Month: February 2020

International Trade opportunities and events from DIT

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

The Department for International Trade offer loads of events, webinars, support and access to overseas trade missions and opportunities.

We have just received their latest packed newsletter and there was so much great stuff, we decided it warranted it’s own news feature!

So not a news piece as such, but plenty for you to read through and to get involved with if you are looking to grow through international trade…….Enjoy!


You Can Export: Internationalise Your Marketing
26 February 2020, Sheffield

Working with Overseas Agents, Distributors and Other Partners
5 March 2020, Sheffield

The Latin America and the Caribbean Roadshow
9 March 2020, Manchester
Register before 21 February to secure your one-to-one slots

You Can Export: Preparing Your Business for International Travel
10 March 2020, North Ferriby

Business Culture in China
18 March 2020, Wakefield

Pitching for Business Overseas
19 March 2020, Rotherham
22 April 2020, Elland

Opportunities in the Eastern Economic Corridor, Thailand
21 March 2020, Huddersfield

Researching and Selecting Overseas Markets
24 March 2020, Sheffield

Establishing Business in Germany
28 April 2020, Rotherham

Launch of digital tools for traders

The Department for International Trade has launched two digital tools for businesses exporting goods in and out of the UK market.

The free-to-use tools detail product-specific and country-specific information on tariffs, regulations and other topics in one place, saving businesses time and making it easier for them to trade.

The Check How to Export Goods tool provides exporters of goods out of the UK with information such as duties and customs procedures for over 160 countries around the world. The tool also provides information about the UK border which is sourced from other government departments such as HMRC and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Trade with the UK tool provides businesses exporting goods into the UK with detailed and up-to-date information on topics such as tariffs, taxes and rules.

Food and drink taster visit to Bruges, 19 – 21 March 2020

DIT invites businesses from the Yorkshire and the Humber region who are eager to explore their export potential, to join us on this taster visit to Bruges.

The visit is ideal for businesses from the food and drink sector, offering products or services which pair well with chocolate.

Please follow link to find out what businesses can get out of this visit.

Successful exporter story: spotlight on TEA+

Harrogate manufacturer TEA+ launched in 2016, bringing their vitamin-infused tea to the growing healthy hot drinks market. Their innovative tea is now selling in over 2000 locations across the UK and is currently expanding into international markets all over the world. Co-Founder James Dawson tells us more about this husband and wife team’s incredible journey and how they received support from DIT.

Continue reading

Other exciting opportunities – Don’t miss out

Innovation Challenge Fund in Karnataka on Artificial Intelligence/Data Science, India
The Innovation Challenge Fund in Karnataka on Artificial Intelligence/Data Science is open for application in innovative research and development projects in Artificial Intelligence/Data Science that propose tech led or tech enabled solutions to social and/or environmental challenges in India.
Continue reading

Innovation Challenge Fund 2020 Future Mobility in Maharashtra, India
A new £2 million fund is open for applications for innovative projects in Future Mobility. The Tech Clusters: Innovation Challenge Fund 2020 will advance innovative research and development projects in Future Mobility that propose tech led or tech enabled solutions to social and/or environmental challenges in India. The central aim of the Innovation Challenge Fund is to support the development of the Maharashtra Future Mobility Tech Cluster by promoting closer scientific collaboration between industry and academia, and by promoting links with international counterparts and centres of excellence, including in the UK.
Continue reading

International Trade Forum – Egyptian Special, 26 February 2020, Brighouse
Attend this event to gain insights into route to the Egyptian market, the new Egypt-UK trade deal and export advice.
Continue reading

Civil Nuclear Showcase 2020, 3 – 4 March 2020, London
The Civil Nuclear Showcase is set to return in 2020, and promises to live up to its reputation as a unique opportunity for representatives of the international nuclear industry to meet, network and discuss the latest developments in the civil nuclear marketplace. Senior delegates are expected from the UK and across the globe, including Canada, Central Europe, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
Continue reading

Selby District Business Conference, 19 March 2020, Selby
Come and hear from Katie Thomas from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership on exactly what the Circular Economy is.
Continue reading

Chemspec India, 14 – 17 April 2020, Mumbai

DIT, in collaboration with Santander, Chemical Industries Association (CIA), and the British High Commission in Mumbai, is offering UK businesses the opportunity to visit Chemspec India, India’s leading international exhibition for the Fine and Speciality Chemicals industry. With free access to DIT’s networking stand, and the opportunity to participate in a tailored programme of business meetings, and high-level networking events, this visit offers unrivalled access to India’s chemicals buyers. Find out how you can join and watch the pre-mission webinar


Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

Ripon entrepreneur aims to bring back Yorkshire speaker manufacturing

A Ripon entrepreneur is planning to bring back speaker manufacturing to Yorkshire after experiencing rapid growth in the past year.

BishopSound was set up by Andrew Bishop in 2016. The company’s products sell worldwide and include PA speakers, amplifiers and mixing equipment. Bands such as Elbow, The Courteneers and members of Ocean Colour Scene use BishopSound equipment, and the company also supplies speakers to schools, places of worship, pubs, clubs and DJs.

BishopSound has been able to speed up growth thanks to an £11,000 grant from AD:VENTURE, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The grant was used for website development, product photography, a promotional video and IT equipment.

“We’re in a phenomenal growth pattern at the moment – every month we seem to double our turnover compared to the previous year,” Andrew said. “People have latched on to the sound that we create, looked at the price and realised that there’s no point in going anywhere else.

“Without the AD:VENTURE funding, we definitely wouldn’t have been able to operate at the capacity we are currently working at and we’ve been able to speed up our new product plans.”

Andrew set up his business with the aim of bringing back the ‘British Sound’ to the PA speaker industry, which was established in the 1960s when bands such as The Beatles enjoyed worldwide success. UK-made speaker equipment was renowned for its quality but much of the equipment has to be manufactured in China.

Andrew is now developing prototypes with Yorkshire manufacturers with the aim of selling equipment made in our region in 2020.

“We have tried to use as many Yorkshire companies as possible to help us set up the business, and that’s the same for the manufacturing side,” he added. “At the moment 90% of our sales are made overseas but we want to bring more British-made speakers back to the market. We’ve been able to bring forward our plans for that thanks to the rapid growth we have had.”

Councillor Graham Swift, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development at Harrogate Borough Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see the success of a local entrepreneur, and hear of their commitment to increase development and production in Yorkshire.  We are delighted to be a partner in the AD:VENTURE programme, directly helping the growth of start-ups. BishopSound is a great example of how that support can unlock the potential of our local businesses.”

North Yorkshire vehicle safety firm launches lifesaving AirBar

A North Yorkshire company has set the wheels in motion with a brand-new safety device which could save the lives of drivers, operatives and cyclists.

NuVech Solutions Ltd, based in Ripon, has launched the AirBar, an inflatable barrier fitted with LED lights which attaches to the front and back of lorries or vans. The device encourages motorists to slow down and move over and has been designed to alert approaching traffic and protect vulnerable operators working near live traffic.

The AirBar can also operate with the vehicle’s nearside indicator below speeds of 15mph to help alert cyclists of a turning vehicle.

NuVech has received orders from national hauliers, recovery companies and manufacturers, and is currently in final negotiations with a large American distributer to market the system in the USA and Canada.

The development of the AirBar has been supported by a £4000 grant from AD:VENTURE, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The money was used to adapt the company’s new premises at Phoenix Business Park in Ripon, owned by Harrogate Borough Council.

Sarah Scaife, co-director of NuVech, said: “We used to run driver training courses and one of the common things we found was that drivers were getting hit by passing cars as they worked around their vehicles. This is obviously a real safety concern.

“Our customers have witnessed first-hand the huge benefits to driver safety when the AirBar is deployed so we look forward to working with businesses who are keen to improve safety for their employees and vulnerable road users alike.”

“Due to its unique design, the AirBar will improve safety for drivers and operatives in the logistics industry. We wouldn’t have been able to get to this point without the support from AD:VENTURE. Their help has enabled us to get the wheels in motion in bringing the new product to market.”

NuVech Solutions was set up by Sarah and Simon Scaife in December 2017. The husband and wife team previously ran a separate company, Vehicle Transporter Training, which offered accredited transporter driver training courses. Simon has over 30 years’ experience in the vehicle logistics industry.

The AirBar was launched in September 2019 in the UK and has already won an innovation award from the Institute of Vehicle Recovery, despite being up against major manufacturers.

One of the first companies to order the AirBar is John Macadam and Son, a recovery firm based in Colne, Lancashire which operates across Yorkshire and North-West England. Director Alastair Macadam said: “The most important asset we have in the company is our staff and this system helps to protect them, which makes it invaluable.

“The device has already proved useful for our drivers – we were dealing with an incident on the M6 involving an overturned HGV and both the police and highways officers commented on the Airbar as being a good idea.”

As well as providing the £4000 grant, AD:VENTURE supported Simon and Sarah with creating a business plan, ensuring the device complied with industry legislation, and moving to NuVech’s current premises at Phoenix Business Park in Ripon.

Councillor Graham Swift, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, Economic Development and Enterprise at Harrogate Borough Council said: “It’s fantastic to see a new company based in Ripon developing such an innovative product, and we wish NuVech every success.

“We’re delighted to be a partner in the AD:VENTURE programme, it’s a valuable part of the local services we offer to help the growth of start-ups and new businesses like NuVech.”

Selby Start Up Smiles and Miles celebrate success

Smiles and Miles, the tutoring membership community launched by single mother of two and teacher of 23 years, Sarah Oliver, is celebrating after reaching its target to provide more than 100 students with access to the educational support they need, delivering no fewer than 80 sessions per week.

In addition, the start up business has also registered 10 tutors across a range of subject specialisms to manage the demand for its services, while also securing a tender with a third sector funder to provide education services to disadvantaged communities.

None of this would have been possible however without the support that Sarah has received from Selby District Council and ERDF funded programme, AD:VENTURE.

Sarah comments: “I would not be where I am today without the help I’ve received from AD:VENTURE and Selby District Council. Not only was I able to access loads of courses on a range of subjects, I also had 1:1 mentoring which was invaluable. Having a business is certainly a rollercoaster but with this support it becomes more manageable. It’s been an amazing journey.”

Realising that she wanted a better work and life balance, Sarah gave up her career of more than two decades as a primary school teacher to become an independent tutor.

Believing that youngsters need more than systems to pass exams, Sarah’s approach was to give children the chance to become life-long learners by helping them to become confident, happy and resilient. In turn, she believes this has a knock-on effect and allows young people to make greater academic progress.

Despite her best efforts, she couldn’t earn enough to live, yet it was obvious that there was increasing demand for her services and the approach that she takes.

Sarah turned to Selby District Council Senior Business Advisor, Heidi Green who put her in touch with AD:VENTURE Business Growth Advisor, Lisa Whalley. With a start-up that had potential to scale up, Sarah was able to access courses and a range of workshops while also attending networking cafes to meet with others in a similar situation.

Recognising the potential in the business, Sarah changed the model and created a business to business membership community, extending the number of students and tutors that Smiles and Miles was able to work with. This approach proved successful and has established the organisation within the sector.

Sarah continues: “I never thought my business would become so successful so quickly and thanks to the support I’ve had I have learnt so much about how to think like an entrepreneur. It’s not just about being the best at what you do, in my case it was also taking responsibility for organising the tutors, becoming a parent liaison, dealing with invoicing and then marketing. It’s a completely different set of skills.

“The access to professional advice has been incredible and with so much business support out there, I can’t believe every start up isn’t tapping into what’s available!”

Selby District Council Executive Member with responsibility for economic development, Cllr David Buckle, added: “This is a great example of how we’ve been able to work with others to offer practical help to support small business growth. We’ve got a great entrepreneurial spirit here in the Selby district, with lots of room to grow too. That’s one of the reasons Selby District Council works in partnership with business in this way.”

Future plans for Smiles and Miles are to franchise the business and to extend its reach beyond Yorkshire. Longer-term it is intended that the company will become a nationwide offering, showcasing what you can achieve when you access the advice and guidance that is offered from professional business services throughout the region.

For further details about the AD:VENTURE programme, please visit and for details about Selby District Council and its business services please access,

Market Your Business Better in 2020

Want to make a commitment to market your business better? Here Daneile Moore, Communications and Marketing Officer for Leeds City Region AD:VENTURE Programme, looks at what you might do differently in 2020.      

The New Year has is now a fading memory and January been and gone (Was it just me or was that the longest month!) but, there is still plenty of time to make a firm resolution to grow your business through marketing.

This time of year is a perfect time to start something new or do things differently. So, how about taking a good look at how you market your business?

Did you draw up a marketing plan way back in the mists of time? Are you still doing what you have always done, wondering why your sales have stagnated? Are your competitors starting to creep ahead of you, even though you know your product or service is better than theirs?

Or maybe you have never actually planned how you market your business. Maybe it has been down to luck so far. Well done if so, but I guarantee with a few select tactics, you can increase your business visibility and growth.

So now is the time to draw up a plan. For the purposes of this blog I am going to assume that what you sell is good and there is a demand for it. If not, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board with that before you can even think about selling it (Fear not though, help is available if you think that’s where you are at, and I strongly advise you take it before going any further! I’ve included a few links at the end of the blog)

The plan does not need to be a huge strategy. Keep it simple and focus on some key basics initially. You can then build on the areas you see success in.

It needn’t cost money to market your business. Many early stage businesses take the boot strap approach, and if planned well, it can be hugely successful. I want to focus on the ways you can get your name out there without paying over the odds for advertising or loads of leaflets.

Start by working out who you want to sell to. That might be in terms of: business or consumer, geographical reach, age of customer and economic status.

Then work out where those people inhabit. Are they on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN or Twitter? Are they reading the business press or hanging out at networking or trade events? Then target those areas. It might mean getting up to go to breakfast networking events or putting together a press release to send to business reporters.

The great thing about press releases is that they do still get used by reporters, even if this age of digital news and social media. Journalists like a story that they can just use rather than write, especially as they are usually spread quite thinly and it saves them time. When you write a press release, it needs to be a story. Basically, you are trying to get the reporter to run it like they would run a story they would write. Take a look at the style they write in and copy that.

New products, recruitment, charity work or new contracts are always good stories to share. Remember to always provide a high res image too. Pictures really do say a thousand words, and it’s more likely to get your story featured. Make sure it’s relevant and well shot. A smartphone camera will work just fine.

People work well, but make it interesting (Not just a person on a boring backdrop!) and try and include your products and branding. It can mean you getting a nice big spread in your local paper and getting featured on their website. That has a lot of kudos as it looks like someone else is saying you are good. Far more powerful than paying for an advert.

Lots of people will tell you you must use social media. But which do you use? There is a bit of a myth that you must be out there posting and tweeting on all platforms. So, again, stop and think; where is your audience? Are they on Facebook or are they the sort of people who get involved in debates on LinkedIn? Go where they are, rather than spreading yourself too thin. Following hashtags that are key to your industry are a great way to keep an eye on conversations and topics that you could comment on and add your expert input to.

Time is a huge challenge for a growing business, and it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to think about these things. Give yourself a set amount of time and dedicate that to posting, sharing or creating content. You don’t have to be on it all the time, but do keep an eye for notifications and respond if your customers engage on social. There is nothing worse than being out there and not interacting!

Try mixing selling messages with useful content. If you constantly sell, your users will disengage. Instead share industry relevant content, other user content and also keep an eye on special dates or weeks that you can integrate into your messaging. There is a “day” for everything now (mainly invented by marketing teams / social media!) so what’s the day your business should be shouting about?

There are also lots of useful free or low cost tools you can use to help reduce the time it takes to post messages, allowing you to schedule a number of messages in one go, across multiple platforms keeping your feed active over the upcoming weeks without requiring you being on it every day.

Buffer is great for straightforward social media scheduling. Hootsuite is my recommendation for starting out, is easy to use and has a decent free offer. It works well for all-in-one social media scheduling, monitoring, and analytics. Iconosquare is a favorite for managing Instagram business accounts and Sendible a great tool for lead generation. There are more, and many are free to a certain level of use.

Whichever method you use, just remember: I can’t buy your goods or services if I don’t know you exist. So, get out there and get selling!

If you want any more advice and support over how to market your business, if you are less than 3 years trading, and primarily supply B2B? Get in touch with AD:VENTURE today at If your business has been established longer, don’t worry, there is also a huge amount of support available from the LEP Growth Service, The Skills Service and Digital Enterprise to name a few!