Tag: Accelerator

12 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of A Start-Up Accelerator Programme

We’ve already completed week three of our Spring 2021 Northern Max Accelerator programme, where we’re providing 11 weeks of intensive mentoring, support and investment to 18 young digital and technology focused businesses.

With just seven weeks left until pitch day, here are 12 quick tips to help any start-up get the most out of an accelerator programme.

  1. Make the most of the accelerator’s network

A strong business network is key to the success of your company – and an accelerator program offers you an unrivalled opportunity to quickly grow this essential professional asset.

Accelerators bring together the best minds from across many different industries, so connect with as many of these key people as possible.

The network you grow will help accelerate your company after the program. It will support you with your current business and all your subsequent businesses. It’s your resource and your set of shortcuts around the business world.

So, don’t be shy, become a networking machine – and start as early in the programme as you can. Connect directly or ask for introductions. The other cohort members, mentors, investors and stakeholders – all of them should become nodes in your network.

But remember, good networking is driven by giving, not taking, so always think about how you can help those you connect with.

  1. Help your cohort and ask your cohort for help

The great thing about being on an accelerator programme is that your fellow cohort businesses are often very different and have their own challenges to solve. So, if you’ve experienced some of these challenges before, offer your insight.

Likewise, if you need help, ask. Someone in your cohort may be an expert in an area where you need advice or have been through a problem you’re facing.

  1. Be open to mentorship

Tune in to everything the experts and mentors running the programme say. Challenge them and ask as many questions as you can. Be open to their advice, even if this means pivoting your business or making significant changes to your model.

After all, these experts are investing their time and energy in you – and their goal is in line with yours. Plus, they’ve been through it all before and have the knowledge and experience to help your idea becomes a sustainable business

  1. Be engaged and stay engaged

Take full advantage of the meetings, events, and life at the accelerator. You might just meet a pivotal individual or discover an idea that transforms your business.

Try to participate fully in the accelerator’s program — even the activities that don’t seem relevant to your business. You’re there to try new approaches and push the envelope. If you’re not doing that, you’re not making the most of this opportunity.

  1. Be proactive and take full advantage of this experience

Your accelerator will fly by, and you’ll only have a brief period to make the most of the resources available to you. So, throw yourself into the entire experience and squeeze as much out of it as you can. Attend all the sessions and workshops and proactively engage with the mentors. And don’t wait for the programme’s team to chase you – you should be chasing them!

  1. Take it seriously

With accelerator programs, you’ll likely be working in an environment where the rules are relaxed. Remember though that the programme team are focused on results, and you should be too.

As with any mentorship, it’s important to dedicate yourself fully to the experience. If your program gives you assignments, do the work and do it well. Attend any meetings fully prepared to ask targeted questions. Take coaching calls seriously by having a goal set for each session. Don’t over-invest yourself in anything else while enrolled in the program. Make the time to make it work.

  1. Make it your own

Remember, there is no road map for entrepreneurship so aim to get from the accelerator what you need to progress and grow. The experts will respond well when you think outside the box and ask for things that aren’t part of the standard program.

  1. Be prepared to pivot

Don’t let your enthusiasm for your business idea overshadow the facts. Don’t be afraid to adjust your solution on the fly as the market’s real pain becomes apparent. Your accelerator is a supportive environment to do this.

  1. Test, test and test your idea

Don’t be afraid to experiment and ask big questions of your business. You’re surrounded by people who are actively supporting you and want your business to succeed.  Your mantra should be ‘test, test, test’ – and that applies to all aspects of your company.

  1. Give feedback

If you want things in your accelerator to work better, feedback your ideas or concerns to the programme team. It’s better to do this during the course of the program than simply complain at the end. It’s also a way for you to help the next batch of start-ups. Previous cohorts probably helped make your program better too.

  1. Check your ego

When participating in the programme, check your ego at the door and switch to a full growth mindset. You may be sceptical of what you will learn but you’ll soak up so much more if you’re fully open to what the programme has to offer. So actively listen, participate as often as possible, and take notes!

  1. Enjoy yourself!

Entrepreneurs go through plenty of ups and downs. That’s true of the accelerator period as well, but a good accelerator is there to help make the difficult days less terrible and the good days even better. Much like sixth form or university, you’ll look back at this period as one of your start-up’s golden ages. So, work hard, progress quickly, but enjoy it while it lasts.

 

Special thanks to Greenborough Management who created this blog for the Northern Max Accelerator, delivered for AD:VENTURE and Bradford Council.

Northern Max Accelerator – Meet the Spring 2021 Cohort!

We’re delighted to introduce the Spring 2021 Northern Max 10×10 Accelerator cohort.

These young digital and technology focused businesses joined the Accelerator programme from more than 23 applicants and we wish them a warm welcome to the Northern Max community.

At this time of COVID-19 we’re doubling down in our efforts to deliver Accelerator programmes that are both valuable and timely. The current pandemic has presented a whole new set of challenges for early-stage founders, so we’re excited to help our cohort businesses launch and scale and provide them with an online space to come together in a peer-support driven environment.

Over the ten weeks of the programme, the cohort will be offered a range of practical support, specialist workshops and expert mentoring as well as opportunities to access grants and the chance to pitch for potential investment.

They will also benefit from the support and expertise of Rav Panesar, Digital Enterprise Advisor at Bradford Council.

Northern Max Accelerator is being delivered virtually by Greenborough Business Management’s 10×10 accelerator programme in partnership with Bradford Council and AD:VENTURE, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Our new cohort’s details can be viewed below – take a look to see the wide range of businesses we’re supporting this Spring:

Beanie Media are a web design agency designing eCommerce solutions for businesses and retail brands who wish to sell their products online. They also provide online promotional services to support their clients.

Co-founder Melissa Roberts says:

“Beanie Media is a young digital agency, experienced in generating business growth through technology.

Youth is our point of difference in terms of the experiences we create. We bring together the brightest minds in digital marketing to keep brands at the forefront of what is possible. We use modern practices to craft experiences that are intuitive, engaging, impactful and enlightening.”

Brio Digital deliver IT solutions to businesses via staff or an associate model offering. An ethical brand, Brio works with specialist sectors, such as health technology, with three main areas of service – leadership, engineering and delivery.

Core Prescribing Solutions are a dynamic healthcare organization providing tailor-made primary care packages through a fully managed pharmacist or technician-led model suited to the needs of GP practices, primary care networks, GP federations and Clinical Commissioning Groups, reducing NHS reduce workload pressures and improving efficiencies.

Director of Business Development & Strategy, Adeem Azhar says: “Core Prescribing Solutions (CPS) is a dynamic healthcare organization that has amassed over 20 years worth of combined experience within the NHS, primary care, health informatics and pharmacy sector. CPS provides tailor-made primary care packages through a fully managed pharmacist or technician-led model suited to the needs of GP practices and clients in order to reduce workload pressures and streamlining inefficiencies. CPS can support with real life data driven solutions to improve patient outcomes and digitize healthcare”

Grapepedia is an interactive e-commerce site providing customers with detailed information about their wine of choice and local stock availability. There is also the option to buy wine directly from the site as well as membership of the Grapepedia wine club.

INC 360 is a community interest company tackling youth loneliness and promoting positive mental health through community events using immersive video.

Founder Steph Varley says “INC360 is a Community Interest Company looking to support young people experiencing loneliness and isolation, by connecting them to community events using immersive video. Currently funded by money raised through a successful Crowdfunder in summer of 2020, we are focussing on developing our research to enable a service for children and young people in a variety of situations, bringing the Yorkshire community closer to them and their families in a safe and accessible way.

We support our service users by promoting open conversations with family and friends, building their confidence and relieving the anxiety felt around getting back involved in social gatherings. We combine discussion, hands-on activities and immersive technology to develop young people’s resilience, all whilst letting them have some fun.”

Intentionally Left produce sound art on a large scale for publicly funded projects. They are currently developing a subscription model app to deliver music and video for people live streaming in their homes, creating the kind of immersive experience that has disappeared due to the current pandemic.

iStreetShop is an e-commerce company born of a drive to support local shops and keep people shopping locally rather than through purely online retailers. Though providing a solution similar to Amazon, iStreetShop only sells products from retailers with a bricks and mortar shop.

Toby Butcher, founder, says “iStreetShop allows Bricks and Mortar Stores to put themselves easily online and helps to increase the sales conversion rate and footfall in their Shop.

With the help of iStreetShops unique built-in geolocating software, iStreetShop helps Shoppers find Products and Shops near to them, and allows Shoppers to either buy via Click and Collect or to add Products to their Shopping List for when they are next in town.

By creating a single online marketplace for Bricks and Mortar Shops, iStreetShop provides a platform for Shops to compete and fight back against Online Retailers, without having to turn themselves into Online Retailers. iStreetShop deals with the Online site maintenance and advertising (Google, Bing, Instagram, Facebook, etc), while allowing Shop Owners to add or remove Products from their Online Shop, initiate Sales and update Product availability in real time from their Phone or Computer.”

JB Digital specialises in Digital Transformation and Technology Modernisation programmes for businesses but looking to grow to deliver to both the public and private sectors.

Digital agency Jublo provide a full range of digital services from digital strategy to website design and build. They are also a certified translation agency, helping clients take products to market both in the UK and internationally.

Founder and MD Joshua Atkins says

“Jublo is a certified UK translation and digital agency and we work with a team of over 160 people across 39 countries from developers to linguists to project managers which allows us to work with experts in their fields. We’re an incredibly agile and scalable company which allows us to adapt to the needs of our clients and this approach has seen us work with social media giants such as Facebook, leading online retailers as well as smaller automation and IT companies based in Leeds. We develop long-term relationships with all our clients and our team are empowered to work flexibly around their commitments and lives.”

Legend Communications are an internet services and telecoms provider, that also provide data centre services. They launched an Internet Exchange in Bradford in November 2020 and there are plans to build a new data core network to deliver even faster connectivity for business.

Leuly PR are a PR and marketing consultancy, working predominantly with clients in the digital and technology B2B sectors. Expanding rapidly, they offer a range of services including strategic public relations, creative social media campaigns and photography.

MobiFuel is the first on demand fuel delivery service in the North, delivering to private and corporate clients through an app.

Director Murad Mirza said “MobiFuel is the first on-demand fuel delivery service in the North. Just think, the Uber of fuel. Simply put, we bring the petrol station to our customers, saving them time and money. For businesses this means no more hidden costs typically associated with fuel cards, better productivity, increased revenues and a greener way of refueling their fleet. For residential customers, no more waiting around in petrol station queues! Whether at work, gym or at home, just tap on our app and have us fill up your car”

Navant Lighting develops bespoke lighting and lighting components for RVs, motorhomes and boats.

Orcula provide event technology, registrant and delegate management and event websites. They have developed a new onsite badge printing and registration system, and they are now developing that to facilitate contactless events, through facial recognition and other technologies.

Out of Place Studio are a full-service digital design agency specialising in the cultural sector. Due to COVID-19, they had to pivot their market and are now aiming to develop more digital products and services.

Sched Ltd have developed a B2B booking and membership platform aimed at the fitness sector, but with broader applications.

Joel at Sched says “Sched (as in schedule) is a booking and payments platform – features include recurring scheduled events, one off events, pre-recorded video content as well as live broadcast events, monthly memberships and payments – built by industry experts to support fitness and wellness businesses, using cutting edge technologies and securely hosted in the Amazon Web Services cloud. The platform provides all the tools necessary for a small or large business to succeed – to acquire, engage and retain your end customers. As a team we are highly customer led with a published product roadmap, taking suggestions and votes on new features. We can also help out with bespoke marketing websites or implementation services to truly embed our platform within your business and give you the best chances of succeeding.”

Tribus IT deliver project management in software, particularly around agile software, as well as software testing.

James Clark, director says: “TribusIT is an IT services company. We have two main areas of specialisation;

  • Atlassian Software configuration, support and licensing, including the popular Jira, Confluence and Service Desk products – we’re Atlassian’s only solutions partner in Yorkshire
  • Non-Functional Testing services, including Performance, Resilience, Monitoring, IT Ops procedures and Security

We’re based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and serve clients all over the UK.”

And that’s the 2021 Cohort.

We’ll be sharing the progress of the businesses and the programme, so watch this space for updates!

Yorkshire business support programme shortlisted for financial award

A Yorkshire business support programme, which has helped hundreds of new businesses, has been shortlisted for a financial award.

AD:VENTURE, which helps ambitious new businesses trading for less than three years in North and West Yorkshire, is one of the finalists in the Yorkshire Financial Awards 2021. It is shortlisted in the Accelerator category alongside others including Barclays Eagle Labs and Natwest Accelerator.

Programme manager Sarah Carling said:

“Every day at AD:VENTURE our team and partners work hard to support the ambitious, innovative and resilient entrepreneurs we have here in Yorkshire. We were delighted to have that hard work acknowledged by being invited to enter these awards and even more delighted to be shortlisted.”

The awards, now in their fourth year, are designed to highlight the excellence of individuals, teams and organisations connected to finance across Yorkshire. Other finalists include Lloyds Banking Group, Leeds Building Society and Chase de Vere. The final will be held online on February 25.

AD:VENTURE has provided more than £1.7m in grant funding and helped more than 3,500 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region since its launch at the end of 2016.

The programme offers workshops, masterclasses, one-to-one mentoring and access to finance. Since the first lockdown, delivery has switched to online, with over 100 online events, attended by more than 1300 delegates.

“The last year has been particularly tough for businesses, and we know that the support the programme provides has been more important than ever.” said Sarah

“The last year has been tough for businesses and we know how important our support is. We have moved mountains to keep on delivering and have actually seen the number of enquiries up by nearly a third,” said Sarah.

“We have continued to run our services and be there for businesses. And despite Covid we have seen amazing success stories. We know that every success story leads to a boost for the local economy and ultimately AD:VENTURE is all about helping the local economy.”

Plans for this year include a new scheme called Elevate for businesses in Kirklees, with advice available from academics at Huddersfield Business School, and Northern Max for young digital and technology-focussed firms in Bradford, a scheme that has already been run successfully three times.

AD:VENTURE is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with funding and delivery partners across the Leeds City Region, including the region’s nine local authorities, the Business Enterprise Fund, Leeds Beckett University, West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.

There are eligibility criteria and some sectors, including retail, are not eligible, but among the companies that have been given support are those offering training, HR support, digital and design services, specialist manufacturing, health and wellbeing, and electrical services.

For more information on AD:VENTURE go to https://ad-venture.org.uk/

For more information about Yorkshire Financial Awards, or to watch the event online, go to www.yorkshirefinancialawards.co.uk

Image – Andy Jack and Mark Langdale of Candle Digital – Previous AD:VENTURE Clients.

Northern Max backing Bradford startups for 2021

Young digital and technology focussed firms in Bradford are being encouraged to sign up for a free business support programme to help them accelerate their growth.

The popular Northern Max Accelerator, launching early 2021, will be delivered online and is for businesses that are pre-start or less than three years old with growth ambitions.

The programme will offer a range of practical support and provides opportunities to access grants, specialist workshops, and expert mentoring over ten weeks, as well as the chance to pitch for potential investment at the end of the programme. Delegates will also benefit from the support and expertise of Rav Panesar, Digital Enterprise Advisor at Bradford Council.

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This programme has already proved itself with some tangible success stories, so we are delighted it is being offered to businesses again.

“Times are really hard for small businesses right now and we are determined to give them the support they need to survive and grow. A buoyant economy is so important to the city and to the region, and never more so than in these times of Covid.”

Twenty one companies took part in the Northern Max programme when it was run earlier this year. Seven of the businesses were supported to bring a product to market; four were successful in applying for AD:VENTURE grant funding of more than £14,000, and one was supported to apply for a £50,000 Bounceback loan. In total the cohort created 13 new jobs.

Many of the companies also forged formal and informal collaborations, such as sharing best practice, sharing contacts and making plans to bid collaboratively for tenders.

Among those who have benefited from the Northern Max programme is Rachel Mather, who launched her bid consultancy firm &Mather early in 2020 and had this to say about her experience

Rachel said: “This is such a brilliant programme for any digital tech business owner seeking to become stronger, scale up and continue to grow. It’s immersive, experiential, thought provoking, and delivered by an incredible range of leaders, mentors and peers”

Masterclasses and one to one mentoring will be available using a host of business experts including Sharon Jandu of The Northern Asian power list and Jag Panesar of Xpand Marketing. In addition there will be weekly workshops on key topics including developing your business model; business goal setting; partnerships and collaborations; business finance, and funding and growth strategies.

Northern Max Accelerator will be delivered virtually by Greenborough Business Management’s 10×10 accelerator programme in partnership with Bradford Council and AD:VENTURE, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Since AD:VENTURE started at the end of 2016 it has helped more than 3,500 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region, and approved more than 160 grants.

To register your interest or for more details on the Northern Max Accelerator, visit https://ad-venture.org.uk/northernmaxaccelerator/

For more details about AD:VENTUIRE go to https://ad-venture.org.uk/