Month: May 2018

AD:VENTURE’S APPOINTMENT TO BOOST DIGITAL HEALTH INNOVATIONS

AD:VENTURE has added further strength to its growing Yorkshire-based team with the announcement of a new Digital Health Enterprise Advisor, who aims to boost the support offered to high tech start-ups operating in the digital health sector.

Helping high-growth small businesses in realising their big dreams, Rav Panesar will be responsible for mentoring Digital Health and Medical Technology start-ups, offering them tailored one-to-one advice, guidance and support.

Not only will Rav help high-growth new and young businesses to access masterclasses around business growth, he will also support with funding and connecting his clients with specialist industry experts, including NHS Digital and research institutes.

Rav will be based in Bradford with Bradford Council’s Business, Investment and Enterprise team but will work across the whole Leeds City Region.

 

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This appointment is a great move for Bradford and our AD:VENTURE partners across the wider city region.

“The district has well established strategic strengths in medical and digital innovation with a strong track record in supporting and developing high tech companies. Having a specialist advisor on hand to support businesses in this high growth sector is excellent for the district and will support the wider economic strategy of the Council, adding even greater value to Bradford’s already excellent offer to its businesses. Following on from the very successful Northern Max programme we welcome the opportunity to nurture more businesses in digital and health technology, continuing to create a culture of enterprise and innovation for Bradford.”

Rav comments: “I really enjoy helping entrepreneurs realise their ambitions whilst reinforcing the importance of utilising technology as a vehicle to innovate within the digital health sector.  Supporting small businesses that have big ambitions has always been a passion of mine and this role provides me with the ideal opportunity to do so.”

Prior to his new role with Ad:Venture, Rav worked with young people and businesses, teaching them about the jobs of the future and pathways to securing the best career. He has also assisted several organisations to grow and develop through his experience of working on various European Funded business support programmes.

“I spend a portion of my time at the Digital Health Enterprise Zone, which is a collaborative space for academics, health professionals and businesses to get together. Here we innovate and test concepts or prototypes. It’s all very exciting.”

For further details about AD:Venture – the dynamic regional partnership which offers genuine, hands on support to new and growing businesses who have been trading for less than 36 months – please visit www.ad-venture.org.uk , follow @Adventure_LCR on Twitter – or contact Rav directly at ravinder.panesar@bradford.gov.uk 

AD:VENTURE funding supports urban farming start-up

Growing Better, the social enterprise that provides urban farming for better mental health, has secured up to £10,000 thanks to the AD:VENTURE ERDF programme, which supports businesses to achieve their full growth potential.

The social enterprise launched in 2016 after recognising the role that urban farming can play in supporting individuals with mental health challenges. Initially relying on polytunnels to grow baby leaf salads leaves and herbs, founder of the business, Rob Moores, quickly realised that the model was unsustainable as winter weather would not provide a commercially sustainable year-round supply to local restaurants and food outlets.

Recognising that an indoor hydroponic vertical farm would provide the year-round production facilities needed, while also allowing for the temperature and conditions to be better controlled, Rob set up a crowd-funding page, securing enough investment to put the theory into practice.

He comments: “The first couple of years were a roller coaster. We’re passionate about better mental health and our research had confirmed the role that growing produce can play in achieving that. Our challenge was growing at a commercially sustainable level all year round in polytunnels – and that made the business very seasonal – which in turn limited the support we could offer people.

“Having thought long and hard we turned to crowd-funding to raise the funds needed to invest in the hydroponic vertical farm but this left us with limited cash-flow. It was effectively one huge step forward but then we were back where we started.”

Rob and his team turned to the practical support, master classes and business sessions that are offered through the AD:VENTURE programme, which in turn provided the advice, guidance and support the company required to put in place a plan that would focus on future growth.

Rob adds: “Accessing practical support from AD:VENTURE allowed us to build up our business plan and in turn to consider other options. We realised that we had the potential, with funding support, to commit to appointing three new members to the team over 2018. This in turn would allow us to support more people and to grow the business using the contributions made by AD:VENTURE as cash flow.

“Knowing that we have a business model in place that we could scale up was great. As well as working with an increasing number of people that have mental health illnesses, we have also started to supply several restaurants, which in turn gives us the funds to put back into the business.

“It’s absolutely fair to say that we wouldn’t be in the position we are today if it had not been for the practical and funding support offered by AD:VENTURE. We would encourage any eligible enterprise to do the same.”

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for employment, enterprise and opportunity comments: “Growing Better is a great example of a social enterprise that has embraced all that AD:VENTURE has to offer. Accessing the practical support and funding programme we have in place has allowed the business to move forward and that is what we are all about.”

Since the funding was granted, the company has already taken on a new full-time member of staff, expanded its offering to provide growing kits for consumers and has also extended its engagement to work with schools to explain the benefits to home-grown produce without the use of pesticides or chemicals.

A recent public consultation was also held to share future plans to launch a Community Farm at West Leeds Activity Centre in Armley.

For further details about Growing Better please visit the Growing Better website.  For information about the support, advice and funding that is available from AD:VENTURE, please visit our Finance and Funding page.

 

3,2,1… LIFT OFF FOR START UPS

Experienced professionals looking to LIFT OFF a new enterprise or propel their start-up business to the next level are being offered a helping hand with a series of free Wakefield based workshops.

A tried and tested programme, ‘Lift Off’ has been designed by Leeds University Business School to take participants through the important aspects of starting a small business. It is led by Wakefield Council as part of the ERDF funded AD:VENTURE programme, which provides dedicated support to eligible young and new businesses who have strong growth ambitions.

Over five sessions, the team at Leeds University Business School will share their wealth of knowledge and experience, exploring business goals and opportunities whilst assisting clients on their journey from being a small business to becoming a professional leader.

Aimee Hargreaves, who is an Accounts Manager at Ultra Accountancy, took part in a previous ‘Lift Off’ programme. She comments: “Lift Off did just that –  it helped us take Ultra to the next level. It gave us the confidence to build the brand and I got chance to meet like-minded individuals. The contacts that you make during the programme are completely priceless.

“I’d certainly tell others to accept any help which you are offered as people are always willing to mentor and champion you and your ideas. The advice you receive on the programme is brilliant, especially in the early days when you’re just starting out.”

Clare Elliott, Service Director for Economic Growth and Skills at Wakefield Council, adds: “‘Lift Off is a fantastic opportunity for local start-up businesses to come together and drive growth within their own companies and across the Wakefield District.

“This series of practical and interactive sessions will enable businesses to set a clear path for moving forwards whilst establishing wide networks of like-minded professionals and entrepreneurs. The popularity and impact of the programme has meant that this is the third time it will be running and should be grabbed with both hands by any business with ambitions to expand.”

Encouraged to participate in the workshops are people who have plans to start-up – or already run – a professional service business which has been trading for less than three years with ambitions to grow, having the ultimate aim of eventually creating jobs for others.

Workshops will take place every Wednesday evening from 4pm-7pm starting on the 23rd May and then on the 6thJune, 13th June, 20th June and 27th June at The Art House, WF1 2TE.

To register, click here.

 

RICKSHAW REVIVAL GETS BUSINESS TUK-TUKS MOVING

A Wakefield based entrepreneur that recognised the new business potential of importing and refurbishing Tuk-Tuks has helped more than 15 micro businesses since its launch just twelve months ago.

Thanks to AD:VENTURE, which provides businesses with the practical help, support and opportunity to reach their potential within the three years of trading, Ajay Sharma kick-started Rickshaw Revival.

To date 30 Tuk-Tuks have been imported from India, converted and sold. Innovative and often quirky, they are now being used for mobile marketing and as a cost-effective platform for food, drink or retail businesses.

Ajay Sharma, Managing Director at Rickshaw Revival, comments: “No matter how exciting your product is or how innovative the opportunity you sometimes need a helping hand. AD:VENTURE instilled confidence and motivated me to pursue my new business opportunity, this got me started and I have never looked back!”

business mentoring

“Through practical support AD:VENTURE helped me to better understand and meet with the regulations I needed to get my business idea moving and to develop my supply chain. This got my Tuk-Tuks noticed in the right circles and showcased their potential to brands and entrepreneurs.”

“From the highlands of Scotland to the south coast, our conversions are distributed nationally; they deliver goods, sell Prosecco, Peroni, coffee and a whole host of products at events and venues throughout the UK. We are recognised for customer service, quality and cost competitiveness and for helping to kick-start businesses in a cost effective, competitive way. We’re now looking forward to attending catering exhibitions and also to realising our ambition of establishing UK wide franchises.”

Supported by a dedicated advisor from AD:VENTURE, Ajay received practical help and support.

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration at Wakefield Council, said: “Small and medium sized businesses play an important role in helping the local economy. They also support our aspiration for greater growth and prosperity for our district.”

In the first year a mixture of 30 conversions and traded Tuk-Tuks were marketed. Today one full time member of the team is employed and the business looks set to double its commissions throughout 2018 and again in 2019.

Turnover is substantial with one local engineering firm benefitting from a constant supply of business, and another one developing.

Recognising that start-ups and smaller enterprises need guidance, AD:VENTURE provides practical support through a network of dedicated Advisors.

As well as providing guidance, AD:VENTURE Business Advisors can also provide access to dedicated funded support, a schedule of master classes, workshops and events that focus on a range of essential areas such as marketing, branding, market research and financial forecasting that applicants may want to attend in order to strengthen their applications.

For further details please visit, AD:VENTURE, follow @Adventure_LCR or call 0845 5240210.