Tag: Ad:venture

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.

Five Agency Trade Secrets for Building Brilliant Small Business Websites

Picture of the Other Things Agency

If you’re reading this then you’re probably thinking about building a website for your business. That’s a great start, because if you don’t have a website then you could be missing out on a ton of business that might not come your way otherwise.

Having a well-made website can help with the perception of your brand and help to build trust with your potential customers.

But where to begin? The team at my creative agency, Other Things, has built successful websites for some of the world’s biggest brands. We also work with start-ups that want a shortcut to website excellence.

When we did the brilliant AD:VENTURE Northern Max accelerator program last year, we met a lot of start-up founders who were looking for varying degrees of help with building their own websites. Should they make it themselves or get help from the professionals?

There’s no silver bullet to it, and every business is different, but there are a few bits of advice that apply to many if not most small business website builds.

I’m going to list some of them for you:

1) You CAN Build It Yourself

If you’ve got a social media profile and you know your way around the internet, you can build yourself a website. There are some well-established services out there (such as Wix, or Shopify if you’re looking for an online store) that will hold your hand through the process.

That said, it might be awful and do more harm than good for your brand. I mean, you could tailor yourself a cocktail dress if you really wanted to. Doesn’t mean it will be any good.

Still, if you stick to the pre-defined templates, have a decent eye for design and can string a meaningful sentence together then you should be able to create a simple website that meets your business’ needs.

2) You Don’t Have to Figure It All Out From Scratch

Take a look at your competitors and other businesses that you admire. What are they doing on their websites? What are they doing badly, and what are they doing well?

What ideas can you draw inspiration from that would work with your website and brand?

That’s not to say that you should create a carbon copy of a competitor’s website, or plagiarise their copy and messaging, but you will likely identify some things that you think they do well and then you can put your own spin on them.

3) .co.uk Might Not Be the Way

If the .com domain name that you want is not available, but the .co.uk one is, it still might not be the best option.

People searching for your brand will probably find you either way, but you will inevitably and inadvertently be sending traffic to the .com version of the website domain. Not great, especially if it’s a competitor or a brand that could be mistaken for yours.

It’s still worth buying the .co.uk domain if it’s going cheap, and if you only ever plan to trade in the UK, but better to rack your brains for that .com domain name. Common ways around this are to add ‘we are’ or ‘this is’ in front of a brand name e.g. weareyourbrandname.com

We experienced this at Other Things, and we opted to go for otherthingsagency.com (we also grabbed otherthings.xyz to be what’s known as a ‘vanity URL’, but that’s another story…)

4) Cut to the Chase

When people visit your website, what action do you want them to take or what opinion of your brand do you want them to leave with? Make the fulfilment of these things the filter for all of your website-related decisions.

But don’t beat around the bush. Keep your choice of words and messages short and to the point. Challenge yourself to say what you need to say in as few words as possible, right up front on the home page, so that visitors know exactly what your business offers straight away.

This is your website content, and visitors to your site will form an impression of your brand based upon it.

It’s an area where professional help might be worth investing in if you’ve no experience in writing or producing content for the web. But if you want to DIY then keep it simple. Avoid using crappy Word art or DIY sketches. Stock photography can be great, but some of it is very cheesy. If you don’t think you can tell the difference then rope in someone who can.

And make sure you proofread it ad nauseum. If you’re not confident in that area, have somebody who knows how to properly use an apostrophe take a look at it.

5) Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel

Usability is essentially how well people can use your product to achieve their goal, and websites more often than not are built to a format that is familiar to the average visitor so that they can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

At Other Things we love to see experimentation in this area, but if you’re looking to DIY build yourself a website for your business and you have little experience of doing such things then sticking to the ‘norms’ is your best bet. No need to reinvent the wheel. It will probably just confuse your visitors.

If you use a website building platform (such as Wix, Gator or Squarespace) there are templates and ‘themes’ that are put together with usability in mind. You won’t be winning awards for website innovation, but visitors to your site will have a better chance of navigating around your website nice and easily and developing a positive impression of your brand.

These platforms can also take care of some of the basic nuts and bolts stuff around hosting your website on the internet, and help you avoid pitfalls with potentially baffling things such as optimising it for mobile, SSL certificates, SEO and other acronyms.

So there you have it. The above is by no means comprehensive or universally true, but it might help set you on the right path if you’re considering how to build your small business website.

If you’re going DIY then keep things simple, utilise the templates and simplifying tools available to you and don’t go too left-field with your creative ideas. You’ll learn something and maybe even enjoy it.

And if it’s terrible, at least you tried. Give a good agency or freelancer a call and they’ll see you right.

Matt Hitchcock is the co-founder and Managing Director of Other Things, an alternative creative agency that specialises in producing disruptive advertising and marketing solutions for the gaming and entertainment industries.

www.otherthingsagency.com

Photo credit: Jodie Beardmore (www.jodiebeardmorephotography.co.uk)

AD:VENTURE sees demand up by nearly a third in 2020

AD:VENTURE, which helps ambitious new businesses trading for less than three years in North and West Yorkshire, has helped more than 3,500 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region since it was started at the end of 2016. And this year the enquiries have been up by around 30 per cent. 

Programme manager Sarah Carling said: “We have seen an increase in demand for the programme since lockdown. 

“We have continued to deliver support throughout the year, adapting to deliver virtually where this was needed. Despite the pressures of an extremely challenging business climate, we have seen incredible resilience from the businesses we work with, and a real determination to keep moving and adapting in order to survive and grow. 

We found that one to one advice has been more important than ever, giving the business owners we support a much needed sounding board, but also helping with crucial issues like adapting their business models to cope with current challenges and accessing government funding.”  

This year AD:VENTURE, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has run 116 events, mainly online, to over 1300 delegates. Topics have included strategic marketing, building effective sales, pitching your business and podcasting.  

Since its launch AD:VENTURE has paid out  336 grants totalling just over £1.7m , including funds for purchasing vital equipment and refurbishing premisesThe programme also offers mentoring and support from experts and academics via masterclasses and one-to-one support. 

AD:VENTURE’s  funding and delivery partners are from across the Leeds City Region and include the region’s nine local authorities. 

In 2020 the support has included ‘Northern Max 3’ which was launched in April in Bradford and helped  21 businesses with a mix of masterclasses and mentoring; Accelerate which was run by Leeds Beckett University and helped 40 new and young businesses; the ‘Survive and Thrive’ programme in Wakefield, which is supporting a variety of start-ups in developing and adapting their businesses to tackle Covid-19 challenges. New schemes are planned for 2021 including one for businesses in Kirklees. 

Sarah said: “Consultation with clients and ongoing feedback and engagement enables us to adapt our delivery to meet the needs of our start-ups as they change. 

“Heading into 2021 we know times are still tough for many businesses and we will still be here for ambitious entrepreneurs to help them on their journey. We know their success ultimately leads to the success of the city region.” 

There are eligibility criteria and some sectors, including retail, are not eligible; but businesses that have been supported come from a variety of sectors, including Agri-Tech, Fin-Tech, Med-Tech, health and wellbeing, digital, healthy food manufacturing and eco-construction.  

One of the businesses benefiting from the programme is Proper Oats, set up by former accountant and body builder Suzanne Ferreira, from York. 

The ready-to-eat overnight oats are now stocked in various farm shops, on Amazon Fresh, and at Sourced Market at Skelton Lake Services motorway services near Leeds and at St Pancras Station in London 

Suzanne, who went on the Accelerate programme, said: “When people think of business support they think of funding, but the expert advice you get is invaluable. They have specialist knowledge in different areas, which would be hard to access if you don’t have the funds to pay for it.” 

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

Ad:Venture Business Advisors

WE ARE HIRING – The AD:VENTURE programme is looking for enthusiastic and knowledgeable Business Advisors to join our team!

A BIT OF BACKGROUND:

AD:VENTURE is a £22.4 million programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) The programme is delivered and supported by a wide partnership of organisations, including, local authorities, chambers of commerce, universities, and social enterprises.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

We support new and young business across the Leeds city region achieve their growth potential. It’s great!

The programme offers a range of support including, grants, one to one advice and workshops, along with specialist support from our partners. We are recruiting Business Advisers to join our team, to work across the Leeds City Region Area, working out of both our offices and those of our partners.

IS IT THE RIGHT JOB FOR YOU?

We are looking for people who have a background in business, or have experience in delivering business advice and support.

The advisor team is central to the delivery of the AD:VENTURE programme, the main point of contact for new and growing businesses, and as an advisor you would need to have a passion for supporting people and business and seeing them grow.

Delivering support and guidance to pre-start and start-up businesses up to 36 months old, who will have strong growth potential with opportunities for job creation, advisors will be allocated a specific geographic area in order to capitalise on local expertise and knowledge, as well as building up strong local networks which are essential to supporting the business community.

Experience of working with growth start-up businesses would be an advantage along with a strong emphasis on support with business planning and financials, in addition to strategic planning. Advisers will assist the beneficiary businesses in accessing various aspects of the programme including a series of workshops.

In addition to having a sound knowledge of other business support solutions/programmes available both nationally and across the Leeds City Region, the ideal candidate will have strong written and oral communication skills to aid effective communication with clients and stakeholders and be expected to work to a high level to meet the programmes compliance requirements.

HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE AND/OR  APPLY?

The roles are 35 hours per week, and £32 – 35K PA

Click here to download the full Job Description

APPLY NOW– Upload your CV along with a completed Equal Opportunities Form

Leeds digital agency doubles office space to keep up with demand

A Leeds digital marketing agency has doubled its office space and taken on more staff to keep up with demand during lockdown.

Wildfire Marketing, which was launched by Billy Foulkes and Neal Foster in 2018, has moved into new premises at Thorpe Park Business Park. The agency, which specialises in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), has seen its turnover increase by 50 per cent since March.

The company, which has been given support by AD:VENTURE, a  programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), now employs seven full-time, with several regular freelancers, and has plans to take on more staff.

But Billy admitted the start of lockdown had been hard as clients looked to tighten their belts and cut back their marketing spend.

“It was tough, but by July we were back up and running again and the last few weeks in particular have been crazy on the sales front,” said Billy.

“I think at least part of that is because we offer a monthly rolling contract, rather than tying clients into a long-term retainer. It means clients know we will give them continual good service rather than sit back and just take their money.  A lot of people have been stung in the past by SEO companies, but we’re straightforward Yorkshire chaps and don’t work like that.”

As well as the office in Leeds, Wildfire Marketing has a base in London, with some clients down south, but most in Yorkshire. The agency, which also provides website development and social media management services, was shortlisted in the Start-up of the Year category in the Leeds Digital Festival Awards 2020.

Wildfire Marketing was given a £4,000 grant from AD:VENTURE to pay for equipment including a 60-inch TV screen to display work to clients, a sign, sofa and chairs in company colours, and new PCs and monitors for the growing team. They have also received mentoring support from an AD:VENTURE business coach.

Billy said: “The mentoring and guidance we have received through the AD:VENTURE programme has been invaluable to us as a young start-up business.

“Without the funding from AD:VENTURE the business wouldn’t be what it is today. Having a modern headquarters to show off to clients will help us establish ourselves as one of the top SEO agencies.”

AD:VENTURE’s  funding and delivery partners are from across the Leeds City Region and include the region’s nine local authorities.

Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer Economic Development at Leeds City Council said: “It is impressive to see companies not just surviving, but also thriving during this difficult time, and I would like to congratulate Billy and Neal for all their hard work and initiative.

“It also shows that giving support to local businesses is vital, especially in in the current climate, and can help create much-needed jobs. Support programmes like AD:VENTURE are so important for the local economy.”

To find out more about AD:VENTURE go to https://ad-venture.org.uk/

For more information about Wildfire Marketing go to https://www.wild-fire.co.uk/seo-leeds/

Yorkshire mum launches child-friendly holiday business

mother-of-two from West Yorkshire has used her own experiences to launch a child-friendly holiday business. 

Jo Addison’s website Kiddieholidays is designed to help families with pre-school children find suitable accommodation and activities in the UK and Europe. 

Jo, who lives in Gomersal and runs her business from a base at Hub 26 in Cleckheaton, said the idea first came to her when she was on maternity leave with her first child. 

“My son was only little and we wanted to go to Wales on holiday, but we found it difficult to book somewhere suitable that did not cost the earth,” said Jo. 

“It just got me thinking that there must be thousands of families in the same position who can’t afford a luxury place that works for them. They might just want to go camping or glamping or stay in a cottage, and it can be so hard to find somewhere. 

Jo, who was then working for Jet2 Holidays part-time, started the website as a hobby in her spare time, writing blogs and collaborating with holiday and activity providers. The business slowly evolved into a listings site until last September Jo decided to make the leap and quit her job. 

“I was 40 last year and I thought it is now or never to work for myself. But what is really great is that doesn’t feel like work because I am so passionate about it, said Jo. 

“I just want to give families more choice. They might want to go to Majorca or Cornwall. And they just need to know simple things like is there a baby monitor or cot or soft play area. And then the rest of the family might appreciate a baby-listening service or spa treatment for them.” 

She uses a team of freelancers to write the copy, and aims to become the go-to website for families with babies or toddlers.  

But Jo admits that her timing was unfortunate with the lockdown effectively putting the business into temporary hibernation. Despite this, her turnover has doubled since last year and the number  of visitors to her website has increased to 150,000 a month.  

She is working with more and more holiday property owners, holiday parks and leisure activity providers and getting plenty of enquiries already for 2021 as people look to book their staycations with a reputable holiday provider. 

The impact of COVID-19 has been challenging, but at the same time it has created an opportunity for the business, as it means parents are much more conscious of the need to find a high quality and safe place to take their children,” said Jo. 

The lockdown has also given Jo the time to develop the business and improve the website ahead of the official launch with help from AD:VENTURE, a  programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  

“Their help has been invaluable. They have helped with everything from actually running a business through to search engine optimisation and supporting me to focus on what exactly the business is all about,” said Jo. 

I have been on workshops and webinars covering everything from content creation to maximising the customer journey and taken so much from these. The quality of the presenters is excellent and all of them are industry experts who a new business might otherwise struggle to access in the early stages.”  

AD:VENTURE’s  funding and delivery partners are from across the Leeds City Region and include the regions nine local authorities. 

Councillor Peter McBride, Kirklees Council cabinet member for regenerationsaid: “It is great to see someone like Jo turn her passion and expertise into a thriving business. It just shows that with practical support it is possible to take that step and start your own successful enterprise. 

“Programmes like AD:VENTURE are all about helping new businesses of all shapes and sizes and that is so important particularly now when we are faced with massive economic challenges. 

“Success stories like this are exactly why we support this programme. In such difficult economic times, I’m sure it will give hope to many others who read about Jo’s achievements.” 

To find out more about AD:VENTURE go to https://ad-venture.org.uk/ 

To find out more about Kiddieholidays go to https://www.kiddieholidays.co.uk/ 

 

Wakefield agency turns over £680,000 in first year

A Wakefield marketing agency celebrated its first birthday with a turnover that has already reached £680,000.

bolt, which has its headquarters at the Junction workspace in Horbury, Wakefield, has grown its team from two to 16 since setting up in summer 2019. This has included taking on an apprentice, with plans to take on two more apprentices and other staff by the end of 2020.

The agency also has offices in London and Macedonia and a new location in Warsaw in Poland, which has begun hiring.

bolt specialises in growth marketing, website design, customer relationship management (CRM) and branding for high-performing professional service organisations, including financial services, tech, engineering and commercial real estate.

To support its expansion plans within the Leeds City Region, bolt has received mentoring through AD:VENTURE – a programme which helps pre-start and new businesses with growth potential in West and North Yorkshire including offering mentoring, events and access to finance.

bolt was set up by business partners James Coughlan and Jamie Clifton. The pair met in 2013 while working for a direct marketing agency in London.

James Coughlan, head of operations at bolt, said: “At bolt it’s our aim to become integral to a client’s business, helping them with client acquisition and growing their company profits. In our first year of trading we’ve been successful in securing contracts around the world, but it’s always been our aim to create a name for bolt closer to home.

“AD:VENTURE has opened doors for us by introducing us to local networks and contacts which have been invaluable in growing our operation in Wakefield and attracting talent in the region. Everyone at AD:VENTURE have been genuinely invested in our growth strategy which has really helped us develop as a business. We’re looking forward to working with them into the future.”

Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: “bolt is a fantastic example of the type of ambitious company that we are so proud to have here in Wakefield. They are creating jobs and boosting the local economy even in these difficult times.

“And it is important that we do our bit to support them, which is why the AD:VENTURE programme is so vital.”

Since AD:VENTURE started in early 2017, the programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has helped nearly 4,000 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region, and approved over 160 grants to help start-up businesses grow.

Partners of AD:VENTURE include the region’s nine local authorities, the Business Enterprise Fund and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, with businesses also able to access academic input through programmes delivered by higher education partners, Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Trinity University.

Being Prepared: By Keith Evans

I’m writing this on the day that the UK economy officially went into a pandemic induced recession.

The deepest recession in modern times and unique in many, many ways.

Many major economies are following the UK by experiencing huge drops in GDP, common belief is that a ‘second wave’ of the pandemic is inevitable and our government has put together a support and stimulus package, which while necessary, creates a long term national debt of war time proportions. These are all fact we must now consider when starting and running our businesses.

So, I put it to you that we need embrace two key principles to turn things around, which we will inevitably do. The first is strengthening our business networks and contacts. Conversations create serendipity, which in turn create opportunity. The second, is that our businesses must be run even better than ever before.

Survive and Thrive will blend opportunities for business owners of all kinds to create moments of opportunity, while also sharing insights which can strengthen your business through technology adoption, more efficient working and marketing you to the right customers.

If Wakefield, the City Region and the UK as a whole is to put the COVID hangover behind us, creating and operating lean, responsive, strategic and professional businesses will be of paramount importance.

For me, ‘Being Prepared’ not only means getting our enterprises post COVID ready, but its also a mind-set, a commitment to be prepared to learn and implement change, which, is not easy.

 

By Keith Evans

Creative & Digital Industries Sector Development Manager

Wakefield Council

COVID-19 Business Support

UPDATED 9.6.2020

We are regularly updating this page to keep you updated on the latest guidance and support relating to Covid-19.

There is a lot of information and support available, and if you need guidance on any aspect, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

One-To One support

For current clients, please get in touch if you are need advice or support. If you are not sure who your advisor is, you can email support@ad-venture.org.uk 

New clients, register at www.ad-venture.org.uk/register 

Workshops and Events

AD:VENTURE events scheduled for the foreseeable future will be delivered in a virtual way to enable us to continue delivering this valuable workshop content to you.

We are still keeping numbers limited and ensuring you have the opportunity to interact, so please check and book your places so you do not miss out.

The first webinars are now LIVE and can be booked via the events page

***NEW UPDATES***

Government launches NHS Test and Trace Service

Details of the Test and Trace service can be viewed HERE.

NHS Test and Trace – workplace guidance

Details of the Test and Trace work place guidance can be viewed HERE.

Working safely during COVID-19

The Government has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The new guidance covers eight workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways.

WIDER NATIONAL AND REGIONAL SUPPORT AVAILABLE:

Regional Support:

For information and support, businesses in Leeds City Region concerned or affected by the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can contact the LEP Business Support Service by:

Completing our online enquiry form

Calling the LEP business support helpline on 0113 348 1818

Emailing BusinessSupport@the-lep.com

Due to a high volume of emails and phone calls, you may some experience delays getting through, but please be assured that they will respond to all enquires as soon as possible.

Regional support for businesses

LEP Business Support Service

Businesses can benefit from investment to purchase equipment, plant and machinery, digital equipment, develop new products and process, and save money on their energy bills through more efficient use of energy, water and waste. For more information, please contact the LEP Business Support Service or visit the-lep.com/support to learn about the support available.

Peer-to-peer support programme

In partnership with Biskit, the LEP is delivering a series of free weekly peer-to-peer online sessions, providing businesses across the City Region an opportunity to share ideas, raise issues, gain new insights and collaborate. Find out more and sign up.

COVID-19 Business Grant Programme

The LEP may be able to support your business if you are making capital investments to manufacture or supply products to the NHS and wider health supply chain. For more information, please contact the LEP Business Support Service.

Free one-to-one business coaching sessions

The LEP is working with business professionals to co-ordinate free coaching sessions to help SMEs formulate and implement contingency plans for this period and beyond. Coaches will work with companies to diagnose issues affecting them at the moment including people, suppliers and customers, finance and premises. Email us to access this support.

Supply chain support 

The University of Huddersfield has a team of supply chain experts who can help businesses to get more out of their supplier arrangements and enhance their positions within existing supply chains. This can include a deep dive analysis of current supply chains and supplier capacity, the introduction of new supply chain models to reduce risk and enhance quality, and the sourcing of more local suppliers. Email businesssupport@the-LEP.com for more information.

Business resilience programme

In partnership with Winning Pitch, we have launched the business resilience programme to support businesses owners through free one-to-one coaching and consultancy support and a series of webinars and leadership groups. Take our resilience test to help us to understand how we can best support you and your business. For more information about this programme, email businessresilience@winning-pitch.co.uk.

Digital Knowledge Exchange (DKE)

DKE has launched a new webinar series for businesses. The series is designed to support businesses striving to become best placed when the nation returns to business as usual. The webinars provide expert insights on the use of digital solutions to increase productivity and competitiveness during the lockdown. Topics cover customer engagement, business resilience, content marketing and digital marketing strategy. Find out more and sign up.

AD:VENTURE

Start-ups and young businesses in their first three years of trading can access online support. AD: VENTURE is delivering free webinars on marketing, sales, working remotely, social media and more, to help business owners to utilise their time at home to grow their business. View all webinars.

PAPI – Product and Process Innovation

PAPI helps small businesses in York, North Yorkshire, East Riding and Leeds City Region develop innovative new products by providing grants for equipment.

Visit https://www.papi.org.uk/

The Employment Hub

Whether you need to recruit quickly to keep up with the demands of COVID-19 or you have employees at risk of redundancy, the Employment Hub can help your business through free impartial support.

  • Quickly find new employees through the Employment Hub talent matching service. Tell us your recruitment needs and we will find and introduce you to candidates suitable for the role.
  • Access support for employees who are at risk of or facing redundancy. Refer staff to the Employment Hub where we can support them in finding alternative employment.

If you need help with either of these issues, please book a free introduction call with a business engagement officer who will discuss your needs and offer you a tailored package of support. Find out more and book a call today.

Skills Service

Access to online learning, and financial incentives to undertake training, via the further education (FE) colleges of the City Region and private providers. Find out more.

Investment Readiness: webinar programme

The LEP is delivering a series of six free webinars to help businesses to understand government support schemes and the range of investment options available to help with the impact of COVID-19.

The 90-minute webinars are practical and led by experts from Garbutt + Elliott and Grant Thornton. All sessions are live and include an opportunity for Q&A.

Webinars are delivered by Winning Pitch on behalf of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Investment Readiness programme. Find out more and sign up.

Manufacturing Recovery Plan

Developed by the University of Huddersfield in collaboration with the LEP and key strategic partners, the scheme supports manufacturing SMEs across Leeds City Region to recover and build long-term resilience with a three-stage approach; stabilise, recover, growth. Find out more.

Department for International Trade Webinars

The Department for International Trade are running a series of webinars to help businesses through coronavirus.

Business can register via great.gov.uk where all recorded webinars are hosted. DIT is also working with partners to take the usual schedule of events online.

There is also a significant programme of webinars from other government departments, including HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The webinars are listed in additional government resources to support your business during coronavirus disruptions.

https://www.digitalenterprise.co.uk/digital-knowledge/events/For wider DIT Support https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-international-trade/about-our-services

NATIONAL SUPPORT:

For all the latest up to date government guidance on Coronavirus support for businesses, please visit the hub on GOV.UK.

Not sure which financial support schemes you may be eligible for? Use the business support finder to find out.

*NEW* Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme – Applications are now being taken

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus

Who cannot apply

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

If you’re already claiming funding

You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

How to apply

The full rules of the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available on the British Business Bank website.

NATIONAL FUNDING AND SUPPORT

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to businesses

  • Loans, tax relief and cash grants are available
  • Employers can apply for staff to get up to 80% pay if they can’t work
  • Self-employed people can receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months

Funding and support

Self-employed people and sole traders

Your responsibilities as an employer

How to run your business safely

What businesses should be closed.

All coronavirus business support information on GOV.UK

AD:VENTURE launches webinar series

A support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire is moving its events online during the coronavirus lockdown.

AD:VENTURE supports pre-start and new businesses with growth potential with a mix of offerings, including mentoring, events and access to finance.

Since the programme started at the end of 2016, AD:VENTURE, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has helped more than 3,000 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region, and approved over 160 grants to help start-up businesses grow.

Sarah Carling, AD:VENTURE programme manager, said: “Covid-19 and the lockdown has meant we have had to re-think a lot of how we deliver our support, but I am clear it is vital we continue to back the fantastic businesses we have here in the Leeds City Region.

“We’ve run a series of over 350 events successfully since the start of the programme. We know that participants really value both the content and the chance to engage with other businesses that these events provide.

“So rather than stop the events, we are moving our offering online with a series of webinars. But we are not just changing the delivery platform, we are also adapting what we cover to ensure they really support businesses and help address the particular challenges they are currently facing.”

The first webinar is on Tuesday April 21 and is called: “Reviewing and re-setting your marketing strategy during the COVID-19 outbreak”. Other webinars, which are free to join for eligible businesses, will cover topics including business resilience, effective negotiation, using LinkedIn and working effectively remotely. They can be booked via the AD:VENTURE website: https://ad-venture.org.uk/events/

Businesses are also still able to access one-to-one mentoring and other support from AD:VENTURE during the lockdown.

Partners of AD:VENTURE include the region’s nine local authorities, the Business Enterprise Fund and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, with businesses also able to access academic input through programmes delivered by higher education partners, Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Trinity University.