Category: News

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 start-up and growth grants, which provides businesses with the opportunity to reach their potential within the first three years of trading.

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 www.growingbetter.co.uk and for information about the support, advice and funding that is available from AD:VENTURE, please visit www.adventure.org.uk.

3,2,1… LIFT OFF FOR START UPS

Experienced professionals looking to LIFT OFF a new enterprise or propel their company 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 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 6th June, 13th June, 20th June and 27th June at The Art House, WF1 2TE.

To register, please visit www.ad-venture.org.uk/liftoff

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!”

“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, www.ad-venture.org.uk, follow @Adventure_LCR or call 0845 5240210.

AD:VENTURE GRANT SUPPORTS BRIDAL BOUTIQUE TO BRING COUTURE DESIGN TO YORKSHIRE

Stephanie Moran, local bridal designer announces the opening of her first showroom after securing an investment boost taking her from back bedroom to boutique business. The grand opening of the ‘by appointment only venue’ will see Stephanie’s first foray into the bridal world.

Thanks to the AD:VENTURE start-up and growth grants, which provide businesses with the opportunity to reach their potential within the first three years of trading, Stephanie secured £3,800 to help towards creating a welcoming and individual environment and experience for the modern bride and bridal party.

During a meeting with a business growth advisor from Selby Council and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Stephanie realised that to expand her company and push forward with her plans she would benefit from additional support and guidance.

Referred to a dedicated advisor from AD:VENTURE, Stephanie worked through the programme to identify her goals and put together a more formal business plan, whilst also receiving further details about the AD:VENTURE start-up and growth grants.

Stephanie comments: “I was working as a freelance and although I was securing commissions I was finding it hard to work out how to take my business to the next stage. That’s when I was informed of AD:VENTURE and I realised that with some support I could put my plans into practice.

“I knew that my real ambition and longer-term goal was to open a couture bridal boutique with studio and showroom, thanks to the opportunity to gain funding, I was able to do this. My brides deserve the very best and with the boutique that’s exactly what I am able to give them.”

Celebrating the recent opening of Stephanie Moran Couture, the Tadcaster boutique showcases an exciting and diverse environment where brides can create their own unique bridal vision. The boutique also houses the first signature collection and also offers a sketch to dress experience for brides-to-be up and down the country.

In addition to the personal bridal service that the boutique can now offer, Stephanie will also work with other outlets to offer her designs and extend her audience to include trade suppliers as well as direct customers.

The Leader of Selby District Council, Cllr Mark Crane, said, “We’ve been investing to deliver a range of business support, as part of our work to offer practical help to businesses across the Selby district who want to grow.  This is about us helping to bring investment to our town centres, to ensure they thrive into the future.  Tadcaster is definitely on the up again after the floods of a few years ago and through programmes such as AD:VENTURE we help the town to reach its potential.”

AD:VENTURE, the ERDF funded programme providing dedicated support to eligible young and new businesses who have strong growth ambitions, provides enterprises with the chance to apply for a match-funded Grant of up to £25,000.

To benefit from the programme, companies are asked to evidence through a written business plan how the contributions would be used to support the next steps in their business journey and what difference it would make to their future success.

Recognising that start-ups and smaller enterprises may not have a formal business plan in place, and that the process may be somewhat overwhelming, AD:VENTURE also provides practical support through a network of dedicated advisors.

As well as providing guidance, AD:VENTURE business advisors can also provide access to 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, www.ad-venture.org.uk, follow @Adventure_LCR or call 0845 5240210.

POWDER COATING BUSINESS GETS A WELL TIMED BOOST FROM AD:VENTURE

Riverside Coatings, the Castleford based professional paint powder coating business, has secured more than £18,000 thanks to the AD:VENTURE start-up and growth grants, which provides businesses with the opportunity to reach their potential within the first three years of trading.

Having launched the business in April 2017, Managing Director of Riverside Coatings, James Wilson, quickly realised that he would need to invest significantly in machinery with orders coming in for larger pieces of steel and architectural frameworks to be coated.

With no previous experience of running a business, James turned to AD:VENTURE for support and guidance. A dedicated Business Advisor was on hand to provide him with the insight that he needed and to help to put together a detailed plan and necessary budget forecasts.

As well as having someone to sit down and go through the business plan with him, James also applied for a grant for £18,523.39 that would allow him to invest in an auto-wash, a large piece of machinery that would allow him to take on larger commissions.

Further contributions were also made towards maintaining and repairing older machinery including a compressor and spray equipment that he knew would be vital to his future success.

In addition to delivering a professional service, the business can now take on larger pieces of work; plans which wouldn’t have come to fruition this soon had it not been for AD:VENTURE support. As a result, the company now employs a team of four operatives to support in the workshop.

James comments: “When you start a business you don’t always have the time to sit down and go through your plans in any great detail and putting pen to paper can be a struggle – you simply feel you have bigger priorities, like getting the work through the door. Looking back, if I hadn’t have gone through this process with AD:VENTURE, there’s no way I could have invested in the industrial sized machinery I needed.

“Having the funds to purchase the auto-wash was a real game-changer for us. It meant that we could take on larger commissions and really establish the business by delivering the professional service we are now known for. As a result, we are working with huge steel structures and I now have a team in the workshop to help me.”

Riverside Coatings is looking to extend its services further with more demanding work. As a result, the company is considering making additional appointments to the team.

The Leader of Wakefield Council, Cllr Peter Box CBE, said: “It is great to see a local business grow and develop, and this shows just how useful support and funding from the AD:VENTURE programme can be, and the real benefits it can bring to our local economy.”

For further details about Riverside Coatings please visit www.riversidecoatings.co.uk and for information about the support, advice and funding that is available from AD:VENTURE, please visit www.adventure.org.uk.

MUSIC FUTURES HITS THE RIGHT NOTE FOR BUSINESS

Wakefield’s reputation for nurturing talent within the music industry received a further boost last week as the first Music Futures masterclass took place at Wakefield One, bringing together leading experts from the music and live events industry to share their experiences with members of the district’s creative, digital and IT community.

Funded by AD:VENTURE, Music Futures kickstarted its programme for start-up businesses with the ‘Introduction to the Digital Music Industry’ masterclass, putting the spotlight on how labels, publishing and the Live Industry operates today in a digital world.

The session, which marked the first of 6 events that have been established to support this vibrant and emerging industry within the Leeds City Region, attracting an enviable line-up of entrepreneurs including Patrick Cloherty, Sentric Music; Steve Davis, SSD Concerts; Andy Smith, Kendal Calling; Kameil Sattar, Proper Music Distribution; Achal Dillon, Killing Moon and Rob Nancollas, Motive Unknown.

Jim Mawdsley from Generator, designers of the Music Futures programme comments: “There is real growth within live and recorded music, only this week the industry reported a six per cent growth and a contribution of £4.4 billion into the UK economy*.

“This is a staggering amount and demonstrates the opportunity for those starting out or considering a business within this innovative sector.

“Wakefield is already recognised for its forward-thinking approach, with Production Park and Tileyard each playing a role in inspiring and showcasing best in class. This programme provides the practical steps to help our local businesses push forward in the exciting industry and has received fantastic feedback from those who took part.”

Designed by Generator and led by Wakefield Council as part of the ERDF funded AD:VENTURE programme, future masterclasses will cover topics including VR/AR/XR streaming, digital led marketing strategies and complex industry rights, while also offering access to incredible coaching opportunities from music industry specialists including Tileyard and Production Park.

Delegates at the event provided positive feedback including the following updates which we shared across twitter:

Scott Wilson: “Some great talks yesterday looking forward to the next session, massive thank you to the people who took the time to come and share their knowledge and experience #musicfutures @ADVENTURE_LCR @WakefieldFirst

Isaac Tyler: “Huge props to @ADVENTURE_LCR @Wakefieldfirst and @GeneratorNE for yesterday! A day filled with some great talks from some great people in the music industry.

Sue Dyde: “@isaactylermusic and I buzzing after today’s session. Highest quality input have ever experienced and people so approachable and genuinely interested. Gamechanger. #musicteacher #adventure.

As a fully funded business accelerator programme, Music Futures events are planned throughout the year with the next masterclass taking place on Thursday 15th March Wakefield One and focusing on opportunities for the Music Industry in AR / VR.

For further details about AD:VENTURE and the extensive range of business activities, master classes and grant support that is available to start-up and recently launched enterprises throughout the Leeds City Region, please visit www.adventure.org.uk  and for updates about Music Futures please follow #MusicFutures #ThinkAdventure.

PwC and Sky Betting & Gaming develop taste for Lean Lunch

An innovative healthy lunch delivery service launched earlier this year in Leeds is already showing it’s appetite for growth after successful trials with two of the city’s biggest employers.

Founded in May 2017, Lean Lunch is a health conscious start-up supplying a subsidised catering service to companies who value health and wellbeing for their staff, encouraging access to a healthy lunch. Orders are made for pre-order and free delivery for companies in Leeds. The chilled meals are then delivered by environmentally friendly cycles ready to eat in fully compostable packaging, with the objective for Lean Lunch to be a zero waste food company.

The Kitchen!

The team worked with experienced chef Matthew Benson-Smith, who trained in Paris with a Michelin-starred chef and nutritionist Elizabeth Cooper to develop incredibly tasty yet super healthy meals using high quality fresh produce with no refined ingredients.

Founder and MD Sat Mann is passionate about the effects of nutrition on mental and physical health and wellbeing and after exiting from a successful recruitment company wanted to create a solution to the problem of city centre eating, crowded queues at peak times and that habit of grabbing anything to eat – unhealthy, unsustainable, not environmentally friendly and impacting on productivity.

The Team

Like most businesses, this start up began trials and testing at home, but after successfully securing grant funding of £11,200 towards project costs from the European Regional Development funded AD:VENTURE programme they have recently moved into a new custom kitted kitchen in the Cardigan Workspace. The move has already resulted in 4 full time jobs, with more to come. The AD:VENTURE scheme offers mentoring and growth support, including access to finance for companies showing high growth potential in the Leeds City Region and is looking for more companies to work with who want to boost their growth.

Sat says “It’s been an amazing experience to launch the first online healthy food delivery service in Leeds. Our ambition is to change the way people eat at work with a conviction of the positive impact this will have for both employers and employees. The early adoption of our service by PwC and SKYBET has been fantastic, it validates how forward thinking employers view the positive impact of nutrition on wellness. We are very grateful for the grant support from Adventure which has crucially supported the capital costs of launching the business”

Sat’s enthusiasm and passion was evident when two of Leeds City centre’s largest employers accepted the opportunity to trial the healthy delivery service, nutritional seminars and workshops that Lean Lunch were offering, showing their ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of their employee’s.

Catherine Boddington, Head of Learning & Development at Sky Betting and Gaming commented “It’s really important to us to look after the wellbeing of our people at SBG. Part of this is making it easy for people to eat delicious and nutritionally balanced food whilst they are at work ….. That’s what Lean Lunch offer. They deliver freshly prepared, healthy meals to our office every day, making healthy and tasty food accessible”

Richard Giles, Partner and Health and Wellbeing Leader for PwC in Leeds is a big supporter.  He commented “At PwC we believe it is important to look after the health and wellbeing of our team. Making it easy for our people to be physically active, eat well and take care of their mental wellbeing is the right thing to do from a moral and business point of view – Lean Lunch fits right into that. Delicious and nutritious food delivered to the office is a great option for us to make available to our teams. We are also now looking to introduce Lean Lunch to client events too.”

 

To find out more about growth support from the AD:VENTURE programme please visit www.ad-venture.org.uk, to see what Lean Lunch have on offer visit www.leanlunch.co.uk

BEF & FFE Microfinance scheme reaches Powerhouse milestone

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund BEF & FFE Microfinance scheme has loaned more than £2m to small businesses across Yorkshire, the Humber and the Tees Valley.

Bradford-headquartered Business Enterprise Fund and Doncaster’s Finance For Enterprise were named fund managers in February for the Microfinance element of the NPIF and have since provided more than 50 investments to growing SMEs.

Stephen Waud, chief executive of the BEF group, said: “Investing more than £2m through NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance demonstrates the vibrant SME market in Yorkshire, Humber and the Tees Valley, but that’s not all because we have committed to match the investments through our own funds, so that equates to more than £4m invested in that period.

“There is no sign of slowing down, with SMEs accounting for 99.3 per cent of UK private sector businesses.

“The Autumn Budget has pledged £1.7bn into the Northern Powerhouse, combined with the government’s commitment to the British Business Bank, and we continue to be in a strong position to support entrepreneurs and businesses.”

BEF has offices in Bradford, Leeds, York, Goole and Teesside, and provides loans for businesses in industries ranging from manufacturing and service providers to food and drink and hospitality. Over the next five years, it is hoping to invest upwards of £50m in Yorkshire, the Humber and the Tees Valley.

Original story by

Matthew Ord Digital Staff Writer at Insider Media

Bradford to lead high tech health start-ups

A new Bradford-based enterprise support programme is set to attract and develop innovative health and social technology companies in the region thanks to funding from Bradford Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

The Northern MAX (short for Northern Market Access Accelerator) is an intensive development programme designed to unlock regional potential by providing innovative start-ups with the latest technological advice, product development and business modelling support.

The programme was launched at the Smart Cities World Congress, a world-leading innovation conference in Barcelona this week, putting Bradford firmly on the global health innovation map.

In January 2018, twenty firms will be enrolled on Northern MAX which will be run in Little Germany by Bradford University’s innovative Digital Health Enterprise Zone and Innov8tive Minds who have extensive global experience in delivering innovation and entrepreneurial support.

The intensive 12 week fast track ‘accelerator programme’ will assist companies with new business customer introductions, management mentoring and access to finance and investment.

Participating companies will be able to test their new products with GPs, clinicians and commissioners from NHS and private health and care providers.

Northern MAX will help the participating entrepreneurs refine their business models in order to reduce risks and improve their chances of success.

The programme will assist managers to secure finance and contracts by training them in effective pitching techniques and introducing them to valuable investors and customers.

A recent report by the government identified Bradford and Leeds as having key strengths in med-tech innovation.

Northern MAX is part of a European Regional Development Fund AD:VENTURE Business Support Programme which is designed for businesses with high growth ideas and up to three years of trading.

Applications for Northern MAX need to be submitted by 13 Dec 2017.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This is an incredibly exciting programme for Bradford and our partners across the Leeds City Region.

“The district has strategic strengths in medical innovation and has a very strong track record in supporting and developing high tech companies so this programme presents some exciting opportunities for firms seeking to develop new health and social care technologies.”

Ian Sharp, Chief Executive, Officer of Digital Health Enterprise Zone Ltd, said: “I am very excited to be able to invite and support the most innovative early stage companies with the Northern MAX accelerator.

“This market access accelerator will help companies work through the highest risk stage of their development and prepare them for investment in their companies.”

Interested companies can find further information by visiting https://www.ad-venture.org.uk/northernmax