Month: December 2019

Yorkshire business support programme provides over £1m in grant funding

A Yorkshire business support programme has provided more than a million pounds in grant funding since its launch. 

AD:VENTURE, which helps ambitious new businesses trading for less than three years in North and West Yorkshire, has provided over £1.3m of funding to start-up firms and helped create 391 jobs. 

Since the programme started at the end of 2016, AD:VENTURE has helped more than 3000 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region, and approved 156 grants to help start-up businesses to grow, including support for purchasing vital equipment and moving to suitable premises.  

Partners of AD:VENTURE include the regionnine local authorities, the Business Enterprise Fund and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, with businesses also able to access academic input through programmes delivered by higher education partners, Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Trinity University 

The programme has also supported 826 people aged 18 to 30 through its Explore Enterprise Course, run in partnership with The Prince’s Trust. 

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and NP11, said: “Programmes like AD:VENTURE help start-up businesses to speed up their growth, and that leads to a stronger economy. 

“We have some fantastic new businesses in this region and these figures show that with the right support provided at the right time, start-ups can go from strength to strength.” 

One of the businesses benefiting from the programme is Halifax-based Candle Digital, an online learning platform for training providers. The team worked with an AD:VENTURE advisor who helped them to target the right people that could benefit from their service. 

Mark Langdale, director of Candle Digital, said: “We can’t recommend AD:VENTURE enough. The business support we have received is far beyond anything we could ever have expected. 

“We would suggest to any start-up business that they investigate the advice, guidance and sessions that are on offer and make the most of them.” 

Power Sheds, a shed manufacturer based in Bradford, have also seen the benefits of accessing AD:VENTURE grant funding, which was used to help purchase an automated saw. The equipment measures the timber to the correct length allowing it to be cut very quickly and reduces waste.  

The new equipment means that Power Sheds are on target to triple their size within the next year, with plans to expand into Europe. Jack Sutcliffe, director of Power Sheds, says the support they have had from AD:VENTURE has played a big part in the company’s rapid growth. 

“They’ll happily come out and see you and are always available to give you advice on anything that you might need. They’ve also advised us on where to go for other funding and put us in contact with lots of different people who might be able to help us.” 

AD:VENTURE is a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) match funded programme which offers grant funding, mentoring and business development advice to pre-start, young and new firms with growth potential in the Leeds City Region. The programme also runs free events tailored to new businesses and offers support to young people who are keen to develop entrepreneurial skills 

For more information on AD:VENTURE go to https://ad-venture.org.uk/ 

Why Do I Need Terms & Conditions?

To T&C or not to T&C…that is the question ?

When people say the immortal words to me “do I need terms & conditions?”, after I’ve recovered from my initial shock, my reply is ……………………..

well, read on to find out.

Over the years Business owners have said various things to me on the topic of Terms & Conditions, such as:

“my customers are people that I know and have worked with for years, so I don’t need any contracts in place” or

“I’ve not had any problems getting paid in the past, so I don’t need any”

If only things were that simple for business owners. Nobody has a crystal ball and the ability to foresee what will happen in the future. Business relationships can unfortunately turn sour for various reasons. For example, client’s changing their mind on what goods or services they ordered, customers failing to make payments in time as they feel another company’s invoice is more important, or clients disputing the goods that are delivered and fitted, claiming it’s not what they wanted. The list could go on.

It’s the reality of modern day business, and the difference is that companies in 2019 know far more about their rights than they did in years gone by.

So, let’s delve a bit deeper and explore  some of the many  benefits of Terms & Conditions. From a legal perspective the benefits are huge:

  • They provide certainty in terms of what you are offering;
  • They help cashflow by setting out explicit payment terms;
  • They  specify the consequences of not paying on time and what the penalty can be;
  • They can increase cashflow;
  • They can help minimise disputes;
  • If a dispute should happen to arise, they provide a basis to resolve them swiftly;
  • They set out your client’s obligations and what you require from them in order to provide your service;
  • They provide protection for you when handling client data;
  • And last but not least, they form a legally binding contract between you and your client(s).

Again, I could go on, but these give you an indication of some of the many benefits.

Other business owners I speak to are in a different predicament, and one which they think is more beneficial. They already have Terms & Conditions in place, but they have used a template. Templates can be good but only when they are adapted properly. It is the substance that is added to the template that makes it binding, suitable for your specific requirements and legally binding. A template alone cannot be fit for purpose as, by its very nature, it is a generalised document that needs specific information adding to it.

Another scenario which is  a bit similar to this, is when I’m advised by business owners that they ‘borrowed’ their Terms & Conditions from a friend. Now, this is all well and good if  their friends’ business is in the same industry, providing exactly the same goods and services with the same payment terms etc. As this is very unlikely, the chances are the Terms & Conditions are not fit for purpose, and are therefore not binding.

If you have current Terms & Conditions it is important to keep them up to date to ensure that they cover the Goods and Services you supply, your payment terms and to keep termination clauses up to date with how your company operates. To accompany this, it is essential that any laws and regulations which need to be stated within the Terms & Conditions are accurate and legal. One of the first things I look at when asked to review current Terms & Conditions, is to see how up to date the document is, and I can generally spot this instantly when looking to see if there is a GDPR clause included. If this is not included, then they are at least 1 ½ years out of date and this aspect alone needs updating.

So, in answer to the question at the outset, the answer is a resounding YES!

If you are a company that provides Goods and/or Services, you need Terms and Conditions, and I would always recommend a bespoke set which specifically meet the needs and requirements of your company. That way you can be sure that they are legally binding and will work for your company. To ensure that these are drafted correctly, I would recommend that you seek advice and assistance from a professional who specialises in contracts, such as a Solicitor, as they will have the benefit of the knowledge to draft the document correctly for you.

Thanks to Michael Long at MJL Law for this straightforward and straight talking guide to T&C’s!

Bang for your buck: Here are the best locations to run your business in the UK

New rankings reveal the best locations to run your business according to average rent prices, size of the talent pool, access to government funding and broadband speed

Leeds leads the way as one of the best places to set up a business

Four Leeds City Region locations appear in the top ten in the UK

From monthly bills to access to the best talent, a new ranking reveals the best places in the UK to run a business – and Leeds City Region is leading the way.

Having developed the ranking system based on evidence from a variety of metrics linked to setting up and running a business, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) aims to highlight some of the best locations around the country for business leaders to set up shop.

The ten metrics used to create the ranking system were:

  • Price per square foot for commercial rent properties1
  • Parking availability and price (£)2
  • Number of finance and support schemes available from Government3a & 3b
  • Broadband speed (average download speeds Mbit/s)4
  • 4G coverage (%)4
  • Unemployment rates (%)5
  • Quality of life score6
  • Young population (ages 18-34) (potential employees for businesses)7
  • Number of arts, entertainment and recreation services/professional, scientific and technical businesses per 1000 18/34-year-olds8
  • Annual media gross pay (2019)9

The LEP also reviewed population statistics10 in the top ten metropolitan districts, as well as the capital, and ranked each according to the ten metrics

The three best areas for business leaders to pay attention to were revealed as Leeds, Kirklees and London, with Leeds leading the way as the number one location for businesses across all metrics.

The top ten places to run a business from in the UK according to these measures are:

  1. Leeds
  2. Kirklees
  3. London
  4. Bradford
  5. Liverpool
  6. Birmingham
  7. Wakefield
  8. Coventry
  9. Manchester
  10. Sheffield

With the average rent per square foot coming in at £301, Leeds is not the lowest cost destination to host a business. Kirklees* takes that coveted spot with the average rent per square foot in the area costing only £13.501.

However, Leeds ranks best in terms of low unemployment rates (4%)5, a high quality of life score (7.76)6, a large percentage of young population in the city (222,673)7 and a high annual pay (£33,245)9, helping the city achieve the overall top spot.

Looking outside of Leeds City Centre, other areas within Leeds City Region also ranked highly for low rent prices alongside Kirklees* (£13.50)1, including Bradford (£15)1, Wakefield (£16)1 and Sheffield (£25)1. The findings indicate the Leeds City Region should be a real consideration for any business leaders looking for a new location.

Bradford also ranked highly for the average cost of parking, which on a weekday is only £3.342 compared to rocketing prices in places such as London (£44)2.

For businesses still looking to establish their headquarters in London, leaders should be prepared to pay 344% more per square foot compared to Kirklees, with the average rent in the capital coming in at a hefty £60+ per square foot.

Unsurprisingly, businesses based in the capital have access to a higher volume of government funding schemes (44)3 compared to other cities, however everywhere within the Leeds City Region (including Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Kirklees) has access to an impressive 12 schemes3b. Manchester (10)3, Coventry (4)3, Birmingham (3) and the other listed cities also have access to a range of funding opportunities, should businesses qualify.

Other costs to be considered include energy bills, however this is determined by the size of the business rather than location. Large businesses can expect to foot a bill of around £3,139 each year for energy compared to £706 for small businesses11.

In addition to these metrics, Leeds has a large volume of higher education student enrolments, with over 63,00012 currently in the city, meaning businesses have access to a high volume of graduates who are keen to begin their professional careers. The education ecosystem in Leeds City Region also boasts nine universities and 14 higher education colleges contributing to a fast-growing talent pipeline.

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and NP11 commented “We’re thrilled to take the top spot when it comes to entrepreneurs looking for a place to set up their business. We truly believe that the Leeds City Region has so much to offer, from top of the range office space and a thriving business scene, to an impressive talent pool, it’s a fantastic place for any business to start, or continue their journey.

“We’ve so far helped 11,000 businesses to grow through £43 million funding, and have also launched the £2.5 million Digital Investment Fund which includes the #Grow and #Welcome programmes to help tech businesses thrive in our region.”

“With tech giants such as Channel 4 and Sky making the leap to the Leeds City Region, we look forward to welcoming more businesses to our community.”

Recent investor Paramjit Uppal, Founder, AND Digital added “We decided to open an office, or as we call it, a club, in the heart of Halifax as we saw a fantastic opportunity to help organisations in West Yorkshire accelerate the development of its digital capabilities. West Yorkshire is a vibrant, welcoming region with a real appetite for growth and innovation – we’ve been delighted by the warm and enthusiastic welcome we’ve had and the support we have received from the LEP.”