Category: News

BEF Helps Learning Mentor Make Her Mark

BEF Helps Learning Mentor Make Her Mark

Thursday 7th October 2019

Andrea Page helps young children find their inner mojo thanks to a Start Up loan from BEF.

Andrea Page is a learning mentor based in Leeds, West Yorkshire with a passion for helping young children across Yorkshire learn new skills essential to their success within the education system and the world at large.

“The world we live in is so challenging and different from when I was young, I see so many children struggling to come to terms with this environment” she says. “My biggest joy is knowing that I make a difference to a child’s life now and in the future.”

As a learning mentor, Andrea works with children aged 5-8 within primary schools as well as running independent classes. She uses a blend of child psychology, art, music, breathwork and stories to equip young children with the tools and strategies in which to express their emotions safely and effectively.

Like many start-up business owners, Andrea’s initial challenge was to acquire the finance to setup her business and complete the required accreditation to become an Inamojo™ facilitator.

Thanks to a £6,000 Start Up loan delivered by BEF in December 2018, Andrea setup her business, completed the required Inamojo™ accreditation and banked enough cashflow for the early months of trading.

Speaking of her experience with BEF, Andrea said: “The loan allowed me to bring my dream to fruition. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to start my business. Rupert Shires, my Start Up Loan Manager has been awesome. He took time to understand my project and then provided easy to understand and practical advice, not only about getting the loan but how best to survive the early stages of a new business.”

Rupert Shires, Start Up Loans Manager at BEF, said: “It was a pleasure to work with Andrea as Inamojo™ is an innovative and exciting programme that makes a demonstrable difference in the lives of young children. I wish Andrea every success as she works to impact the lives of young children.”

Andrea offers good advice to anyone dreaming of starting a business: “If you have a dream to make a difference in the world, there are organisations out there who will support you. You might think that you don’t have the experience or expertise to start your own business but there is support out there if you only go out and find it.”

For more information on the Inamojo™ wellbeing program visit http://inamojo.com/ or email Andrea at apagealt@gmail.com.

Story taken from: www.befund.org

Help Shape The Leeds City Region’s Local Industrial Strategy

Enterprise partnership seeks input on ambitious plan for future of region’s economy

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is asking for feedback from businesses, other organisations and individuals to help shape the region’s Local Industrial Strategy.

Following consultation throughout the summer, involving input from hundreds of people across the City Region, as well and national and international experts, the LEP has identified key priorities for the Local Industrial Strategy.Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the NP11, said:

“The Local Industrial Strategy is an ambitious plan to improve productivity and support businesses and skills across the City Region. Working in partnership across the region and beyond, we have identified the top priorities the Local Industrial Strategy will address, with a focus on healthy lives for all.

Good health is the cornerstone of productivity and will be a key driver in promoting productivity, wellbeing and growth.

We are in the process of developing these draft priorities into the final Local Industrial Strategy and are very keen to hear from individuals, businesses and other parties. I would urge everyone with a view on to give feedback through our online survey.”

The Local Industrial Strategy is a long-term plan for Leeds City Region, designed to boost productivity, build on the region’s strengths, improve people’s skills and help businesses grow while tackling the climate emergency, so all communities can prosper and benefit from a strong economy.

The LEP has identified the following priorities for the Local Industrial Strategy:

  • Supporting businesses to meet the challenges of the future economy and create good quality jobs, to support progression and promote inclusivity
  • Accelerating economic growth across the City Region through technology and innovation
  • Building on the successes of the globally important healthcare sector as a source of good jobs and growth
  • Making sure the environment promotes healthy, active lifestyles and is fit for future generations to enjoy
  • Skilled people, in good jobs, with access to training to help build and sustain their careers
  • Healthy, modern communities where everyone living and working in the region can reach their full potential

To make sure the Local Industrial Strategy addresses the issues that matter most to the region’s businesses and employers, the LEP is calling for feedback on its draft policies and priorities through an online survey.

The results of the survey will influence the final strategy, which is expected to be submitted to Government by the end of the year. The survey will be open for comment until 18 November and is available here: https://www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/lis

The priorities in the Local Industrial Strategy have been developed after consultation to understand what matters to the people who should benefit from its work. Since the beginning of the year, the LEP has engaged with over 750 people at more than 50 events in person and online, worked with businesses, schools and community groups from across the region, as well as politicians and national and international experts.

All local enterprise partnerships in England have been asked to produce a Local Industrial Strategy for their area, setting out how they will boost productivity and respond to four ‘grand challenges’ identified in the Government’s national Industrial Strategy White Paper.

Wakefield Launches New Stimulating Strategic Marketing Series

Wakefield Council have been working closely with new businesses across the city and have heard the crucial calling for a comprehensive guide to Strategic Marketing in 2019 and beyond, and so here it is!

Market Me takes you right back to basics where you can either start from a blank slate, or build upon an early developed plan. Wherever your start-up business is in it’s marketing evolution, this 5 day series will educate, challenge and inspire your next steps in marketing your business and identify essential gaps that could expand your business to new levels of success.

Market Me is a strategic marketing series for new business who are serious about scaling.

Delivered by BrownDog Agency for AD:VENTURE, MarketMe will help Wakefield based start-ups and scale-ups who are trading B2B to take their products and services to market more effectively.

Combining interactive and thought-stimulating exercises with real world experience of the marketing mix, the series will take you from a start point of explaining your challenges, to matching your business to changing national and global circumstances,
carving out a point of difference for you to take to market, and equipping you with the most effective tactical skills and content with which to acquire new business.

 13 November Market Me – Session 1 Environment Mapping – Understanding our world

 20 November Market Me – Session 2 Who Are You? – Creating a stand-out Professional Profile

 28 November Market Me – Session 3 CO-STAR – Turning ideas into reality

 4 December Market Me – Session 4 Marketing Planning – Anticipating and Delivering Customer Wants, Profitably

11 December Market Me – Session 5 Content Marketing – The Mainstay of the Thought Leader

 

If you want to contact sector development managers Cara Brundle or Keith Evans directly, just drop them an email.

The AD:VENTURE programme is supported by the 2014 – 2020 European Regional Development Fund.

The AD:VENTURE programme delivers ERDF funded growth support to existing businesses in their first 3 years of trading and for people planning to start a business within the Leeds City Region.

Accelerate! Taking Leeds City Region Start-ups to a New Level

This October saw the launch of Accelerate, a brand-new six-month accelerator led by Leeds Beckett University and funded by its partner- AD:VENTURE – a scheme working to connect universities, local councils, chambers and private sector businesses in the Leeds City Region (LCR).

The programme gives companies access a vast and diverse array of support in a succinct, structured way, taking each business on a growth journey to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to lead achieve positive, sustainable growth.

With four workshops interspersed with one-to-one mentoring, specialist coaching, and round-the-clock support, Accelerate covers everything from sales, HR and business planning to growth strategy and exit.

But this is no ‘one size fits all’. Every programme is tailored to match the businesses’ unique needs and ambitions, with Deb Hetherington, Innovation Manager at Leeds Beckett University, key account managing each one to ensure they get the right support for them.

This unique approach takes the programme bespoke, with tailored programmes of workshops, mentoring, opportunities for student placements and consultancy projects designed on a case-by-case basis after a one-to-one diagnostic process with Deb.

Accelerate has secured three years’ worth of funding, and in that time, it hopes to put nine cohorts of 10 companies through the programme. The businesses will have ongoing relationships with the university when their six months are up, as well as access to legal advice and a funding matrix to map their next step.

To be eligible for Accelerate, you must be less than three years limited, based in the LCR and work in the B2B space. A large part of the programme’s wider ambition is around enabling the University to offer student placements in high-growth businesses, so the team is on the lookout for companies with genuine potential to develop – fast.

Accelerate is all about connecting up a rich tapestry of individuals and institutions to create real, tangible benefits for the whole LCR, with a bold target of getting between 90 and 100 businesses to the point where they can hire someone – all over the course of six months. The underlying goal is, of course, to increase businesses’ turnover, resulting in more jobs and economic improvement for the whole region.

With the first cohort already full and a growing waiting list for the second, Accelerate has had keen interest so far – often from start-ups that have the passion, the creativity and the concept, but might lack some of the business acumen to take their business to the next level. That’s where Accelerate come in, armed with knowledge of business, growth and sales strategies and ready to upskill the next generation.

So how to get involved?

Email Deb Hetherington directly at D.J.Hetherington@leedsbeckett.ac.uk, or hit up the AD:VENTURE team at adventure@leedsbeckett.ac.uk. After that, the process is fast and straightforward – an eligibility form and a meeting with Deb, followed by an evaluation process and a yes or no within a week.

How To Attract Customers As A Start Up

You run a fantastic company. You make amazing products or provide a brilliant service. So why are you not getting the customers?

The simple answer is: if people don’t know you exist, they can’t buy from you. And if your competitors are making more noise than you, they will get the business.

At AD:VENTURE we want to help people set up businesses and grow those businesses. And if you want to scale up your business you need to bring in customers. And to bring in customers you need people to know about you.

But all this costs money, you say. Well it doesn’t have to. There are ways and means of getting out there that don’t cost loads of money. They might cost time and effort, but they don’t need to cost you loads of dosh.

Yes, you can pay for advertising to tell people about your business. But there are other ways. Do you use social media? Do you go online and look at websites? And what about magazines, newspapers, radio and TV? You can use all of these channels and you don’t have to pay a lot to get your name out there.

Where to begin? Well, first of all, think about where your customers are and what media they are consuming. Are they on Facebook? Do they read the trade press? Are they local to your business? Or do you sell around the UK or the world?

Let’s start with social media. You don’t have to be on every platform, better to do one or two well than stretch across too many. The most important thing is where are your customers, or potential customers, hanging out?

It might be a LinkedIn group; it might be on Facebook, or maybe your business is very visual and they are on Instagram or Pinterest, or bouncing ideas off each other on Twitter. Wherever they are, go there!

But don’t sell to them; build a relationship. Nobody wants to be sold to, but people like interesting content and useful advice. Use that to your advantage. There is a theory that 80 per cent of your content should be interesting and then 20 per cent can be sales messaging.

People love visuals and particularly video. These days all phones can film video good enough to be used on social media. So how about using video? Or taking photos? But do remember that your online presence needs to reflect your brand values. So, if you are selling something high value, it doesn’t look good if your online presence looks amateurish. It might be tempting to give the social media management to the youngest member of the team, but you must keep in mind that, while it is social and personable, it also needs to be professional.

And what about the traditional press? You can get featured in there too. Journalists and producers are looking for stories to fill space. To put it bluntly they need content, and you can provide that content. So, what can you tell them about your company? It might be the new contract you have just won, the new member of staff you have just taken on or the new product you have developed.

The best way to approach the traditional media is by email and the best way to tell them the story is the good old-fashioned press release. It still works, even in these days of everything being online and connected. Basically, the press release is the story. Tell them who you are, what you are doing, where, when, why and how. That is the story!

Another way to get free publicity is to be an expert on a business topic. You might know all about finance or the law or dogs or exporting, or even just running a business. Whatever it is, journalists and producers may be interested in getting your opinion and your comments on stories. And you will be seen as the expert on that topic, and a person I can trust to do business with. And remember ultimately people do business with people.

And also remember AD:VENTURE is here to give you all the advice you need to grow your business, including how to market it.There are other support programmes out there; ones that are focussed on digital, manufacturing, innovation and productivity, and there are loads of events too to help you meet others and get inspiration. It’s worth a look at the Leeds City Region LEP website to get some more ideas and more support.

After all – you are worth it!

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

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

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

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

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

YES – I’m in!!

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

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

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

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

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

Avoiding Costly Legal Mistakes As A Start Up Or Growing Business

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

So, let’s get started!

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

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

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

  1. Ownership Relations

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

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

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

  1. Terms of Business

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

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

  1. Premises

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

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

  1. Compliance

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

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

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

  1. Employees

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

BEF helps award-winning Agency for Good to grow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

REGION’S BUSINESS GROWTH TO ACCELERATE THANKS TO UNIVERSITY PROGRAMME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TECH START-UP SET TO BE GLOBAL GRAND SLAM

A Leeds-based digital community and performance app for amateur tennis players is preparing for launch thanks to the guidance and support the founders received from AD:VENTURE, the ERDF funded programme supporting start-ups and scale ups throughout the Leeds City Region.

Founded by Cameron Almas and Jake Fox, WeTennis provides the sporting community with a platform that connects players together and allows them to track and display their performance stats against other enthusiasts.

Recognising that tennis players were being underserved by digital propositions, the founders developed a platform that uses match data to deliver advanced analytics and smart matchmaking allowing players to have a unique digital experience, accompanying their passion for the sport.

Understanding the importance of being surrounded by people with valuable experience and expertise, Cameron and Jake approached AD:VENTURE and were connected with professional Business Engagement Manager, Deborah Hetherington.

Jake comments: “I’m from a commercial background and Cameron’s past experience includes tennis retail, but as first-time founders of a business we needed to be connected with the right people to help validate the demand for WeTennis and also access support that could help us to make it happen.

“Deborah was an incredible help. Not only was she very informative and easily accessible, she also had access to a very diverse network of professionals. She connected us with Leeds Beckett University lecturer, Paul Rhodes, who acted as a mentor in the early days of WeTennis and helped us shape the value proposition and route-to-market strategy.”

Jake and Cameron also attended a one-day event in Halifax facilitated by AD:VENTURE, which was a “knowledge sprint” workshop offering a detailed insight into different areas of business, from product development, marketing and securing funds to name a few.

Along with the mentoring support, WeTennis also benefited from the work carried out by a team of students from Leeds Beckett University. The student team worked with WeTennis over a three-month period, conducting consumer market research in order to validate the demand for the product.

Jake comments: “The event in Halifax, which I saw as a ‘knowledge sprint’, showed us how to secure funding, market our product and the process of product development. Following this, the next step was to test and develop the WeTennis prototype.

“Once again, through Paul, a team of students from Leeds Beckett University collaborated with us for a three-month period, adding invaluable insight in how to tweak and change the app in preparation for its launch.”

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, comments: “As well as accelerating the growth of established businesses across the Leeds City Region, the AD:VENTURE programme also helps empower budding entrepreneurs that are taking their first steps into launching brand new ventures.

“The Leeds City Region is becoming one of the UK’s leading hotspots for innovative, tech start-ups and WeTennis is no exception. Both Jake and Cameron are bringing to market an extremely exciting and unique offering, which is why the support, advice and guidance from AD:VENTURE has been so crucial.

“With such a diverse economy, it is great to know there is a programme in place that can offer expert support to start-ups and scale ups that helps them to grow and flourish.”

Following the early support received from AD:VENTURE, WeTennis built a well-rounded business plan which then helped secure £40,000 funding from the Business Enterprise Fund. This funding has been used to build the first version of the WeTennis app and the company has now established partnerships with clubs and universities in the UK and USA.

With the ability to record games, track and display performance analytics and interact with other players, WeTennis is aiming to become sports newest global digital community.

Find out more information about the WeTennis app here: https://wetennis.app/. To find out about the practical and funding support that can be accessed through AD:VENTURE please visit: www.ad-venture.org.uk.