Tag: ACCELERATE

MADEBY.STUDIO

About the company

madeby.studio was set up in 2019 by Matt Wheeler and Sam Taylor, who were both in their final year of a Graphic and Communication Design degree at the University of Leeds.

The creative and digital agency offers services from website design and search engine optimisation through to brand development and motion graphics.

Matt and Sam hit the ground running as they had already picked up freelance clients either before or during their time at university, and had secured free office accommodation at the university’s Nexus building.

They came third in a university business competition, and have since been shortlisted in a Santander business entrepreneur award, Leeds Digital Festival Thrive Awards and are regional finalists in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in the Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year category. They were also listed in the Digital Enterprise Top 100 in early 2021.

Matt and Sam are both concerned about climate change, so use renewable energy where possible and support a scheme that offsets their carbon impact, both for the business and the team’s personal emissions.

 

Project objectives

Matt and Sam approached AD:VENTURE within a few months of setting up because they wanted advice about building a business.

“As soon as we graduated we were thrown in at the deep end and needed to know how do we grow a business, how do we actually make money to survive,” says Matt.

AD:VENTURE introduced them to business mentor Alan Thompson.

“Alan was really helpful for the initial bit of figuring stuff out about where we should take the business. We had both worked in small design agencies in our year in industry. So, we had all the experience in design, but we weren’t knowledgeable about the business side of things, like how do you do marketing, how do you create a sales workflow, how do you gain clients and maintain clients, and how do you work on projects to a budget that is viable?”

As well as being given advice by Alan, the pair went on AD:VENTURE workshops on topics such as the ‘power of the telephone’ and ‘strategic marketing’. They were also accepted onto Accelerate, which is a six-month programme of support run by Leeds Becket University, made up of masterclasses, seminars or webinars and one-to-one support, along with advice on grants and funding.

Matt and Sam also received a grant from AD:VENTURE, which meant the pair could buy new iMacs, needed for a large contract they had just won.

 

Results

The pair successfully completed the contract using their new iMacs. So far it is the biggest contract they have worked on, but they have two large projects in the pipeline.

madeby.studio tripled turnover during Covid, with profit up a very healthy ten times. In September 2020 they moved into Dock Street Workshops in Leeds, which are run by LCVS Enterprises, a not-for-profit company set up to help small businesses.

Matt and Sam have a paid intern and plan to take on a developer in the near future and a designer; meaning they will have more time to bring in new clients.

 

Feedback

“Alan is there if we need him; if we need to just chat through anything, if we are stuck with a plan or we need to bounce an idea off someone.

“He acts as a neutral party. He doesn’t tell us what to do; he won’t give us directions. We’ll say here’s our problem and he’ll outline potential solutions and say you need to figure it out yourself and that is the best way,” says Matt.

“And Accelerate was great for helping us learn new skills from experts and while on the Accelerate course we met people we have gone on to collaborate with, and that’s what AD:VENTURE also does; it helps you build networks across Leeds and the city region.”

Matt adds: “With AD:VENTURE it’s all the different aspects that help. Alan’s advice, the workshops, Accelerate and the funding all work together. Each one was a boost to us. It all really paid-off. I think there’s a correlation there with how much we grew the year after we got this support.”

Leeds law student sees gap in market to launch successful marketing company

A Leeds law student has combined his studies with his love of all things digital to create a specialist marketing agency.

Joel Cortez was working as an intern at legal firms while at Leeds Beckett University, when he saw a gap in the market and set up Intellistart.

“The average marketing agency does not understand the needs of solicitors – or understand the regulations surrounding the profession,” said Joel, who first became interested in social and digital media in his teens.

Having started as a summer intern, Joel ended up working full-time in marketing and deferring his studies. He worked with several legal firms and others in professional services, looking at their branding, website, online paid advertising, email marketing and video marketing, before returning to finish his degree.

In September last year he decided to focus his energies on Intellistart and turned to AD:VENTURE, a business support programme which helps ambitious new businesses trading for less than three years in North and West Yorkshire.

“Many of the companies I approached initially said they had tried marketing and got no results. This often happens with generic marketing agencies who don’t understand the sector,” said Joel.

“But the way we approach it works and leads to brand awareness, because we understand the sector.”

Joel, who came to the UK from the Philippines when he was seven, runs Intellistart with his partner Ewelina Radziewicz, who came from Poland when she was 15.

The company is now working with about 15 legal firms in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and further south. One company that started paying for one online campaign was so impressed they are now paying several thousand pounds a month for 18 campaigns.

As a student Joel was put in touch with AD:VENTURE by the university’s business centre, and accepted onto Accelerate, a programme of support which brings together pre-recorded masterclasses, weekly live webinars and one-to-one support, along with advice on grants and funding.

Accelerate, which is run by Leeds Beckett University on behalf of AD:VENTURE, also features guided learning tasks and access to learning resources and wider support.

Joel said the support given to him by AD:VENTURE, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), was pivotal in growing the business. As well as employing his partner, he has immediate plans to take on two new members of staff, and possibly one more by the end of 2021. He is also considering moving into an office.

“The Accelerate programme really highlighted some of the issues that were starting to show themselves and would be a problem later down the line. One of those was capacity. It got me thinking about taking on more people and building a team,” said Joel, who has also received a grant from the AD:VENTURE programme.

AD:VENTURE has funding and delivery partners across the Leeds City Region, including the region’s nine local authorities; the Business Enterprise Fund; the Prince’s Trust; Leeds Beckett University; West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.

Sarah Carling, AD:VENTURE programme manager, said : “Joel is a great example of the type of entrepreneur we want to encourage in the Leeds City Region; someone who has specialist knowledge, sees a gap in the market and goes for it.

“His success leads to the success of other businesses, which is fantastic, and in time will see him create much-needed jobs. We really do admire the work he has done and want to help more people like Joel succeed, so I would urge anyone starting up in business to get in touch and find out what help is available”

ACCELERATE Goes virtual to boost business recovery

Leeds Beckett University is urging the regions young businesses to sign up for the third cohort of its popular accelerator programme.

Launching in late July, ACCELERATE has been reshaped to address the impacts of COVID 19 and will give SMEs in the Leeds City Region expert help and advice to regain control, build resilience and prepare to embrace the new business landscape.

Businesses accessing the support through Accelerate will benefit from a series of 6 pre-recorded Masterclasses covering key topics such as Re-setting the Business, Re-connecting with Customers and Moving my Finances Forward, all of which can be accessed flexibly as a result of the new virtual delivery style.

The programme also includes a weekly live webinar to explore the Masterclass topics, giving businesses the opportunity to discuss the topics with an academic lead and other businesses taking part.

Those taking part will also have exclusive access to 15 hours of one to one mentoring, supported by guided learning tasks and access to a resource library to help them develop their own Action Plan for recovery.

In addition to this comprehensive offer , ACCELERATE will also provide access to wider University support including student and graduate talent via recruitment, internships and placements and opportunities to collaborate on research projects.

As part of the wider AD:VENTURE business support programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development fund, there will also be opportunity for delegates to access advice and support in applying for grants and funding.

Kirstie Frenneaux, project manager at Leeds Beckett University says, “In these uncertain times, we want to help businesses regain focus, provide them with the skills and knowledge to make informed decisions and give them the confidence and support to get their business back on track’’

Helen Hepworth, founder of Collective Stories Agency said this about her experience of ACCELERATE “I can’t praise it enough. It’s challenging and the content is very strategically driven. You will think of things you have never considered before. There are a lot of lightbulb moments!

It brings focus and clarity and it gave me the tools and skills I needed to scale up. It also introduced me to a lot of other outside agencies too which has been invaluable”

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.

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

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/