Don’t go just yet though!

If you are looking for help to build your new business, please do get in touch via the main registration page and we can see what other support we have that could benefit you.


This brand new start-up offer has been developed to support people who are embarking on the exciting but challenging journey of founding their own business.

The challenges faced globally in the last 12 months have meant many people have had to re-evaluate their futures. For a variety of reasons, many people are considering starting their own businesses as an option.

Founders Forge has been created to address this growing need in the Leeds City Region area.

We are calling all future founders with big ambitions to take part in this exciting new programme launching in March.

With only 25 places available, this pilot programme will run over 4 months from April to July, and is guaranteed to give you solid foundations on your start up journey.

Founders Forge is an engaging, accessible and easy to navigate programme that will help you, our aspiring founders to forge your killer idea into a viable business before taking the plunge.

Developed and delivered by the brilliant Leeds Beckett team behind ACCELERATE, a successful AD:VENTURE programme for established businesses, you know you’ll be in good hands!!

Founders Forge members will also receive 6 months registered business address for free at one of our University Business Centres.



We know starting a business and making it a success is hard work, but it is not impossible. To give your business the best chance of success, there are some core foundations to consider.

  • The practicalities of how to set up a business, what structure, and how to plan for the journey.
  • Validating the idea:
    • Exploring your market opportunities
    • Understanding your customer
    • Knowing how to effectively pitch your business
    • Understanding your products and pricing
  • How to start, and run, a sustainable business.
    • Know your numbers,
    • Know your knowledge gaps
    • Know your networks

All key aspects to support positive growth.

Focussed on helping you in the earliest stage of your business journey, the pre-start stage, Founders Forge will support you to build firm foundations to give your business the best possible start.

We will do this by giving you access to a self-navigated programme of learning supported by online learning modules. You’ll join interactive and insightful peer to peer sessions, where you can meet other founders at the start up stages, share ideas, challenges and solutions, all in a safe and confidential space.

You’ll also have access to tailored support from a variety of experts which are relevant for your business goals.

Throughout the programme you’ll take part in essential reflective learning and ongoing telephone mentoring.

Here is an overview of the programme timeline and content:

February – Applications will be assessed and participants notified.

March – Successful applicants will have an initial detailed diagnostic with their mentor to help define goals, explore success, understand barriers and determine next steps.

April – Online Learning starts including 3 x 90 minute webinars for cohort 1 with additional guided learning and Peer to Peer sessions to support the webinars

May – Online learning and Peer Groups continues for cohort 2

June – Our mentors will review your proposition and provide Dedicated telephone mentoring to provide feedback and recommendations

July – Expert Access day – All participants will be offered access to investors, entrepreneurs, lawyers, academics, regional support projects and relevant external agencies in individual and group sessions.

Throughout the programme, you’ll also be given access to essential networks and connections for your business.


Interested in joining FOUNDERS FORGE?

Founders Forge Business Programme

If you have:

  • A new business idea
  • A passion to make it happen
  • Big ambitions

Then Founders Forge could be perfect for you.

As we are a funded programme, supported by European Regional Development Funding, some eligibility criteria do apply.

These are:

  • That your business will be based in the Leeds City Region enterprise area
  • That you plan to trade with other businesses
  • That you have ambitions for future growth

Interested in joining FOUNDERS FORGE?

Founders Forge

How do I join?

We are sorry but the programme is now full.

If you want to talk to us about other ways we can help your business at Leeds Beckett University, please call us or email using the details below.

T: 0113 812 5977


Interested in joining FOUNDERS FORGE?

Founders Forge

To find out how we can support your new or growing business

Call or email us at:

T: 0113 812 5977



Founders Forge
Business Address (If applicable – If not, please provide personal address) All fields must be completed.

We can also help you with…













Ready to start your AD:VENTURE?

Register your interest and one of our advisors will be happy to help…







Terms & Conditions

Data Protection Act 1998: The above information you provide may be stored in both manual and electronic formats until 2033.  It will be held to facilitate the services we provide to you or your business and to assist with record keeping, statistical and research purposes, statutory purposes and to facilitate ongoing communication.  Information may be shared with our funders and organisations delivering services on their behalf where it is necessary in the interests of increasing your businesses enterprise prospects and to measure the impact and success of the project.  A full list of these funders and organisations is included below.

Marketing Permissions.  We would like to keep you informed of services and business support that we think may be of interest to you and your business. If in the future you’d prefer not to receive information from us please email and we will ensure you are removed from any future marketing correspondence.

Bradford Council
Business Enterprise Fund
Calderdale Council
Craven Council
Harrogate Borough Council
Kirklees Council
Leeds Beckett University
Leeds City Council
Leeds Trinity University
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Make It York
Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce
Prince’s Trust
Selby District Council
Wakefield Council
University of Bradford
University of Huddersfield
West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce
West Yorkshire Combined Authority (as the accountable body for Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership)

As Data Controller, Please see below statement for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Privacy Notice for the Purpose of Data Collection for ERDF

The UK is updating its data protection legislation and it will come into force on 25 May 2018. The new laws aim to update current data protection legislation including the Data Protection Act 1998, increase the privacy protection of all UK and EU citizens and reduce the risk of data breaches. It will apply to all public and private organisations processing personal data.

The EU Common Provisions Regulations (CPR), and Article 6 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Regulation require the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), as the managing authority for the programme, to monitor and evaluate ERDF-funded activities. In order to conduct monitoring and evaluation (including the summative assessment) and to ensure compliance, the collection of personal data is required.

Who is the data controller for ERDF personal data?

The MHCLG ERDF Managing Authority is the controller for all personal data required to help deliver the ERDF programme under the terms of its ERDF Funding Agreement.

The MHCLG ERDF Managing Authority will be processing personal data in the ERDF programme according to the following lawful basis:

Article 6(1)(e) of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

‘processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller’.

The lawful basis for controlling or processing `special category’ data under ERDF is:

Article 9(2)(g) GDPR

“processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, on the basis of Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject;”

What personal data will be collected?

Depending on the nature of activities of the ERDF-funded project and the indicators listed under each activity, the following information for each direct or indirect beneficiary where these are individuals may be collected:

• Name of contact point within a business (in some cases property owner) engaged with or individual engaged with;

• Address

• Postcode

• Phone number

• Ethnicity

• Disability

• Email address

• Labour market status prior to receiving support and 6 months after receiving support

• Duration of support

• Intensity of support

• Pay details

MHCLG may collect special category data on ethnicity and disability.

Who will my personal data be shared with and how will it be used?

Your details will be stored securely and retained in compliance with GDPR and the new Data Protection Act. This information will be used to evaluate this project and to report to the European Regional Development Fund for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

Your details will be used to support the ERDF programme research and evaluation activities. MHCLG will need to share all or some of your personal data with the national evaluator of the ERDF programme. In some cases, the national evaluator, i.e. independent external contractors commissioned by DCLG, may use the contact details to contact a sample of direct or indirect beneficiaries for the purpose of the National Evaluation of the programme. It is likely that the survey methodology will need to incorporate a variety of approaches in order to maximise the survey response rate (for example, telephone survey, written survey, and e-mail survey) – hence the need for a variety of contact details required for each participant. MHCLG may also need to share with other government departments and the European Commission where this is necessary to test the robustness of the data gathered or to inform the National Evaluation.

MHCLG will not give any personal data to any other organisation unless needed for the purpose of the evaluation and will instruct them not to use it to contact individuals for any reasons not connected with the purpose of the National Evaluation of the ERDF programme 2014-2020 or other matters directly relating to the evaluation. If MHCLG has to pass on the data, it will only provide what is needed, and if possible will remove the details that might identify individuals personally. MCHLG will not transfer personal data outside the European Union, to third countries or international organisations.

MHCLG will not keep your personal data for longer than it needs but as a minimum, will retain data for two years after the closure of the 2014-2020 ERDF programme in line with the European Regional Development Fund document retention guidance to ensure MHCLG meets reporting obligations and to demonstrate compliance with EU


Individual’s rights

ERDF participants cannot claim the following rights in terms of ERDF personal data:

• right to erasure (“right to be forgotten”)

• right to portability of their data

The data collected is your personal data, and you have the right, subject to lawful data requirements:

• to see what data we have about you;

• to ask us to stop using your data;

• to ask us to delete your data, or to correct your data if there is no longer a justification to process it;

• to lodge a complaint with the independent Information Commissioner (ICO) if you think we are not handling your data fairly or in accordance with the law. 

Automated decision making

Your personal data will not be subjected to automated decision making

Contact Details

You can contact the ICO at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Tel: 0303 123 1113


If you would like further information about the programme and your personal information please contact the ERDF Programme at: