Category: News

Digital Enterprise 2.0 – Coming Soon!

Bigger, better and with a whole host of new features, Digital Enterprise 2.0 launches this Autumn with an enhanced programme of support for businesses keen to develop their digital capabilities.

If you are looking to invest in digital technology, improve your business connectivity/broadband speed or develop your digital knowledge and skills, then don’t miss out on the chance to take your business to the next level!

HOW COULD DIGITAL ENTERPRISE HELP YOU?

Digital Enterprise was launched in 2016 to help small and medium sized enterprises in the Leeds City Region to achieve digital transformation as they scale up and mature by providing access to funding and knowledge.

More and more businesses are embracing digital. Over the last three years…

·    Digital Enterprise has helped over 1,400 businesses to fund their digital projects or access free training to help improve their digital skills.

·    Over 850 businesses have received match funded grants worth more than £3.6 million for digital projects.

·    Each business that received a Digital Growth Voucher had created an average of 1.7 jobs since their investment.

·    Over 600 businesses have accessed knowledge, expertise and advice on deploying digital solutions and improving their digital skills via the Digital Knowledge Exchange.

·    Over 70 workshops delivered.

·    4 large Go Digital Live! conferences held.

·    514 digital audits were completed.

·    4 mentoring events held.

·    9 webinars took place.

·    28 digital champions (experts in their field) supported the programme through involvement in workshops or 1-2-1 mentoring support for businesses.

·    Over three quarters of businesses who engaged with the programme stated that the support they had received has had a transformational impact on how their business uses digital technology.

 

How to register for Digital Enterprise 2.0

Digital Enterprise 2.0, our next programme of support opens in September 2019. If you are interested in developing your digital capabilities and want to see if we can help , then register NOW so that you can receive exclusive access to our programme by clicking here.

Innovate UK releases 2019-2020 Delivery Plan

Innovate UK has today published its Delivery Plan for 2019-2020, alongside the other Councils within UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The Innovate UK plan is framed by 5 strategic goals:

  • deliver measurable economic and societal impact across the UK
  • support and invest in innovative businesses and entrepreneurs with the potential and ambition to grow
  • maximise the commercial impact of world-class knowledge developed in UK industries and its research base
  • identify, support and grow transforming and emerging industries through innovation
  • build a coherent, supportive environment incentivising R&D investment and enabling people and businesses to innovate

Call to innovate

As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK has succeeded in investing over £2.2 billion more than 11,000 projects over the last 12 years. These have created as much as £16 billion in gross value added to the UK economy and 70,000 jobs.

Innovate UK is supporting the government’s Industrial Strategy commitment to increase R&D spending to 2.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in further partnerships between businesses, researchers and government.

Dr Ian Campbell, Interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, said:

To achieve the Government’s Industrial Strategy commitment to increase R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, our new strategy takes more of an investment-driven approach to innovation.

It focuses much more closely on creating the conditions for private investment in R&D, on creating an enabling environment by championing and assisting industry to innovate, on nurturing the sectors and technologies that will transform the UK, and on encouraging innovation in all businesses with the potential to grow and scale, right across the country.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, Innovate UK will adopt new investment-focused approaches to financially support universities, the public sector and especially businesses, which account for two-thirds of all UK research and development (R&D).

Following the successful rollout of Innovation Loans and the Investment Accelerator, the Delivery Plan includes further work on new innovation finance options to boost the impact of government funding.

9 Delivery Plans across UKRI

Building on the Strategic Prospectus, published in May 2018, the UKRI 2019-2020 Delivery Plans detail how the Government’s target of 2.4% of GDP spend on research and innovation by 2027 will be guided by 6 themes:

  • business environment, with a focus on delivering projects with social, cultural and economic impact
  • places, supporting growth across the UK
  • ideas, developing disruptive and ground-breaking projects
  • people, investing in the skills and environment for innovation to thrive
  • infrastructure, ensuring access and investment in world-leading research
  • international, meeting global challenges and forming international partnerships

Professor Sir Mark Walport, UKRI Chief Executive, said:

The delivery plans announced today are the blueprints for UKRI’s ambition to deliver the future of research and innovation. They outline how we will address the major global and societal challenges of our time, catalyse collaboration and contribute to meeting the government’s ambitious 2.4% target.

Sir Mark will be discussing the delivery plans at a UKRI evening event at the University of Leeds today, as well as profile UKRI’s first year of operation.

Content from www.gov.uk/government/news 13.06.19

AD:VENTURE CELEBRATING 3 MORE YEARS OF INTENSIVE SUPPORT FOR REGIONS START-UPS

We are delighted to share the following news about our programme!

AD:VENTURE, our ERDF part funded programme supporting start-ups and scale-ups with practical support and match-funded grants, has been awarded an extension by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Testament to the success of the programme, which has actively worked with over 1,513 businesses and 1,019 individuals, AD:VENTURE will now run to 2022, making it a six year programme with a value of £18.2m.

Engaging with 710 young people to explore enterprise or self-employment and delivering a schedule of more than 200 events, resulting in 287 additional jobs, the balance of both practical and grant assisted support delivered by professionals has provided significant benefits to business.

96 organisations have received match-funded grants since the programme launched in late 2016, with 125 approved projects representing a total combined worth of £2.3m, securing £665,849 from the AD:VENTURE programme.

Delivered by a consortium of public and private sector organisations, the programme offers tailored packages of support to start-up businesses throughout the Leeds City Region.

Access to workshops, seminars and specialist sessions is complemented by one-to-one assistance from professional Business Advisors, enabling personalised support tailored to the needs of each organisation and the challenges they are facing to growth and future success.

Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and NP11, Roger Marsh OBE, comments: “The success of the AD:VENTURE programme really does tell its own story. The business community throughout the Leeds City Region is vibrant, diverse and growing. Having ongoing access to the support, advice and guidance from experts, as well as funding provision, can only enhance this further.

“Knowing that start-ups and young organisations are attending workshops and accessing the bespoke help that they need is reassuring. It shows that we have in place the provision we need to nurture entrepreneurship across our region and to become an example of best practice for others.”

Working with partners across Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York, the extension means the AD:VENTURE programme will continue to deliver the same model of support across each town and city.

Michael Burnham of Hydro-Flux in Batley comments: “Without AD:VENTURE there is no way we could have put our idea into practice. Not only did we need some guidance and governance to make sure we were following the necessary processes, but we were also finding it difficult to raise the funds, as the equipment and tooling isn’t cheap.

Michael and Douglas Burnham, Hydro-Flux, Batley, Yorkshire

Securing the grant made all of the difference and we went from kitchen table to furnished offices almost overnight. It was great. Not only was the environment different but we were also able to approach the business with a different mindset”

Andy Jack and Mark Langdale, at Candle Digital, Leeds Beckett University Business Centre, Piece Mill, Halifax

Mark Langdale from Candle Digital, based in Halifax said: “We can’t recommend AD:VENTURE or Leeds Beckett University enough. The support we have received is far beyond anything we could ever have expected. We would suggest to any start-up or young business that they investigate the advice, guidance and sessions that are on offer and make the most of them”

 

Helen Northard, who recently launched Human Spirit Ltd said “If I hadn’t had the support from AD:VENTURE I wouldn’t have had the courage to go for a tender. It’s not about my self-belief or knowing that I can deliver for my customers, it’s about taking steps that are very much outside of my comfort zone. Having a business can be isolating, especially when you’re used to working for big corporations, but with the support from AD:VENTURE I’ve had access to professional training sessions, advisors and a network of trusted partners, I can’t recommend the programme enough!”

Director of Crimson Bear based in Craven, Paul Johnson, comments: “When we launched the business we always intended to grow but by accessing the AD:VENTURE programme we were able to move our plans forward and put them into practice far sooner. Thanks to the grant and the practical support we were able to benefit from, we are now on track to turnover £2m, which is excellent news.”

For further details about AD:VENTURE please visit www.ad-venture.org.uk and for regular updates follow @ADVENTURE_LCR.

£11.8m boost for region’s SME manufacturers

Small to medium-sized (SME) manufacturers in Yorkshire can start taking advantage of an £11.8m business support boost to help them grow and address key skills issues.

The Manufacturing Growth Programme, which is funded by ERDF and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions (part of Oxford Innovation), will help a further 2400 companies to tackle barriers to growth, with the potential of creating 2,500 jobs.

Dean Barnes, regional director of the Manufacturing Growth Programme, said: “The £11.8m extension will provide enhanced support to more SME manufacturing businesses in Yorkshire, as well as having the opportunity to add further value to those companies we have already supported.

“Our Manufacturing Growth Managers are trusted experts that understand the language MDs are talking and, through a new manufacturing diagnostic tool, can guide them on making the right decisions, before bringing in specialists on specific issues they are facing or opportunities they’re looking to explore.”

Going forward, support can be used for an array of improvement projects, such as continuous improvements, change, environmental and sustainability, leadership and management, marketing, people and skills, productivity and capacity, quality and strategy.

The additional funding aims to provide a more valuable and quality level of assistance from a local Manufacturing Growth Manager that has years of industry experience.

An in-depth business diagnostic and action plan will be provided as part of the new programme, alongside improvement grants starting from £1000.

“In October 2016, we were given the task of setting up a programme capable of delivering over £10.3m of dedicated business support to SME manufacturers and I’m delighted to say that, thanks to the hard work of the staff and the Manufacturing Growth Managers on the ground, we have achieved that,” said Martin Coats, operations director of Oxford Innovation.

“Over the course of the last two and a half years we have helped more than 2000 SMEs to identify and overcome barriers to their growth and this has added millions of pounds to the local economy and created in excess of 3000 jobs, safeguarding thousands more in the process.”

He added: “Supporting Yorkshire manufacturers is not easy and you need a tailored approach, delivered by experts who understand what it is like working in industry.

“The Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and local Growth Hubs have seen first-hand the value we add to firms in their respective areas and this has resulted in their commitment to support us for another two and a half years.”

For further information on how to access the programme please visit https://www.manufacturinggrowthprogramme.co.uk/

 

Article from Business Desk 

Business Woman Swaps Smart Suits For Smartphone

After a successful career as a Sales Director, travelling the world and enjoying a healthy package, a desire to try new things and push her personal boundaries led Michelle Cowan to review her priorities.

Putting her passport to one side, Michelle took the opportunity to spend time with friends, family and associates before deciding what to do next.

It was during these conversations she recognised that there were three simple things stopping smaller organisations and start-ups from using social media for business; time, the cost of hiring an agency and creativity.

Eighteen months later, with a business partner and thanks to lots of hard work, Michelle launched My SMART App, a downloadable app that based on a user’s preferences can create, schedule and post content to Twitter and Facebook business pages.

Available from Google and Apple App Stores, the product uses content that is based on days of the week, awareness days, weeks, months and key UK events making it ideal for businesses that target a consumer facing audience.

Furthermore, the device allows the user to customise the pre-prepared posts, to add personality and use the correct tone of voice for the business, while also accepting unique content too, supporting smaller organisations as they build their brand and presence online.

Michelle comments: “If someone had told me two years ago that I would be running my own organisation and that it would solve a problem and meet with the challenges that are faced by other small businesses I would have thought they were crackers!

“As it stands, that’s exactly what has happened. I’ve had a lot of help along the way, not least from business support services such as AD:VENTURE, and can see that taking the time to attend workshops, sessions and networking has all been worth it. Knowing that we have a product that is available for download is really exciting!”

The My SMART App is available for download with a 60-day free trial and then a monthly cost of just £8.49. For further details please visit www.mysmartapp.co.uk

TimberTight secures £22,000 grant funding for expansion

TimberTight Ltd, An innovative Yorkshire-based construction company from Cleckheaton, which is capitalising upon the demand for timber-framed housing, has secured £22,247 from AD:VENTURE, the ERDF funded programme supporting start-ups throughout the Leeds City Region.

Businessmen Paul Williamson, Gordon Lorimer and Jake Hinchliffe launched TimberTight Ltd to meet with the growing preference for timber framed buildings, a specialism that is embraced and regularly used by construction firms throughout the world.

Ensuring the UK competes with standards that have been set throughout Europe and the USA, the company uses timber, a more environmentally friendly alternative to bricks and mortar, to create frames that take less time to implement and allow for the process of building a property to run concurrently in a factory whilst work progresses on-site.

Expanding quickly, the Directors recognised the need to access funding support so that the company could invest and upgrade its machinery to allow for precision high-volume cutting of timber to meet with an increasing number of commissions. 

Gordon Lorimer from TimberTight, comments: “We worked with Paul Tansey from AD:VENTURE. Not only was he very pleasant but he was a seasoned businessman. In the first instance we expected some hints and tips but what we had access to was free, professional business consultancy.

“Working with the processes, plans and advice that was given we were able to secure more than £22,000 in match-funded grant which allowed us to invest in the machinery that we needed to give us a competitive advantage. We also employed a further seven employees to run the equipment, expanding the business and giving local people the opportunity to work and to learn new skills.”

The TimberTight Team

Paul Williamson from TimberTight, adds: “We are an even stronger business than before thanks to the help we have accessed from AD:VENTURE. The new contracts that we have won through our enhanced competitiveness is proof of that.”

Thanks to the associations and partnerships between business service providers, TimberTight has also accessed support from Kirklees Council and Works Better, an employment support programme that is part-funded by the European Social Fund.

Karl Battersby, Strategic Director for Economy and Infrastructure, Kirklees Council, comments: “Working with innovative and progressive businesses like TimberTight is really encouraging, not only have they identified a rapidly expanding specialism, but they have embraced it and created a business model that is sustainable as a result.

“Knowing that we have market leading talents in Kirklees and that these skills are being passed to a workforce that are able to develop their career within a local organisation, gives us a success story to share with others.”

With the increase in demand for homes and buildings throughout the country, TimberTight set its sight on working with residential and commercial property developers throughout West Yorkshire. It has quickly become established as a credible brand and is responsible for self-build, social housing, local government projects and commercial structures.

For further details about TimberTight and its innovative approach to construction please visit: www.timbertight.com and for information about the practical and funding support that can be accessed through AD:VENTURE please visit: www.ad-venture.org.uk.

Funding boost for Wakefield tech company helps turn a concept into reality

What started out as a first-year university project for students at Backstage Academy (Production Park) in Wakefield, has transformed into a commercial spin-out, Interactive Immersive Classroom Ltd. as a partnership with Enquire Learning Trust and Production Park.

Using £11,000 in match-funded grants from AD:VENTURE, the European Regional Development funded programme of practical and financial support for young businesses in the Leeds City Region, the start-up purchased projectors that would allow for the system to be perfectly optimised and integrated in initial feasibility testing.

Turning the concept of immersive spaces within learning environments into a reality, in its initial precommercial phase, the business created and installed three immersive classrooms in schools in Grimsby, Stockton-on-Tees and Manchester.

Using integrated advanced technologies from the Live Events industry, Interactive Immersive Classroom has installed projectors within each school to deliver a 360-degree socially immersive experience.

An evolution of virtual reality technology, these immersive classrooms improve the social engagement and comprehension among pupils and provide a suite of new tools and content sources to allow flexibility in teaching practice.

Working with pedagogical curriculum consultants and with the integration of streaming and casting tools means that a world of internet media and content can now be mapped into the room for a dynamic and engaging learning environment.

Project Manager for Interactive Immersive Classroom, Andy Delmaine, comments: “Children are growing up surrounded by technology, they know no different. Creating an environment where they are able to immerse themselves into a world that is built around them makes the learning experience all the more engaging.

L-R James Whitaker, Andy Delmaine and Charlie Cooper. Image by Northern Exposure

“We would like to thank AD:VENTURE for the support and encouragement they have given us. Using the funds to complete the viability tests meant that we could show the product as an installation and all the benefits it can deliver in support of our initial installations in partnership with ELT. The company is now exploring other sectors that could benefit from the technology including museums, retail, emergency services and other training providers.

Andy comments: “We are looking to extend our relationship with other schools that want to try new things and embrace innovative ways of teaching. We are now using these installations as case reference as we commercialise the system and to sell it to other institutions that could benefit from immersive content on their walls.”

Tom Stannard, Wakefield Council’s Corporate Director for Regeneration and Economic Growth, comments: “We are delighted that start-up businesses in Wakefield are developing market-leading digital technologies. This is a real success story and I’m encouraged to hear that the business is now working with the wider city region to transfer their knowledge and technology.

“Taking a concept that was developed from a university project and turning that into a viable business model that has secured commissions is real testament to the collaboration and commitment of all involved; Interactive Immersive Classroom, Backstage Academy, Production Park, Enquire Learning Trust and AD:VENTURE.”

For further details about the visual technologies and installations that can be delivered by Interactive Immersive Classroom please visit http://immersiveclassroom.one/ or for details about AD:VENTURE and the practical and funding support on offer please visit www.ad-venture.org.uk

Success for small businesses in Yorkshire in Leeds Beckett awards

A Leeds Beckett University student with a therapeutic horticulture social enterprise, an e-learning training business and an all-female multimedia production company are among the winning entries in the 2019 Business Advantage Awards.

Five early-stage businesses scooped the awards – run by Leeds Beckett University in partnership with solicitors Lupton Fawcett, WGN Accountants and Yorkshire Bank – with each of them receiving £5,000 worth of legal support and mentoring. £1,000 of accountancy advice and 36 months’ free business banking.

The awards were presented on 25th March at the Innovation Network event in Leeds. These quarterly events are held at each of the University Businesses Centres in Leeds, Halifax and Wakefield and bring together start-up and early stage businesses to explore key themes and make connections.

Candle Digital, set up by Andy Jack and Mark Langdale, were delighted to be rewarded with a prize just 2 years after starting up. Working with training providers and coaching professionals Candle Digital provides expertise to help create digital training products online. The business has recently taken office space in the Leeds Beckett University Business Centre in Halifax.

Andy Jack, Candle Digital said; “We’re thrilled to have been given this opportunity, the awards, expertise and support will make a real impact on our business and help us take the next step in our growth.” 

Other winners included Krishna Patel owner of Dilishque, a manufacturer of authentic curry paste pots, Sophie Mei Lan Hale from Evoke Media Group, a film and media production company, Lemonbalm a therapeutic horticulture social enterprise run by student Isabel Swift and Binary Forge Ltd, a new software consultancy business specialising in Internet of Things devices recently set up by Glenn Pugh and Matthew Roberts.

The Business Advantage Awards began in 2015 and are open to students and graduates of Leeds Beckett (within five years of graduation), clients of the University’s Business Centres in Leeds, Wakefield and Halifax and businesses receiving support from AD:VENTURE – a European, ERDF funded programme which helps early stage businesses in the Leeds City Region to grow.

Simon Baldwin, Head of Research & Enterprise at Leeds Beckett University said ‘We are delighted to work again with our partners Lupton Fawcett, WGN and Yorkshire Bank on our annual Business Advantage Awards which have now provided invaluable support to over 25 early stage businesses in the last 4 years. The number and standard of entries continues to grow each year and we look forward to working with this years cohort’

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 TheBusinessDesk.com, 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!