A digital marketer who made the move to start her own agency in Leeds in the middle of a pandemic is already taking on staff as her new businesses grows.
Rebecca Hopwood moved into an office in Morley in December and has taken on an apprentice, with plans to take on another member of staff in the next few months.
Her company, Youbee Media, offers marketing services including social media, blog writing, online advertising, websites and email marketing.
“I started Youbee Media because I saw an opportunity to help businesses who may be affected by the pandemic to not only ‘ride it out’ but to actually do better than the previous year.
“I realised that many businesses needed help with their communications and simply didn’t know where to start,” said Rebecca, who has a degree in media and marketing from Leeds Trinity University.
The company, which has been given support by the AD:VENTURE business support programme, already represents 12 brands and works with clients including Saltaire Brewery, DTX Network Services and Yonda Sports.
Before the pandemic Rebecca had been commuting an hour and half each day to her job at an agency where she had worked since 2014. The lockdown made her re-assess her priorities.
“I had always wanted to run my own business. And working from home and seeing the world change in 2020, I decided that it was the time to act, be brave and make my stamp on the world,” said Rebecca.
As soon as she left her previous job, Rebecca turned to AD:VENTURE for help. She was given her own business mentor, the chance to attend workshops on everything from PR to legal matters, and a grant of £2,300 which she used to buy office equipment and furniture.
AD:VENTURE helps ambitious new businesses trading for less than three years in North and West Yorkshire, and has provided more than £1.7m in grant funding since its launch at the end of 2016. In that time it has helped more than 3,500 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and a number of regional partners including the areas 9 local authorities.
Rebecca said “I always wanted to have my own business, but was never confident enough to do it. But knowing that support was there really gave me that confidence and I knew I was not alone. Even knowing that I could have a mentor and share my concerns, plans and aspirations took some pressure off. I am so grateful for AD:VENTURE,”
“AD:VENTURE has given me the encouragement to keep going, when I could have quite easily given up. It has supported me financially, but also emotionally. I recommend the programme to any young businesses that I come across.”
Cllr Mary Harland, Executive Board Member for Economy & Culture at Leeds Council said: “Success stories like Rebecca’s show that even in the middle of a pandemic it is possible to start and grow a business if you have a good idea, the ambition to succeed and the right support in place.
“This is why it is so important for programmes like AD:VENTURE to support the private sector, especially in these difficult times, as ultimately the region’s social and economic wellbeing depends on our businesses thriving.”
For more information about AD:VENTURE go to https://ad-venture.org.uk/