Category: Case Studies

AD:VENTURE has a new opportunity! Want to be part of the team?

Are you organised, enthusiastic and and enjoy being part of a fast paced but fun team?

Are you passionate about local economy, and have an interest in helping new and young businesses prosper?

We are currently seeking to strengthen our AD:VENTURE project delivery team by recruiting a Contract Support officer. This is a crucial role in the team, and will help us deliver a successful project, working closely with the Programme Manager and the delivery team.

This really is an excellent opportunity for a highly motivated individual with excellent organisational, administrative and financial management skills and experience. You will be supporting the team to manage grant applications and supporting the businesses and the team with the processes, compliance and payments.

You will have the opportunity to work with businesses on the front line, and learn about the local business landscape and economy,  allowing you to develop your own skills whilst enabling delivery of this regional wide support programme. We are looking for an individual who is a good team player but also has the confidence and ability to work on their own initiative – often working to tight deadlines.

Interested? Do you have a good level of knowledge and experience of publicly funded programmes or relevant private sector experience with a high level of competency in using Microsoft office applications and also CRMs (Customer Relationship Management) systems? Great, then we want to hear from you!!

The Ad Venture Enterprise Growth Programme is a 12m Business Support project which offers wrap around support to help new businesses to start up and young businesses to grow. The Programme aims to support 1,200 young businesses and create 2,400 new jobs across the Leeds City Region by 2019.

The project is a partnership between Leeds City Region local authorities,Chambers of Commerce, Universities, the Voluntary Sector and West Yorkshire Combined Authority and is partly funded by the European Union.

The post is offered on a fixed term basis for an initial period of up to 18 months – with the prospect of extension, (subject to funding). The post holder will be based in Leeds city centre.


For more information please contact Sarah Carling, Ad Venture Programme Manager –


Ready for a new adventure? Think Big and join our team!!

Do you love seeing businesses succeed? Have you experience in the field of business growth and looking for a new challenge?

3 Vacancies are now open in the AD:VENTURE business support programme, and we are looking for someone just like you.


We are recruiting a further 3 Business Advisers to join our team, to work across the Leeds City Region.  Areas to be covered are mainly across North Yorkshire, namely Selby, York and Harrogate in addition to central Leeds, working out of both our offices and those of our partners.

The advisor team is central to the delivery of support and guidance to pre-start and start-up businesses up to 36 months old with growth potential and opportunities to create jobs.

The post holder will have strong written and oral communication skills to aid effective communication with clients and be expected to work to a high level to meet the programmes audit standards.

You will need experience of business support and engagement, ideally in a role where you are working directly with the business providing a range of support.  Experience of working with growth start-up businesses would also be an advantage along with strong emphasis on support with business planning and financials, in addition to strategic planning.

Ad:Venture is a £12 million programme, partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which will support new and young business across the Leeds city region achieve their growth potential. The programme is delivered and supported by a wide partnership of organisations, including, local authorities, chambers of commerce, universities, and social enterprises. The programme offers a range of support including, grants, one to one advice and workshops, along with specialist support from our partners.

Contract type: Fixed term appointment till 2019 (Secondment from partner organisations would be welcomed. Please ensure that permission has been requested for secondments from your line manager prior to application)

Find the Job Description here.


A series of fully-funded music masterclasses are coming to Wakefield this February.

As a kick-starter to the Music Futures series of music industry masterclasses, people can now sign up to the introductory one taking place on Wednesday, 21st February.

This full day free masterclass will uncover how labels, publishing, and the live industry operates today in a digital world and give expert insights into how you can use data and technology to your advantage when setting up your own music business.

Speakers at the debut event include; Patrick Cloherty (Sentric Music), Steve Davis (SSD Concerts), Aaron Snowdon (Future Sound), Andy Smith (Kendal Calling), Kameil Sattar (Proper Music Distribution), Achal Dillon (Killing Moon), and Rob Nancollas (Motive Unknown).

Designed by talent development agency, Generator, and led by Wakefield Council as part of the ERDF funded AD:VENTURE programme, this industry relevant series will cover topics including VR/AR/XR, streaming, digitally-led marketing strategies and complex industry rights while also offering access to incredible coaching opportunities from music industry specialists including Tileyard and Production Park.

Jim Mawdsley, CEO at Newcastle-based Generator, said: “We are really excited to be producing this masterclass series in Wakefield and the wider Leeds City Region. Some of the plans underway for Wakefield and the growing music industry presence there are really forward thinking so this is a perfect opportunity for businesses in the area to increase the awareness and understanding of how the music industry operates both now and in the not too distant future.

“By bringing the elements of recent and future opportunities and developments in the technologies affecting the music industry alongside fundamentals and music related business needs to know, this series will really help push business forward in the region.”

Limited places are available for eligible SME businesses or individuals across the Leeds City Region, register your interest now by visiting or call 0845 524 0210 to find out more.

The event will be held on Wednesday 21st February 9.30 – 5.00pm at Wakefield One, Burton Street, WF1 2EB


Leeds based North Brewing Co raises the bar with grant funding success

Often referred to as “the first craft beer bar in Britain”, Leeds North Bar is credited with influencing a new wave of craft beer bars and breweries around the country, with many citing North Bar as one of the original driving forces behind the craft beer revolution in the UK.

North Bar quickly became renowned for its alternative approach, quirky style and excellent, friendly service – winning the prestigious ‘Best place to drink in Britain’ in the Observer Food Monthly Awards.

Over 20 years, owners John Gyngell & Christian Townsley have increased the North Bar group to a total of 7 venues and in 2015 they turned their 10-year dream of making their own beer into a reality by opening a 15bbl brewery in Leeds, North Brewing Co.

The opportunity for growth was there, with demand outstripping supply for their products. Christian says “Many say this is a great problem to have, but for us, delivering stock on time is crucial – We work hard to maintain our standards of service, and no one wants to let their customers down”

John Gyngell (L) and Christian Townsley (R)

Christian and John looked into what support was available to increase their investment potential, and found out about the AD:VENTURE programme, a European Regional Development Funded programme covering the Leeds City Region.

Christian says “I was delighted to announce we had been successful in our application for the grant of £21k. The application process was hard work but regular meetings with my advisor were invaluable and my experience of writing a thorough business plan as a part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme equipped me for what was described to me by the Senior Economic Development Officer as ‘the best he’d seen in a long time’!

I’m sure there are similar programmes for growth grants around the country. In addition to that, we’ve also been successful in our application for a grant of around £1200 towards acquiring ‘SALSA’, a food safety accreditation which will open up further opportunities to us whilst implementing further controls to ensure our QC


I couldn’t have done it without the support of my team, in particular my business partner, our FD and our Head Brewer. For anyone looking to grow their business and generate jobs it’s well worth investing time to research what funding is available”

Brewing capacity is now doubling in October 2017, adding several brewing vessels and enabling the brewery to meet current demand, with their beers are now widely available throughout the UK as well as being exported to eight European countries.

Driven by passion for great beer, this Brewery comes with an unparalleled wealth of experience, knowledge and existing industry relationships, both in the UK and abroad and their capacity for growth is as great as the worlds love for exceptional craft beer!

Leeds entrepreneur builds sustainable future for 3D printing

3D printing is a fast-growing disruptive technology. From humble beginnings as a novelty demonstration tool 3D printing has become a growing player in the manufacturing world, as the technology to utilise it becomes faster and more efficient than ever before.

Leeds Entrepreneur of the Year Ravi Toor is all too aware of this. Having graduated with a BA in Environment and Business and Leeds University he saw a need for change in the market, which relies on plastic ‘filaments’ to build models and products.

“There’s a clear environmental need for recycled filament” Ravi said.

90% of all plastics worldwide are derived from non-recyclable sources, so in response to this Ravi founded Filamentive.

Using recycled polymers, the business has quickly gained traction in producing environmentally friendly filaments for the industry.

“I want to transform the 3D printing industry” said Ravi.

“The technology is brilliant, but now it can be sustainable too.”

Ravi approached the AD:Venture business support programme to help him set up his business. AD:Venture Advisor Rebekah Smith supported Ravi with writing a business plan and cash flow forecast, as well as steering him to digital marketing advice for the start-up business.

AD:Venture partner the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) then followed, by delivering start-up funding to boost Filamentive’s stock capacity.

“The business support has been invaluable; not only are we growing, but we’re also improving the sustainability of 3D printing at the same time.” Said Ravi.

“Over the last year’s trading, while I was still finishing my degree, we achieved £50,000 revenue and we’re aiming for six figures in the next 12 months.”

Julie Micklethwaite, BEF Start Up Loans Manager, delivered the funding for Ravi.

“Filamentive is a fantastic example of how to find a gap in a very innovative market. The Start Up Loan we provided has been put to great use, and I’m delighted to see the business thrive.” She said.

Filamentive has since secured a trade deal with Amazon, opening the market to customers in the USA, including schools and manufacturing businesses such as NOA Brands – the world’s largest producer of mannequins.

Grant support puts mattress manufacturing venture on path to growth


A manufacturer of pressure relieving products used in the care industry and by the National Health Service is on course for £2 million turnover just eighteen months after the business, set up by entrepreneurs Neil Smith and John Kay started trading.

Herida Healthcare, based at Copley Hill trading estate, manufactures a range of specialised ‘dynamic’ and ‘static’ mattresses and cushions designed to relieve the pressure and friction which can cause pressure ulcers – bed sores – for patients who remain bed-bound for any length of time.

With grant support from the ERDF-funded AD:VENTURE programme, set up to support early stage businesses and help them grow, the company has invested in new manufacturing resource planning equipment, including bar coding and scanning items, which allows full traceability of materials and is a key requirement for suppliers to the NHS.

Specialised ‘bar tacking’ equipment, used to stitch handles onto the mattresses, has also been purchased and a state of the art decontamination unit for cleaning mattress and cushion covers and cells has been installed.

The grant funding, totalling £6,675, is part of a package of support the company has accessed through the LEP Growth Service, designed to help SMEs tap into the broad range of business advice and support programmes available in the Leeds City Region.

Herida Healthcare also received a £5,000 grant from the Digital Enterprise programme, together with support through the Manufacturing Growth Programme towards consultancy costs involved in achieving the ISO 14001 environmental management standard and the latest ISO 9001 (2015) standard.

Managing director Neil Smith said: “The support we’ve received has been fantastic and has really helped us move the business forward in a number of key areas. We expect to over exceed the turnover target and indeed profitability budgets that we originally set for this year and need to recruit new staff in a number of areas as a result.”

Two new production operatives are set to join the company following completion of the investment and up to seven new jobs, including roles in sales and business development, should be created over the next 12 months.

Herida Healthcare’s innovative product range has won the endorsement of clinicians and industry professionals and is already attracting a great deal of interest from overseas. The company recently shipped its first container to Melbourne and repeat orders could be worth up to £0.7 million per annum.

Operations director John Kay said: “We saw a great opportunity here and we are investing a lot of our own money, energy and time in developing what we think can be a really successful venture.

“But managing cashflow, at the same time as you’re investing in and growing the business is always a challenge, particularly when you are in the early stages. So, the grants and other support we’ve received has made a real difference.”

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, speaking on behalf of the AD:VENTURE programme said: “Supporting SMEs and new business ventures are the real lifeblood of the Leeds City Region economy – it’s where new jobs and new prosperity comes from so it’s vital that we support them. Relatively small amounts of financial support in the right place and the right time can make a huge difference and help accelerate the growth of businesses like Herida Healthcare.”

AD:VENTURE supports launch of innovative new tech business

Remind2Find launches online gift platform that keeps on giving!

The founders of Remind2Find have taken their pioneering shopping platform to the next level after teaming up with Futurelabs and the AD:VENTURE business support programme to take part in an innovative workshop programme designed to take new business ideas into reality.

Supporting early stage or first time tech entrepreneurs or teams with an idea or a product not yet ready for an accelerator or to raise funding, the funded programme was delivered free to businesses by Emma Cheshire, Co-Founder of Futurelabs, bringing a number of specialists to Unity Works in Wakefield to deliver specific content over a 4 week period in March and April 2017.

Launched in August, Remind2Find is a smart shopping platform that takes the guesswork out of buying for other people. After creating and sharing profiles with family and friends, users receive convenient reminders before an occasion along with inspiration on what to buy.  Profiles can be fully personalised to include favourite brands and retailers, links to wish lists or, for those who don’t want anything, alternatives such as going for a drink or charitable donations.

Steven Binnion, co-founder, says “91% of people shop in a rush at the last minute and only 23% have received a great gift in the last year, so there is significant room for improvement. As fast paced as the world is now, consumers really value services that actually save them time and stress!

After a period of slow progress setting up the business, I looked for a workspace that offered informal mentoring. Futurelabs became an obvious choice, having a genuine interest in real grassroots start-ups and an understanding of what they need.

Whilst working from the space at Futurelabs helped us to recover some momentum, the opportunity to receive structured mentoring and support through the FutureStart workshop programme tipped the balance. We quickly validated and spotted some gaps in work we had done. Most importantly, we left with a clear plan about what to do next and knowledge of people who could help us. Without this I fear we could still be refining our service rather than trialling it and getting customer feedback”

Steven, and his co-founder, Marc Mills are now working hard on the launch of the live platform and will continue working with the AD:VENTURE programme and the Futurelabs team as the business launches and begins its exciting growth journey with ambitions to take the platform to a worldwide audience.

Funded by the European Regional Development fund, AD:VENTURE enables businesses to grow through support such as expert mentoring, grants, professional workshops, finance brokerage, incubator office space and peer to peer learning.

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “We are delighted to see businesses already benefitting from the opportunities and connections a regional programme like AD:VENTURE can offer. The programme was developed to help businesses just like Remind2Find to get off to the best and most informed start, and this is a fantastic example of how this type of programme works to boost the growth of SMEs in our region”

You can find out more about Remind2Find at

To find out if AD:VENTURE can help your business, visit

For more about Futurelabs visit

Artisan Baking Stars Rise to Growth Challenge with Grant Funding

Award-winning Leeds based artisan bakery Tarte and Berry have shown commitment to the company’s continued growth by harnessing the support of a regional business programme and accessing a £15,000 grant towards costs of relocating to a new premise suited to their ambitious growth plans.

Named as one of Yorkshire Business Insider’s ’42 under 42’ rising stars of business, Tarte & Berry is owned and managed by sisters Jane and Lucy Batham and has seen a rapid rate of growth since it was founded in 2014, more than doubling turnover to £150,000.

Growth grant supports relocation for ambitious PR firm

kc comms

Up and coming marketing consultancy KC Communications have accessed the AD:VENTURE business support programme to get help towards a move to new premises by successfully securing a grant towards their refurbishment costs.

Formed in 2014 KC Communications, based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire has achieved significant growth since starting up, and were ready for the next step in their expansion plans.

Founder and director of KC Communications, Katrina Cliffe had started her career at 15 as a marketing apprentice and found she had a love for the industry. As she continued her career path after having children, she wanted greater flexibility, but remained ambitious.

“When I started out, I had spent 5 ½ years working for a tech organisation, working from home, they were based in Dublin and I travelled internationally. I had no local business contacts whatsoever, yet in my first month of establishing the business I had 4 clients on board”

Fast forward two and a half years and in a short time, Katrina had grown her team to 5, but faced a classic challenge for a thriving new business….they were rapidly outgrowing their space as they expanded, and needed solutions to give them room to grow.

Wakefield business commits to quality through skills funding

Businesses in Wakefield and across the Leeds City Region are benefitting from over £2 million worth of training grants thanks to the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The funding has supported the training of over 600 businesses, enabling them to invest in the development of their workforce.