Month: September 2017

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

herida

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 www.Remind2Find.com

To find out if AD:VENTURE can help your business, visit www.adventure.org.uk

For more about Futurelabs visit www.futurelabs.co.uk