Month: March 2019

Yorkshire Business Masters Awards – winners announced

The Yorkshire Business Masters Awards hosted by the Business Desk, have announced this years winners!

We are delighted to see one of our AD:VENTURE clients scoop the Small Business Award, and to see Roger Marsh OBE receive the prestigious Ambassador award. Well deserved in our opinion!

Marsh, who is chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11, was chosen as this year’s Ambassador by an independent judging panel who felt his achievements during the last 12 months had boosted Yorkshire’s profile and helped to attract well-known firms and brands to the regional economy.

The award recognised Marsh’s outstanding contribution to the region and marked the instrumental part he has played in helping the region thrive.

Marsh said he felt humbled and proud but added that it was very much a team effort. “For me, all of what we do, the huge success we can see here tonight and the variety of businesses is key to our economic vitality.

“I am privileged to make the case for the city region and for the North – the North is the solution, not the problem.”

North Brewing Co, who we feature as a case study are celebrating winning the small business award – A fantastic achievement for a business that started up in 2015!

Kayley Worsley, Yorkshire editor at, said: “It has been a fantastic evening celebrating Yorkshire business successes over the past 12 months; there was a real energy and excitement around the room and that was brilliant.
“Myself and the judging panel were impressed by the commitment, innovation and drive all shortlisted firms and winners demonstrated right across the region – in a wide variety of sectors. They proved how they are focused on remaining resilient in today’s tough trading environment.
“Despite the current backdrop, the fact that many Yorkshire businesses are remaining optimistic and have a real drive to grow and succeed is a true testament to their strength. Thanks to everybody who joined us this evening and we wish everyone every success for the coming 12 months”
Read the full story and details of all the nominees and winners at The Business Desk

Giving 20 gifts to help bring people and businesses of Leeds together

A new campaign launched by AD:VENTURE client Gifted Media on the 30 March aims to bring the city’s businesses and residents together in a bid to boost relations and well-being. #Gift20Leeds is the idea is the brainchild of media expert Kristina Wilcock who wants at least 20 Leeds firms to pledge 20 of their resources to local projects by 2020.

The ’20’ gifts could be anything from donating sports kits or healthy meals to holding training and mentoring sessions for people. Ms Wilcock said: “I don’t want this to be tick box corporate responsibility but hopefully the start of something that is carried on and quality involvement rather than one day where everybody goes off and plants a flower bed.” Ms Wilcock officially launched and unveil the project tonight on Wednesday at an event at the Parkside Tavern Pub where businesses and organisations could sign up to the scheme. She is leading the way for pledges by offering 20 free media skills workshops to community groups this year with her own business, Gifted Media Relations Ltd, and has been in talks with Leeds City Council, Leeds Community Foundation and the NHS about their involvement as well. One of the main events is set to be a city wide event on July 25 which is the point at which #Gift20Leeds reaches half way. It is envisaged that on that day there will be a host of activities and workshops taking place across Leeds. Ms Wilcock came up with the idea after becoming more interested in well-being in the community and the work place following a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following a car crash years ago.

Kristina said: “In the last 18 months getting a mental health diagnosis has made me think differently about what I wanted to do in the world of work and what is important to me. What I have learned is that sharing skills and expertise can make a huge difference to other people. “The other thing is that Leeds is my home and I love living here, I have lived here longer than anywhere else but there is a disconnection between the city and the community. So if a business were to give a day of mentoring for 20 people it gives more of a connection and a legacy by passing that expertise on.” The launch of #Gift20Leeds was held at Parkside Tavern, Merrion Street and judging by media interaction from regional businesses was a great success!

We look forward to hearing more from Kristine and Gifted Media!


1, 2, 3 …. Grow

Leeds Beckett University, in partnership with European Funded programme Ad:Venture, ran a business growth workshop at their University Business Centre in Halifax earlier this week.

The day was aimed at young, tech businesses, with a real potential to grow. Prior to the organisation of the event the university asked a wide range of young organisations what support they needed to assist with growth. Using the results from that research, the university business support team went on to design a schedule to provide just that.

The full day workshop, exclusive to 10 tech businesses from across the Leeds City Region, offered 5 one hour slots with experts in the fields of marketing, funding, legal, user experience and business confidence.

Deb Hetherington commented: “Concentrating on the 5 key areas identified from our research allows us to provide the basis for the next stage of growth for these companies. Not only are they gaining expert knowledge transfer, but it’s completely bespoke to their business which is key for businesses at this stage”

Logan Smith, Co-Founder of mental health app Unmasked Mental Health, commented that the day was unique in its setup and provided more bespoke support in one day than several workshops across the year.

Holding events such as this in Calderdale, highlights the variety and geographical reach of exciting young businesses within the Leeds City Region. When UX specialist, and expert advisor, Kelly Moran from Covea Insurance was asked about the startup culture within Leeds City Region he commented;

It feels pretty special; it’s a great place to be with so many great business currently thriving. With a new business, it will always be a challenge to make it successful, but gaining insightful business knowledge from various areas will really help provide an important lift to anyone

There is a wealth of business support out there for young and growing businesses, and Leeds Beckett is clearly a good place to start. The day long workshop was delivered in partnership with Calderdale Council, Leeds Beckett University and AD:VENTURE, the ERDF funded programme that provides support for start-ups and young organisations across the Leeds City Region.

The event took part in Calderdale Enterprise Month, which saw a range of free events and support for businesses across the Calderdale district.

Experts included;

Asad Ali; Gunner Cooke

Dan Rahnavard; Fountain Legal

Toni Gifford; Halston Marketing

James Oshaughnessy; Black & Blue Agency

Karen Bharaj; Peopleist

Frances Day; In the Company of Leaders

Vivien Badaut; Driad

Jeremy Meadowcroft; Angel Groups

Dan Akers; Lightstart Apps

Kelly Moran; Covea Insurance

UK Accolade for Business Enterprise Fund from International Foundation

Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which provides finance and support for new and existing businesses in Yorkshire and the North East, has been given the UK top accolade for its economic and social impact from an international foundation.

Its work has been recognised for making an “enormous contribution to economic growth and the social and environmental vibrancy of the communities it serves,” and for its demonstrable performance towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Part of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, BEF supports SMEs and social enterprises and lent £8.8m to 399 clients in 2018, helping launch 179 new businesses, creating or safeguarding 985 UK jobs. This was delivered alongside 4,000 hours of tailored business support and brought £39m of economic benefit to the regional economy.

BEF’s focus on measuring, demonstrating and improving its impact, including showing how its performance contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, impressed the judges in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by the Citi Foundation. BEF was named the winner of the “Impact Award” at a national ceremony this week.

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by the Citi Foundation, are the annual celebration of Britain’s microentrepreneurs that have accessed “responsible” business finance – and the providers, like BEF, which work with them.

Responsible Finance providers are a crucial part of the UK’s financial sector and the leading financial institutions offering affordable finance to many small and micro enterprises, and social enterprises.

Stephen Waud, Chief Executive of BEF, said:

“I’m thrilled that BEF’s work supporting businesses and social enterprises in the North of England, particularly in disadvantaged areas within North and West Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East has been recognised.

“Measuring and reporting on our impact has been a key area of focus in the last 12 months and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) align naturally with our ethos as a responsible lender with a social purpose.

“We have set out clear and measurable targets for supporting and increasing our contribution to the UNSDGs and will report annually on progress. Reporting and demonstrating our impact has also enabled BEF to develop relationships and new funding streams, helping to enhance our credentials in the social investment arena. This prestigious accolade is a testament to the work of our team – we’re absolutely delighted.”

Responsible finance providers across the UK, including BEF, lent £85 million to over 5,000 businesses in 2018, and 84% of business customers supported by responsible finance providers were previously turned down by a bank.

Launched in 2005, (and in 2013 in the UK), the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards were established by the Citi Foundation to recognise best-in-class microentrepreneurs and celebrate the responsible finance sector and their contribution to national economies.

The Citi Foundation is committed to supporting and celebrating the responsible finance sector, as well as youth entrepreneurs through its Pathways to Progress initiative that is tackling youth unemployment globally.

“The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards are a celebration of the enterprises and local businesses which are the backbone of our communities. They also recognise the important role responsible finance providers play in supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem, which enables many microenterprises to grow and scale their businesses,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance and Community Development.

“This year’s Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda. Business Enterprise Fund makes an enormous contribution to economic growth and the social and environmental vibrancy of the communities it serves.”

BEF’s accolade is one of just 8 national awards, with recognition given to 4 businesses supported by responsible finance providers, and to 4 providers. One of the microenterprises receiving an award, Spark:York, is also a BEF client: this hub of affordable space for retailers and food businesses in York, created from upcycled shipping containers, was launched thanks to a £190k loan and business mentoring support from the Business Enterprise Fund. It has attracted 500,000 visitors in its first 10 months – and has a £1.8m turnover – and its founders Tom McKenzie and Sam Leach were named the UK’s “young entrepreneurs of the year” in the same awards.


Photo: L to R Awards compere, radio presenter Leanne Campbell, Stephen Waud (BEF), Lee Vickers (BEF), Simon Jackson (BEF), Nicolas Kendall (BEF), Amal Gomersall (Citi), Jennifer Tankard (Responsible Finance)


An exporting event in Wakefield will support SMEs across the region to explore opportunities to take their products and services to global markets.

EXPORTING MADE SIMPLE! organised by Wakefield First will be held on the 14 March at the stunning Waterton Park Hotel.

Building your confidence and connections, the event will feature an all star line up of industry experts including The Department of International Trade, FSB, the Chamber of Commerce, and exporting powerhouse OE Electrics, who currently export to over 65 Countries!

Ready to tap into new markets? Full details below, but please book to assure your place.


This event will highlight key challenges local SMEs face when developing export strategies as well as those at the very beginning of their exporting journey!

  • An opportunity to meet the experts highlighting exporting opportunities & demystifying common misconceptions & mistakes.
  • Where are your new markets?
  • What are your routes to well-known markets?

Hear first-hand from local & national experts including;

DIT…The Department for International Trade (DIT) helps businesses export & grow into global markets. They also help overseas companies locate & grow in the UK.

FSB…As experts in business, the FSB offer members a wide range of vital business services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government. Their mission is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions.

Wakefield Council Business Support Team…Strategic Business Growth; A Package of support for high-growth firms to develop and deliver strategic business plans. Includes one-to-one coaching, specialist workshops and peer-to-peer learning.

Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce…The My Export Hub provides expert advice to training and events, they help businesses across Yorkshire wishing to globalise their operations & capitalise on international opportunities. Providing the most competitively priced documentation service in the North.

OE electrics exporters to 65+ countries worldwide…OE Electrics are experts in designing & manufacturing power and data distribution solutions. That’s why their products can now be found in call centres, cafes, hotels, hospitals, airport lounges, sports centres, shopping centres, service-counters, home offices, AV studios & many more – all over the world!

This FREE event is a real opportunity for those new to, looking to start in and/or those businesses looking to take their exporting to the next level!