Boosting the digital sector in Bradford
specialist support to grow and scale
The 2020 Cohort and Case study
We had some truly talented start ups and upcoming new businesses signed up for Northern Max 3! Read our case study to find out how Northern Max helped them shape and build their business. Even in the midst of a global pandemic!
ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
Northern Max Accelerator is a business support programme built around ten workshops, guiding the entrepreneur through from the ideas stage to being able to pitch to a panel of investors.
The overall aim is to help companies in the digital sector to grow and develop the reputation of Bradford and the Leeds City Region as a hub for the technology community.
Northern Max 3 was the third time the successful programme was delivered to start-up businesses; this time with most of the delivery online due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Northern Max 3 was delivered by Greenborough Business Management’s 10×10 accelerator programme in partnership with Bradford Council and AD:VENTURE. Like all AD:VENTURE’s support programme it was open to eligible businesses in the Leeds City Region that are up to three-years-old and was free to those who took part.
The ten workshops covered the themes of:
- The business model
- Goal setting
- Route to market & marketing
- Profiling the customer
- People and resources
- Partnerships and collaborations
- Funding and growth
- Pitch training and experimentation
- The business plan
As well as the workshops, participants were invited to join five ‘masterclasses’, which for this cohort were all also delivered online. The fortnightly masterclasses had a focus that aligned broadly to the workshop that preceded it. They consisted of an hour long “interview” with a specialist thought leader, or inspirational business person, with the opportunity for questions.
The specialists included Jag Panesar, the founder of Xpand Digital Media, a Bradford based marketing agency, who spoke about the trials and tribulations of starting and growing a digital business in the area, and Professor Sankar Sivarajah, the head of the School of Management at the University of Bradford, who talked about the circular economy.
As well as redesigning the course due to Covid-19, the organisers added some additional benefits, including an extra optional workshop run by one of the participants, Live More Offline, which promoted digital health and well-being, and the sharing of template documents, such as non-disclosure agreements and T&Cs.
And to encourage collaboration between the participants, they were even sent chocolate brownies! The cakes were delivered before workshop number 8, so they could all have a shared coffee break experience.
The key aims of Northern Max are:
- Grow the digital sector in Bradford to create jobs and increase profitability
- Establish Bradford as the place to develop your digital business
- Increase collaboration, supply chain and innovation opportunities
- Boost digital capabilities of new and growing business
- Embed a legacy of success for the digital sector
The individuals taking part were given the opportunity to pitch for potential investment at the end of the 10-week programme at the Grand Finale: Live Pitching Event.
Twenty one companies were supported through Northern Max 3. They were chosen after a formal diagnosis process (this time held via Zoom), with 15 companies given full support as above, and a further six given a reduced service including access to recordings of the course materials.
Overall, 13 new jobs were created. Seven businesses were supported to bring a product to market; four were successful in applying for AD:VENTURE grant funding totalling £14,481.00, and one was supported to apply for a £50,000 Bounceback loan.
Many of the companies forged formal and informal collaborations, such as sharing best practice, sharing contacts and plans to bid collaboratively for tenders.
For some businesses hit hard by the impact of Covid-19, such as those in the events sector, the programme has helped them ride the worst of the storm and survive, with future plans for expansion.
“The Northern Max3 programme was great, and I’d have found it even more valuable earlier into my business life. Although I’ve obviously got a lot of experience in business, I thought that the range of workshops within the programme was great.”
“The programme opened by eyes to a number of things that I hadn’t even considered but which are turning out to be really useful – it’s opened my eyes to what I didn’t know. It was really useful to learn from the real-life experiences of the workshop facilitators. They always seemed to have relevant experience to draw on to help us. And the weekly calls with my mentor have been great – he’s helped my understand what we’ve learned and he’s given me some sound advice.”
“The course content was great, and I really enjoyed being able to share experiences and questions with the other participants in the break out rooms. My mentor was really flexible – we spoke every couple of weeks and he was really helpful.”
“Even though we were a virtual group, we bonded incredibly well, and it has been great to see collaborations emerge as well as opportunities that the programme opened up within wider business networks. Having a mentor within the programme to provide 1:1 advice was highly valuable. I’m grateful to have been part of this programme, particularly at such a time of change and uncertainty. The programme has created a connection as a group of fellow entrepreneurs and a wider community.”
“The programme was really good – massively helpful. It was a great refresher in the fundamentals of business and has helped us to scale up. My mentor has been brilliant. I cannot speak highly enough of him.”
“I wanted to learn from experience and that’s exactly what I got! I found the programme very engaging and easy to follow. The courses and masterclasses had the right level of information to challenge one to expand the boundaries of their thinking and often times go back to the drawing board. Russell and the rest of team also flavoured the programme with their excellent delivery and great content.”
MEET THE COHORT!
Some of the participants details can be viewed below – Take a look to see what kind of businesses were supported.
FOUNDER: Alex La Via
61% of managers feel they can’t switch off from digital technology. Whether it is distractions getting in the way of focused work, late night scrolling impacting sleep or social media impacting wellbeing, it all comes down to habits.
Live More Offline supports employee wellbeing, focus and connection by delivering knowledge and tools to change to digital habits. They deliver engaging training via online workshops, live workshops and talks.
FOUNDER: Jo Addison
Kiddieholidays aims to provide ideas and inspiration for parents about the best holidays and days out for babies and toddlers.
I work with holiday companies, cottages, holiday parks, gites etc to promote them to my audience of parents with babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
FOUNDER: Rachel Mather
Bid Management Consultant with 10 years’ experience supporting teams to produce winning responses to secure £90m EU/K funding and grants for the public, private and VCSE sector.
Specialisms include working with businesses (micro-multinational) to develop and implement effective systems and process to improve their ability to identify and produce winning tenders.
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FOUNDER: Verity Clarke
Aubergine is a virtual PR and content agency specialising in food, tech and health. A unique network of dynamic, senior PR experts specialising in food, health and tech headed by former journalists (BBC, Channel 4 News).
Winner of Best New Agency at the PR Moment Awards 2019 and nominated for Best Boutique Agency, Best Media Relations and Best FMCG Campaign 2020 (announced March 2020)
A boutique agency that offers a tailored, personal approach from a senior team, passionate about creating news campaigns that get cut-through with the media.
FOUNDER: Andy Stoner
An award winning specialist electrical safety company. We operate nationally working alongside a vast array of letting and estate agents.
Our aim is to offer a streamlined simple route to electrical compliance. Our extensive knowledge and team of skilled electricians ensure a smooth efficient process from first contact with our amazing office staff to completion of the job.
“A Personal Approach With A Professional Service”
FOUNDER: Neil Brearley
Namdev is a multi-product organisation specialising in automated reception systems, audio visual facilities management products for business, educational establishments and residential care.
We have several years expertise in touchscreens, multi-touch software, visitor management and access control, sensory and immersive spaces, scent delivery and wireless infrastructure.
We span a wide array of products that will assist with the smooth running of property facilities.
REPRESENTATIVE: Rachel Rhodes
The Other Person Consultancy is a brand, design and software development company with offices in Saltaire and Leeds.
We are known for helping our clients increase their impact with the people they need to connect to – emotionally, efficiently and economically.
We have worked with some of the most trusted brands in the world and through thoughtful design and bespoke software development, we have helped their businesses grow.
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