Tag: Business Growth

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.”

Profits up tenfold for Leeds creative agency

A creative and digital agency, with a green conscience, launched by two Leeds university students saw profits boom tenfold during lockdown.

 

madeby.studio was set up in 2019 by Matt Wheeler and Sam Taylor in their final year of a Graphic and Communication Design degree at the University of Leeds. By September 2020 the pair, who offer services from website design and search engine optimisation through to brand development and motion graphics, had moved into new offices at Dock Street in the city and taken on a paid intern.

Matt said: “The growth of the company has been phenomenal, but perhaps that is not surprising as a good online presence has become even more important for businesses during lockdown.”

 

The company, which has been given help by AD:VENTURE, a support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire, saw turnover triple during lockdown, with profit increasing nearly ten times.

Matt and Sam literally hit the ground running. Before they had finished their degrees they came third in a pre-trading business competition and were offered a place at the university’s Nexus business hub, where they stayed for a year after graduation.

They have since moved into the new offices and have been listed in the Digital Enterprise Top 100; they are regional finalists in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in the Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year category, they have been shortlisted in a Santander business entrepreneur award and the Leeds Digital Festival Thrive Awards.

Because of their concerns about climate change, the pair, have committed to the agency being carbon negative, with support for schemes that offset carbon for the office and for the team’s emissions outside work. Within a month they offset enough carbon to cover two long-haul flights.

“We’re very proud of our efforts to be a climate positive workforce. Climate change is no longer something we should be thinking about in years to come. We need to tackle this right now,” said Matt.

 

Their success has been helped by AD:VENTURE, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and supports businesses that are pre-start or less than three years old.

The pair were given a business mentor, the chance to attend online workshops and a grant to help buy new iMacs. They were also accepted onto Accelerate, a six-month programme of support run for AD:VENTURE by Leeds Beckett University.

Matt said: “With AD:VENTURE it’s all the different aspects that help. The business mentor’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.”

 

Cllr Jonathan Pryor, deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education at Leeds City Council, said: “The growth of this agency has been amazing. It’s obviously down to their hard work, but it is also very pleasing to see that they acknowledge the support from AD:VENTURE has played a part.

“This is a great example of how the public sector can play a role in helping companies survive and thrive, and create much needed prosperity and jobs for the region.”

 

AD:VENTURE, which has helped thousands of businesses since its launch in 2017, has funding and delivery partners across the Leeds City region. As well as Leeds Beckett University, they include Leeds Trinity University, the Prince’s Trust and the nine local authorities.

York engineering consultancy makes a splash

A York structural engineering consultancy, which has worked with top hotels in London, has taken the plunge to move into new offices to cope with increased demand for its services.

JME Consultants has seen business boom, with profits up more than fourfold in just over a year. Set up by Jack Merrett in 2019, the consultancy has just moved into new offices at Westminster Place just inside the York ring road and has recently landed its 200th project.

Clients range from home-owners to large national construction firms, and include 5 Star hotels in London, with design for swimming pools. JME Consultants have also advised large house building firms over the structure of foundations; designed the remedial works for a footbridge at Northallerton School and Sixth Form College, and designed everything from steel frames for large industrial units to straw bale and eco-friendly homes.

Jack had worked in the industry for many years, before deciding to set up his own business, with help from his wife Anna Oultram in her spare time. The company currently has one full-time employee, structural engineer Steve Margrove, with plans to take on another within the next few months. JME Consultants also uses three sub-contractors who are experts in CAD design.

“The five-year plan is to get to around ten members of staff, with the longer-term aim of having 20 to 25 staff,” said Jack.

“There is a tendency within the industry to put profit before people. We wanted to establish a business which puts people first, is realistic about workloads and operates with openness and transparency.

“It’s all about keeping standards high and treating everybody well, both clients and staff. We want to create a real collaborative atmosphere, where the people who work here don’t want to leave.”

The company has been given support, including a grant, by AD:VENTURE, which helps ambitious new businesses trading for less than three years in York, North and West Yorkshire, and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Jack said: “Neither me nor Anna had run a business before. It was going really well, but we needed someone with a more holistic view. We wanted someone independent to give us advice and a nudge in the right direction, and of course you are not going to turn down funding.”

They were given a grant of about £3,600 from AD:VENTURE, which they had to match-fund, which contributed towards a specialist printer and additional software licences. But Jack says it is not just the funding that has helped.

“It’s an independent voice. They are not doing it for their own needs they are doing it to help you. You never worry that there is an ulterior motive; it’s honest and independent advice which is incredibly valuable.”

AD:VENTURE has funding and delivery partners across the Leeds City Region, including City of York Council and the region’s other eight  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.

Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning at City of York Council, said: “It is encouraging to see how job creation in the city can be encouraged through public sector working with the private sector to bring benefits to the city, and the wider region in terms of sustaining employment and developing skills.

“And it’s great to see that a nudge in the right direction by AD:VENTURE can pay dividends in terms of job creation in areas including sustainable construction techniques and green jobs.”

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!

Leeds childhood friends reunite to spark success

Two former childhood friends from Leeds have reunited to create an award-winning electrical business with a turnover of £2.5m.

Andy Stoner and Dan Coombe set up National Safety Inspections (NSI) in 2017 after spotting a gap in the market.  The company, which has just expanded into bigger offices, specialises in electrical testing for letting agents and landlords.

NSI employs 20 people at its headquarters in Armley, having taken over an extra floor just before Christmas to accommodate more staff, and has 25 engineers across the UK.

The pair, who used to walk to school together in Tingley, kept in touch even though Dan moved to Scotland and worked in sales. Andy, meanwhile, worked as an electrician and a lecturer in Leeds.

In 2017 a chance conversation led them to realise they had the perfect combination of skills to create a start-up, with Dan having extensive sales experience from medical sales to solar panels, and Andy having knowledge of electrical safety. Andy also knew that few companies specialised purely in electrical testing.

Dan said: “Out of the blue me and Andy spoke to each other about the idea of setting up and just offering testing, and then we just said, let’s do it. So, I moved back to Leeds.

“We were ambitious to be national even as a start-up. That’s why we called ourselves National Safety Inspections, even though we were just in a little office in the city.”

By the end of 2017 they had taken on three staff and were working for several student letting agencies. But then they realised a new law due to come in would open up even more opportunities. The new rules, which didn’t actually come in until June 2020, meant private sector landlords would have to carry out electrical checks every five years.

Andy said: “Student lets were pretty good at doing electrical checks, but the private sector needed to catch up. We realised if we were going to get the work we would have to scale up and get ahead of the game.”

That was when they turned to AD:VENTURE, a  programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). They were successful in applying for two grants through the programme, one for £4,300 towards a comprehensive CRM system, and another of over £14,000 towards equipment, including laptops for engineers out on the road, and website development and SEO.

Andy Stoner and Dan Coombes outside the new NSI HQ

“Most electrical companies do testing as a side-line. They do it with a view to getting installation work. But we just do the testing and so we needed to put the resources into that and be able to do it well and efficiently,” said Andy.

By the start of 2020 Andy and Dan had 15 staff and had signed with several letting agencies. Then lockdown struck, but it turned out to be perfect timing.

Andy was invited to take part in an AD:VENTURE accelerator called Northern Max. Through that he was given a mentor who helped both him and Dan realise they needed to re-think their approach in order to successfully scale the business.

“It made us change focus. Rather than working in the business, it got us to allocate more time to working on the business. We could have stopped at 15 staff, but we wanted it to be bigger. So, we took on someone to do business development and two more sales staff,” said Andy.

The growth didn’t stop there. NSI finished 2020 with 45 staff, creating 30 new jobs through 2020, with engineers across Yorkshire, Lancashire, the north east, the midlands, and down to Reading and Oxford. And they have plans to extend into the rest of England and grow to 100 staff this year.

In 2019, and again in 2020, NSI won the best in sector for electrical services to the estates and lettings sector in the ESTAS awards, which are considered the Oscars of the industry.

Dan said: “It’s not bad for two lads from Tingley who used to climb over the fence to see each other and play out and walk together to school every day. I am not sure if you’d told us about this then we would have believed it could happen!”

AD:VENTURE’s  funding and delivery partners are from across the Leeds City Region and include the region’s nine local authorities, and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the LEP and NP11, said:  “We really applaud what NSI have done; spotting a gap in the market and going for it. That is true entrepreneurship and something we really want to encourage. 

“By innovating in their business, Andy and Dan are creating the prosperity and the jobs that we need for the local economy. Their success shows that with a good idea, hard work and practical support it is possible to build a thriving business even in these difficult times, and to support the economic recovery.” 

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

Small Business Sunday win for Sustainability Startup!

DH PROFESSIONAL SOLUTIONS SBS WINNER

A Yorkshire start-up who tweeted The Small Business Sunday competition this Sunday was given a massive boost when they were announced as one of the 6 national winners, reaching an audience of over 500K on Theo Paphitis’ #SBS twitter feed.

Danielle Heward, director and owner of DH Professional Solutions decided to enter the competition as a way to raise the profile of her growing start-up.

Danielle said “I’ve been working really hard to market my new business, and had seen the competition and benefits so I thought why not! I was over the moon when I saw the notification saying I was a winner, and I look forward to taking full advantage of the benefits it brings.

“The impact on my social media following was immediate, and I have already gained lots of new followers. I also know because it’s a business audience, it’s also reaching my target audience, which is great”

One of Danielle’s key business values is to make a difference; aiming to make the world a better place for our future generations, by providing business improvement services to social and eco focused businesses. It was this mission, detailed in Danielle’s tweet, that led to her being selected as a winner.

The weekly initiative, set up by Theo in 2010, now has over 2,500 #SBS winners and supports small businesses in the UK.

Anyone looking for a re‐tweet from Theo should tweet him about their business on Sunday between 5 PM and 7.30 PM and include the hashtag #SBS. Six lucky businesses are re‐tweeted every Monday at 8 PM and then invited to enter their profile on the new website, attend the annual #SBS networking event and take advantage of the networking opportunities.

BRADFORD BASED POWER SHEDS WINS PRESTIGIOUS LLOYDS BANK NATIONAL BUSINESS AWARD

Bradford Based Power Sheds was announced winner of the ‘Best New Business’ at the prestigious 2020 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, which took place during a glittering online ceremony on 10 November.  Power Sheds were amongst a number of companies honoured at the event including a Formula One team and a TV baker.

The is the latest national award Power Sheds have won in 2020 following the eBay award for innovation and a Great British Entrepreneur award. Power Sheds, based on the Euroway Trading Estate, launched in 2019 manufacturing garden sheds.

Jack Sutcliffe, CEO of Power Sheds, said “We are enormously proud to have won a Lloyds Bank National Business Awards – this award represents the culmination of our hard work and dedication over the last 12 months.”

The Lloyds Bank Award Judges added “This is an exceptional growth story. Power Sheds has a good, innovative product and is tapping into a lucrative market. It was a clear winner.”

“2020 has been a challenging but inspiring year; a year where we’ve witnessed just how innovative and adaptive the UK business community can be, whether that means helping employees adjust to new ways of working or shifting production towards masks, ventilators and handwash. This year’s winners are testament to the creativity, agility and resilience that sets British business apart,” said Sarah Austin, Awards Director.

“When it comes to business recognition, the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards really are the ones to win, allowing successful individuals and organisations to tell their story, from large private and public companies, to thriving entrepreneurial businesses, promising start-ups and established SMEs, and what fantastic stories they are.”

Visit www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk for more information.

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/

Bradford based Power Sheds founders named Disruptors of the Year

Power Sheds Award Win

The founders of Power Sheds, Jack Sutcliffe and Simon Hobson, have been named Disruptors of the Year for the north west at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

Power Sheds, based on the Euroway Trading Estate in Bradford, manufactures garden sheds, potting sheds and bike sheds.

Now in its eighth year, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in partnership with Starling Bank celebrate the hard work and inspiring stories of entrepreneurs in the UK, rather than the business’ balance sheet.

The category looked for purpose-driven pioneers of change who spot the gaps and problem areas in markets to bring solutions that make our lives better – someone who brings unique, alternative products and practices that improve their sector and disrupt the status quo.

With Covid-19 restrictions preventing the regional finals taking place at a live event, Jack and Simon won the award during a virtual award ceremony joined by finalists across every region.

In a video message to finalists, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Entrepreneurs have shown they stay strong, even during a global pandemic. Coronavirus hasn’t stifled enterprise.

“Entrepreneurs are creating new businesses and adapting to the crisis, as seen in this year’s entries. And that’s what we need to happen if we want our economy to bounce back. We need all of you to keep inventing, keep taking risks, keep creating new businesses.

“It’s my job as Chancellor to celebrate, champion and support you.

“Congratulations to all the winners. Thank you to all of you for everything you’ve done.”

Francesca James, founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said: “Jack and Simon have a wonderful entrepreneurial story and I’m delighted for them to win this award. I’ll be keeping a very close eye on what they do in the years to come and look forward to welcoming them to the community.”

Anne Boden, founder and CEO of Starling Bank, said: “We’re entrepreneurs and we have spirit. We fight back and we’re very good at dealing with adversity. And Jack and Simon are an example to us all, of entrepreneurs that are creative, innovative, and changing the world.

“I’m so excited that Starling, a business I founded in 2014 and now the Best British Bank, is sponsoring such an important Awards. And as one entrepreneur to another, congratulations to getting where you are this evening and best of luck for the future.”

The winners of each category will now go to the National Final of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, with a date to be announced due to restrictions on large events.

Wakefield businesses given support to survive and thrive

Entrepreneurs  in Wakefield are being encouraged to join a programme of business support to help them survive and thrive in a post-Covid world.

The series of online events and one-to-one mentoring is open to all Wakefield business under three-years-old and is being run by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and AD:VENTURE, a support programme for businesses in North and West Yorkshire.

Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for Economic Growth and Regeneration said: “Now more than ever, businesses need support. The pandemic presents the whole business community with huge challenges and creating more resilient new businesses is at the top of the list of what we need to do now.

“The programme and course content will help businesses reset for the current climate and give them the skills, insight and confidence to ensure they are fit for an ever-changing future, whatever the challenge.”

Businesses that sign up for the Survive and Thrive programme will benefit from a one-to-one diagnostic session to assess their needs, before being assigned an adviser from AD:VENTURE. They will be invited to attend eight interactive webinars that will cover topics from planning and finance to developing new products and services, and marketing.

AD:VENTURE, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), supports pre-start and new businesses which have been trading for up to three years and have ambitions for growth, with a mix of offerings, including mentoring, events, access to finance and grant funding.

Since AD:VENTURE started at the end of 2016 it has helped more than 3,000 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region, and approved more than 160 grants.

Among those who have received help from AD:VENTURE is bolt, which 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.

The company, which turned over £680,000 in its first year, has its headquarters at the Junction workspace in Horbury, Wakefield, and has grown its team from two to 16 since setting up in summer 2019.

James Coughlan, head of operations at bolt, said: ““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.”

AD:VENTURE’s partners include the region’s nine local authorities, including Wakefield Metropolitan District Council; the Business Enterprise Fund; the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, and higher education partners, including Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Trinity University.

For more information about the Survive and Thrive programme please  go to https://ad-venture.org.uk/survive-thrive/