Month: September 2019

Get a booth worth £1000 at the Smart Factory Expo in Liverpool

Apply to find partners, end-users and customers at Smart Factory Expo

INNOVATE UK have kindly sponsored 65 booths for ‘start ups’ at the Smart Factory Expo in Liverpool on 13-14th November in the Innovation Alley. These are worth £1000.

They are offering these to start ups (less than 5yrs old, less than 10fte) who have a service or technology that could improve manufacturing productivity.

Would you benefit from being at a national exhibition to showcase your product or service for FREE?

YES – I’m in!!

OK – So what’s on offer and how can you apply?

Innovation Alley sits at the heart of Smart Factory Expo, one of The Manufacturer’s key events taking place in Liverpool on 13-14 November attracting over 6000 manufacturing visitors from all over the UK and Europe.   Innovation Alley is an ideal platform for start-ups and early-stage businesses to forge new partnerships with solution providers, customers and industry experts.

Hosted by Innovate UK in partnership with KTN, HVM Catapult, Made Smarter and STFC, we are inviting companies who are interested in being part of Innovation Alley to Apply for a space. An Innovation Alley space is FREE and is open to start up and early stage companies with innovative products or services targeted at manufacturers who haven’t exhibited in previous years.

Smart Factory Expo is a mixture of conference talks, masterclasses, consultant clinics, exhibitor and hack and pitch zones all focusing on the innovative area of digital manufacturing.

Apply here to register your interest or speak to Nicole Ballantyne from KTN’s Manufacturing team to find out more.

Avoiding Costly Legal Mistakes As A Start Up Or Growing Business

To help you early stage start-ups and scale-ups, Ison Harrison have written a helpful article for us to share with you on avoiding costly mistakes when starting up.

So, let’s get started!

When starting a business, and even over the first few years of business, there seems to be ever changing legal, financial and other issues which can arise which business owners need to deal with. This can be both daunting and exciting.

It is therefore understandable why many business owners overlook key legal and compliance issues which can, in some cases, create costly issues further down the line.

This article looks at some of the key factors business owners need to consider and, where appropriate, seek advice on.

  1. Ownership Relations

This is one of the areas that we see overlooked time and again, particularly amongst family and friends. It is important to understand, however, that when you go into business with another person, that relationship is a business relationship and whilst you may have the same goals and ambitions in the short term, over the mid-longer term things may change and this can cause conflict unless it is managed carefully.

It is therefore important that owners in a business document in a formal agreement, normally either a shareholders agreement or partnership agreement, matters such as extracting money from the business, restrictive covenants, duties in the business and what happens if one of the owners wants to leave. These are just some of the matters to consider.

Dealing with disputes between owners of a business can become extremely expensive and often can be avoided if proper contracts are in place from the outset.

  1. Terms of Business

Always ensure that you have documented terms of business in any sector where the transaction does not occur simultaneously. Obviously in a café or shop it would not be necessary to have terms of business but for any business where services or goods are provided over a period of time or where there is a delay in when you get paid, it is imperative that formal contracts are prepared.

Well drafted contracts can provide significant protection in the form of limitations of liability, terms as to when you are due to be paid and sanctions for failure to pay on time. In certain types of contracts, often those involving consumers, it is a legal requirement that contracts contain certain terms and failure to adhere to these requirements can render contracts unenforceable.

  1. Premises

Many business owners will lease premises for their business. It is important that business owners understand the agreement they are entering into as there is not the same level of protection in a commercial lease as there would be in a residential tenancy.

If business owners are not careful they can find themselves in positions where they can be personally liable for extensive costs, repairs and fees such as dilapidations and service charges or they can be tied into long term leases which are not fit for the purpose of the business.

  1. Compliance

Depending on the nature of your business, your business may be subject to a number of strict regulatory or licensing requirements and failure to adhere to these requirements could result in fines or criminal prosecutions.

General compliance requirements are faced by all businesses including obligations as to how they manage data under the General Data Protection Regulations and also managing health and safety risks.

However, some businesses may face more niche regulatory requirements such as licensing around waste management or the provision of certain services or products. Other businesses may require regulation, for instance from the Financial Conduct Authority. These requirements are not always obvious.

  1. Employees

There is significant compliance, legal and tax issues concerning the engagement of employees. To make matters more complex, many of the rules and regulations change frequently, sometimes every 6 months.

As a starting point, businesses must have written employment contracts and preferably a staff handbook detailing key policies. It is often useful to engage a law firm or HR consultant to provide ongoing support in respect of the changes which may affect your business.

Summary

Often there is a temptation or financial need to minimise costs in younger businesses and I have seen business owners who have either not done the above at all or have potentially tried to use downloadable templates or competitor documents without necessarily understanding the issues.

In many cases this often leads to business owners having to spend significant sums of money so as to undo earlier mistakes. The best advice is to simply seek professional advice to ensure that you are protected and understand your needs and obligations.

If you are unsure on any legal matters it is worthwhile speaking to a law firm and seeking to develop a relationship with them for ongoing advice and support.

Authored for AD:VENTURE by: Richard Coulthard – Partner & Head of Corporate, Ison Harrison Solicitors

Tender for the Ad:Venture Accelerator Programme 2020

Tender for the Ad:Venture Accelerator Programme 2020

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (CBMDC) wishes to continue the success of the Northern MAX accelerator programme by launching Northern MAX 3 in early 2020, the third programme in as many years.  Northern MAX is an intensive business support programme delivered in Bradford to serve digital technology start-up businesses based in the Leeds City Region.

As such, CBMDC is inviting submissions from Service Providers to deliver an accelerator programme with a digital technology sector focus to a third cohort.

Northern MAX 3 will form part of the Leeds City Region European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Ad:Venture programme which will deliver a programme of activity to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises until March 2022.

CBMDC is a partner in the Leeds City Council led Ad:Venture consortium of Local Authorities, Chambers of Commerce, the Princes Trust and the Universities within the Leeds City Region.  The Ad:Venture programme targets pre start-ups and businesses to 3 years trading, identified as having high growth potential, with the propensity to create jobs, trading predominantly business to business and is available to most business sectors. The package of support includes; expert mentoring, events and workshops, finance brokerage, grants, business incubator space, one to one consultancy projects and peer to peer learning.

The successful bidder will work closely with the CBMDC Digital Enterprise Advisor to support the delivery of a successful Northern MAX 3 accelerator programme.  The Digital Enterprise Advisor will provide ongoing support to businesses following the completion of the Northern MAX 3 programme. The successful bidder will also be expected to liaise with the Ad:Venture core programme team based in Leeds regarding marketing, ERDF compliance and documentation.

The Accelerator Programme will be 50% funded by ERDF and 50% funded by CBMDC.  The contract will be between CBMDC and the successful bidder.

For full details and submission guidance please CLICK HERE

BEF helps award-winning Agency for Good to grow

The Bradford-based marketing company is set to increase its impact thanks to a £3k Start Up loan from BEF.

Rich Sutcliffe is the founder of Agency for Good, an award-winning social purpose consultancy, web and creative marketing agency based in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Agency for Good provide consultancy, web and creative services to start-ups and social purpose organisations, ethically and for less.

Good by name and by purpose, they provide six hours of free marketing consultancy to social purpose organisations to help them create more impact. They can then provide lower cost services including web design, graphic design and other marketing and digital services. They also provide these services to start-ups at better rates than the norm.

Since their launch in January 2019, Agency for Good have helped over 70 social purpose organisations and have 30 paying clients including North Invest, DigiBete and Bradford Hospitals Charity. Agency for Good have saved their clients thousands in fees meaning they can use their funds better and on the front line.

Rich said: “I love helping those who need the most help. The fact I can use my experience and skills to help others is amazing. I can shape something that has my values to create a greater impact in society.”

Keen to capitalise on their short-term success and the good press they were receiving, Agency for Good approached BEF for a Start Up loan in June 2019.

“We needed to redevelop our own site which had not been changed since day one due to time constraints.” Rich said, “We also needed additional funds for our own marketing and events to ensure sustainability over the long term.”

Thanks to a £3,000 Start Up loan delivered by BEF in July 2019, the redesign of the Agency for Good website is nearing completion. They have purchased long-term marketing materials for use at events and workshops, established an events marketing plan and set aside funds to help with any short term cashflow problems that may arise.

Since receiving the Start Up loan, Agency for Good won the New Business of the Year for Bradford Award at the Bradford Means Business Awards. They were also runner up for New Business of the Year at the Keighley and Airedale Awards.

“The Start Up loan allows us to keep creating social impact but ensure profitability.” Rich said, “Working with Josh was great, and he was enthusiastic about our business model, in all honesty the process was that quick and simple that it consisted of a few emails and a short meeting.”

Rich’s advice for other companies who face similar challenges is: “Don’t panic, think it through and assess as many options as possible. There is always someone out there that can help. Build a good network of trusted people around you.”

Josh Kelly, Start Up Loans Manager at BEF, said: “It was a pleasure to support Rich whose knowledge, experience and focus on social impact makes a real and meaningful difference to the customers he serves. Our support will enable Agency for Good to grow sustainably and impact more social purpose organisations and the communities they serve.”

For more information on Agency for Good visit https://agencyforgood.co.uk.


Looking for finance to start your own business in the creative sector? Our Start Up loans team is here to help.

Opportunity – Ambitious Digital Startup looking for Office Designers & Fitters

Ambitious Digital Startup looking for Office Designers & Fitters 

We are an ambitious digital startup who have secured some office premises (circa 4000sqft) in Leeds city centre and wish to invite expressions of interest to carry out design and refurbishment works, which will include design, fitting out of offices, partitioning, ceiling ,flooring electrical work, audio visual, heating, lighting and office furniture.

This opportunity will be live for 10 days from the 12/09/2019, with closing date for quotes 22/09/2019

We are working to a tight schedule so only those companies that can carry out  the work immediately once appointed need apply. This will be a key consideration in appointing a contractor.

Please email vin@vp.ventures for more information and detailed specification.

Ad:Venture Business Advisors

WE ARE HIRING – The AD:VENTURE programme is looking for enthusiastic and knowledgeable Business Advisors to join our team!

A BIT OF BACKGROUND:

AD:VENTURE is an £18 million programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) The programme is delivered and supported by a wide partnership of organisations, including, local authorities, chambers of commerce, universities, and social enterprises.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

We support new and young business across the Leeds city region achieve their growth potential. It’s great!

The programme offers a range of support including, grants, one to one advice and workshops, along with specialist support from our partners. We are recruiting Business Advisers to join our team, to work across the Leeds City Region Area, working out of both our offices and those of our partners.

IS IT RIGHT FOR YOU?

We are looking for people who have a background in business, or have experience in delivering business advice and support.

The advisor team is central to the delivery of the AD:VENTURE programme, the main point of contact for new and growing businesses, and as an advisor you would need to have a passion for supporting people and business and seeing them grow.

Delivering support and guidance to pre-start and start-up businesses up to 36 months old, who will have strong growth potential with opportunities for job creation, advisors will be allocated a specific geographic area in order to capitalise on local expertise and knowledge, as well as building up strong local networks which are essential to supporting the business community.

Experience of working with growth start-up businesses would be an advantage along with a strong emphasis on support with business planning and financials, in addition to strategic planning. Advisers will assist the beneficiary businesses in accessing various aspects of the programme including a series of workshops.

In addition to having a sound knowledge of other business support solutions/programmes available both nationally and across the Leeds City Region, the ideal candidate will have strong written and oral communication skills to aid effective communication with clients and stakeholders and be expected to work to a high level to meet the programmes compliance requirements.

HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE AND/OR  APPLY?

The roles are 35 hours per week, and £35K PA.

Click here to download the full Job Description,

Click here to download the Application-Form.

To apply for any of the above positions please email a copy of your CV and a completed application form to our delivery team.

REGION’S BUSINESS GROWTH TO ACCELERATE THANKS TO UNIVERSITY PROGRAMME

Leeds Beckett University has announced the launch of a new accelerator to support the growth of businesses based across the Leeds City Region.

Accelerate is a new six-month business growth programme for the region’s businesses and will launch in September 2019. Delivered as part of the successful ERDF funded programme, AD:VENTURE, Accelerate is specifically designed to help ambitious early stage businesses unlock their full growth potential.

Businesses accessing the support through Accelerate will benefit from a key account manager to provide guidance and support; a diagnostic to help identify strengths and weaknesses and professionally delivered masterclasses covering key topics such as planning for growth and strategic sales and marketing.

The programme also offers individuals up to 12 hours of one to one assistance from Leeds Beckett University and industry experts, as well as opportunities to discuss additional support such as funding and grants.

Leeds Beckett University Business Engagement Manager, Deborah Hetherington, comments: “In order for the Leeds City Region to continue to prosper as a result of such a diverse range of start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, we must nurture and guide them through the unpredictable and often difficult early stages.

“Accelerate will not only create structured support services to help businesses grow, create new jobs and attract a wide range of talent to the region, it will also assist in establishing new specialisms and sectors.

“With so many new and exciting organisations coming through, it reinforces our region as one of the best places in the country to do business.”

The Accelerate programme is available to organisations that are aiming to grow and create jobs in the Leeds City Region; deliver products or services to other businesses rather than direct to the consumer; and any organisations looking for a structured programme, with flexible one to one support.

Candle Digital, is just one example of an organisation that has benefited from access to the AD:VENTURE programme. Set up by former colleagues Andy Jack and Mark Langdale, the company helps training providers transform their materials and expertise into digital products.

After starting the businesses Andy and Mark accessed AD:VENTURE Masterclasses and one to one support with Leeds Beckett academic Mark Copsey.

Andy comments: “Working with AD:VENTURE and Leeds Beckett University has given us the space and time to grow faster and in a more sustainable way. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support that we have received.

“We have a stronger understanding of who we are, why we’re doing this and who we should target. Rather than holding us back, the systems and processes that we now have in place have been a real catalyst for growth.”

For further details about the Accelerate programme or to register your interest, please visit https://ad-venture.org.uk/unisupport/accelerate/