Category: News

£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!

 

1, 2, 3 …. Grow

Leeds Beckett University, in partnership with European Funded programme Ad:Venture, ran a business growth workshop at their University Business Centre in Halifax earlier this week.

The day was aimed at young, tech businesses, with a real potential to grow. Prior to the organisation of the event the university asked a wide range of young organisations what support they needed to assist with growth. Using the results from that research, the university business support team went on to design a schedule to provide just that.

The full day workshop, exclusive to 10 tech businesses from across the Leeds City Region, offered 5 one hour slots with experts in the fields of marketing, funding, legal, user experience and business confidence.

Deb Hetherington commented: “Concentrating on the 5 key areas identified from our research allows us to provide the basis for the next stage of growth for these companies. Not only are they gaining expert knowledge transfer, but it’s completely bespoke to their business which is key for businesses at this stage”

Logan Smith, Co-Founder of mental health app Unmasked Mental Health, commented that the day was unique in its setup and provided more bespoke support in one day than several workshops across the year.

Holding events such as this in Calderdale, highlights the variety and geographical reach of exciting young businesses within the Leeds City Region. When UX specialist, and expert advisor, Kelly Moran from Covea Insurance was asked about the startup culture within Leeds City Region he commented;

It feels pretty special; it’s a great place to be with so many great business currently thriving. With a new business, it will always be a challenge to make it successful, but gaining insightful business knowledge from various areas will really help provide an important lift to anyone

There is a wealth of business support out there for young and growing businesses, and Leeds Beckett is clearly a good place to start. The day long workshop was delivered in partnership with Calderdale Council, Leeds Beckett University and AD:VENTURE, the ERDF funded programme that provides support for start-ups and young organisations across the Leeds City Region.

The event took part in Calderdale Enterprise Month, which saw a range of free events and support for businesses across the Calderdale district.

Experts included;

Asad Ali; Gunner Cooke

Dan Rahnavard; Fountain Legal

Toni Gifford; Halston Marketing

James Oshaughnessy; Black & Blue Agency

Karen Bharaj; Peopleist

Frances Day; In the Company of Leaders

Vivien Badaut; Driad

Jeremy Meadowcroft; Angel Groups

Dan Akers; Lightstart Apps

Kelly Moran; Covea Insurance

UK Accolade for Business Enterprise Fund from International Foundation

Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which provides finance and support for new and existing businesses in Yorkshire and the North East, has been given the UK top accolade for its economic and social impact from an international foundation.

Its work has been recognised for making an “enormous contribution to economic growth and the social and environmental vibrancy of the communities it serves,” and for its demonstrable performance towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Part of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, BEF supports SMEs and social enterprises and lent £8.8m to 399 clients in 2018, helping launch 179 new businesses, creating or safeguarding 985 UK jobs. This was delivered alongside 4,000 hours of tailored business support and brought £39m of economic benefit to the regional economy.

BEF’s focus on measuring, demonstrating and improving its impact, including showing how its performance contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, impressed the judges in the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by the Citi Foundation. BEF was named the winner of the “Impact Award” at a national ceremony this week.

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by the Citi Foundation, are the annual celebration of Britain’s microentrepreneurs that have accessed “responsible” business finance – and the providers, like BEF, which work with them.

Responsible Finance providers are a crucial part of the UK’s financial sector and the leading financial institutions offering affordable finance to many small and micro enterprises, and social enterprises.

Stephen Waud, Chief Executive of BEF, said:

“I’m thrilled that BEF’s work supporting businesses and social enterprises in the North of England, particularly in disadvantaged areas within North and West Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East has been recognised.

“Measuring and reporting on our impact has been a key area of focus in the last 12 months and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) align naturally with our ethos as a responsible lender with a social purpose.

“We have set out clear and measurable targets for supporting and increasing our contribution to the UNSDGs and will report annually on progress. Reporting and demonstrating our impact has also enabled BEF to develop relationships and new funding streams, helping to enhance our credentials in the social investment arena. This prestigious accolade is a testament to the work of our team – we’re absolutely delighted.”

Responsible finance providers across the UK, including BEF, lent £85 million to over 5,000 businesses in 2018, and 84% of business customers supported by responsible finance providers were previously turned down by a bank.

Launched in 2005, (and in 2013 in the UK), the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards were established by the Citi Foundation to recognise best-in-class microentrepreneurs and celebrate the responsible finance sector and their contribution to national economies.

The Citi Foundation is committed to supporting and celebrating the responsible finance sector, as well as youth entrepreneurs through its Pathways to Progress initiative that is tackling youth unemployment globally.

“The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards are a celebration of the enterprises and local businesses which are the backbone of our communities. They also recognise the important role responsible finance providers play in supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem, which enables many microenterprises to grow and scale their businesses,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance and Community Development.

“This year’s Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda. Business Enterprise Fund makes an enormous contribution to economic growth and the social and environmental vibrancy of the communities it serves.”

BEF’s accolade is one of just 8 national awards, with recognition given to 4 businesses supported by responsible finance providers, and to 4 providers. One of the microenterprises receiving an award, Spark:York, is also a BEF client: this hub of affordable space for retailers and food businesses in York, created from upcycled shipping containers, was launched thanks to a £190k loan and business mentoring support from the Business Enterprise Fund. It has attracted 500,000 visitors in its first 10 months – and has a £1.8m turnover – and its founders Tom McKenzie and Sam Leach were named the UK’s “young entrepreneurs of the year” in the same awards.

 

Photo: L to R Awards compere, radio presenter Leanne Campbell, Stephen Waud (BEF), Lee Vickers (BEF), Simon Jackson (BEF), Nicolas Kendall (BEF), Amal Gomersall (Citi), Jennifer Tankard (Responsible Finance)

EXPORTING MADE SIMPLE!

An exporting event in Wakefield will support SMEs across the region to explore opportunities to take their products and services to global markets.

EXPORTING MADE SIMPLE! organised by Wakefield First will be held on the 14 March at the stunning Waterton Park Hotel.

Building your confidence and connections, the event will feature an all star line up of industry experts including The Department of International Trade, FSB, the Chamber of Commerce, and exporting powerhouse OE Electrics, who currently export to over 65 Countries!

Ready to tap into new markets? Full details below, but please book to assure your place.

MORE DETAILS:

This event will highlight key challenges local SMEs face when developing export strategies as well as those at the very beginning of their exporting journey!

  • An opportunity to meet the experts highlighting exporting opportunities & demystifying common misconceptions & mistakes.
  • Where are your new markets?
  • What are your routes to well-known markets?

Hear first-hand from local & national experts including;

DIT…The Department for International Trade (DIT) helps businesses export & grow into global markets. They also help overseas companies locate & grow in the UK.

FSB…As experts in business, the FSB offer members a wide range of vital business services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government. Their mission is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions.

Wakefield Council Business Support Team…Strategic Business Growth; A Package of support for high-growth firms to develop and deliver strategic business plans. Includes one-to-one coaching, specialist workshops and peer-to-peer learning.

Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce…The My Export Hub provides expert advice to training and events, they help businesses across Yorkshire wishing to globalise their operations & capitalise on international opportunities. Providing the most competitively priced documentation service in the North.

OE electrics exporters to 65+ countries worldwide…OE Electrics are experts in designing & manufacturing power and data distribution solutions. That’s why their products can now be found in call centres, cafes, hotels, hospitals, airport lounges, sports centres, shopping centres, service-counters, home offices, AV studios & many more – all over the world!

This FREE event is a real opportunity for those new to, looking to start in and/or those businesses looking to take their exporting to the next level!