and Merseyside were of an extremely high standard, with enthusiastic local firms recognising the benefits local advertising can bring.

The competition received dozens of entries across the region.

They have been whittled down to just six, which will become a final three in January.

They will receive free advertising space and mentoring from the judges.

Among the six nominees is kitchen and furniture respraying company Matt Finish of Ellesmere Port.

The firm faces competition from Split the Difference VW Camper Hire Company in Mold, Green Electrician in Wardle, The Shrewsbury Arms in Little Budworth, Funky Floaters of Wirral, Wirral Mowers of Neston and High Street Spa in Hoole.

The selection process now begins, and the final three will be announced on January 11.

Deborah Meaden will also become a mentor to one of the hundreds of regional winners.