Tag: Business Growth

Bradford Northern Max 3 Business Accelerator Programme Underway!

Northern Max 3, a specialist business support programme for digital and technology firms in the Leeds/Bradford area, is now well underway.

Launched by Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, this fully funded business support programme, running across a period of ten weeks, started on 23 April.  A virtual room full of 15 early stage digital and technology businesses learned about business model innovation, got to know each other, met with their mentors and absorbed the breadth and depth of support on offer.  As a reaction to the COVID-19 crisis the organisers of Northern Max 3, Greenborough Management (upon whose 10×10 programme Northern Max is modelled), have also offered to support a further 6 local businesses who were not quite eligible for the full programme.

Week 2, which included a fascinating insight into the life and career of local entrepreneur, Jag Panesar of Xpand Marketing, built on the foundations of week 1 with a workshop focused on goal setting, vision and objectives.

Northern Max 3 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 funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It forms part of AD:VENTURE’s pledge to continue to support businesses using online tools despite the pandemic.

Michelle Davis, who heads up the 10×10 team at Greenborough, said: “We are delighted with the interest in the programme.  We had nearly 30 great applicants for what was originally 12 places.  Working with our colleagues from Bradford Council we were excited to be able to increase our cohort to 15, as well as to be able to offer access to much of the support to a further 6 local businesses.

“The level of engagement from the participants has already been great, and the feedback from them about the first 2 weeks has been really positive.  We look forward to making a difference to businesses from Bradford and the wider Leeds City Region.”

For more details on the Northern Max 3 programme, visit https://ad-venture.org.uk/northernmax3

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.

Bradford Northern Max programme goes virtual

A business support programme for digital and technology firms in Bradford is switching to virtual delivery due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Northern Max 3, which is in its third year, will now be delivered online, and technology-oriented companies less than three years old are invited to take part. 

The free business support programme will take place over ten weeks, starting on 23 April. It includes one-to-one mentoring alongside workshops and masterclasses led by experienced business coaches. Topics covered will include preparing a business plan, setting targets, profiling target customers and marketing. There will also be a focus on helping companies exploit opportunities when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, as well as an opportunity to pitch for potential investment at the end of the programme. 

The aim of Northern Max is to enable companies in the digital sector to grow and develop the reputation of Bradford and the Leeds City Region as a hub for the technology community. Forty companies have received Northern Max support since the programme started in 2018. 

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “As part of our aim to be the UK’s fastest growing economy in the next decade, we are committed to supporting our businesses with programmes like Northern Max.  

“Now more than ever, we need to ensure our small businesses get the support they need, so  they are prepared to drive growth as we recover from the effects of COVID-19. That’s why we are moving this fantastic support programme online to make sure that nobody misses out. 

“I am delighted to see exciting young companies and entrepreneurs being given access to business support like this. Programmes like Northern Max, which are delivered by industry specialists, will give businesses the crucial support network they need and that will ultimately benefit Bradford and the wider region as we emerge from the current crisis.” 

Entheos Media Group took part in the programme in 2019 and have since been able to expand their client base. Creative director Ryan Murphy said: “The programme was enormously helpful for taking our own expertise in our given field and giving us the tools necessary for transforming our skills into a functional and growing business.  

“Since our time at Northern Max, we’ve got funding, grants and have gained a bigger client base than we ever would have without it. The workshops and talks were exceptionally helpful at giving us the insight and outside-the-box thinking that allowed us to see our business in a whole new light, and allowed us reshape our business model so that we could grow exponentially.” 

Northern Max 3 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 funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It forms part of AD:VENTURE’s pledge to continue to support businesses using online tools despite the pandemic. 

Michelle Davis, part of the 10×10 team at Greenborough, said: “We are thrilled to be selected as the delivery partner for Northern Max 3. 10×10 is passionate about helping firms to grow through our bespoke business accelerator programme and wrap-around support.  

“The workshops will be engaging, interactive and relevant to businesses needing to make the most of commercial opportunities as the economy recovers from the effects of COVID-19. The 10×10 team have great experience of delivering programs remotely and are looking forward to making a difference to businesses from Bradford and the wider Leeds City Region.” 

For more details on the Northern Max 3 programme, visit https://ad-venture.org.uk/northernmax3/. 

Leeds manufacturer moves into new factory to keep up with demand

Herida

A Leeds healthcare manufacturer has moved into a new factory twice the size to keep up with demand.

Herida Healthcare has relocated to a 30,000 sq ft unit in Morley as it grows its market and products, with plans for an official opening next week (Wednesday November 20th).

The company, which only started trading in 2016, manufactures specialist mattresses for the elderly and infirm to avoid pressure sores, and entered the moving and handling sector about 12 months ago.

Its foam and air-pump mattresses, and slings are sold to community equipment stores, NHS trusts and long-term care homes through a dealer network across the UK, with about 25 per cent of products exported, mainly to Australasia.

The factory move has already led to an extra six jobs, bringing the headcount to 42, with plans to increase that number significantly with the introduction of shift working within the next two or three years.

Founder Neil Smith said: “As many businesses are pulling out of manufacturing we are moving up. We know that by being agile and quick to respond to demand we have a competitive advantage and can be profitable.”

The rapid growth of the company is also down to support from the public sector said Neil, with advice and grants from organisations such as Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and AD:VENTURE, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

“The grants have helped us buy equipment and become more efficient in the manufacturing process and that can be the difference between a business thriving or not surviving at all,” said Neil.

Sarah Carling, Ad:Venture programme manager, said: “Herida Healthcare is a fantastic success story that shows that the public and private sectors really can work hand in hand to bring prosperity and jobs, and boost the local economy.”

Herida Healthcare moved just five miles to the new factory at Leeds 27 Industrial Estate, partly because the company wanted to keep as many as possible of its skilled workforce.

To coincide with the move Neil has passed over the reins to a new managing director, John Bentley, who joined the company just two months ago, bringing significant experience in the wound care sector with brands such as Smith & Nephew. Neil will stay on as chairman.

In addition, David Emmerson joins Herida Healthcare as the head of operations from Johnson & Johnson. The fourth director is co-founder John Kay.

John Bentley said: “It really is an exciting time to join, as this is a company on the up and up.

“The existing team has done a great job by bringing the business from conception, a little over three and a half years ago, to that of a very profitable, large-scale, British-manufacturing outfit, serving a global customer base. And the brand new factory means our long term prospects are excellent.”

The factory official opening is at 10am on Wednesday November 20 at the factory at Leeds 27 Industrial Estate in Morley.

REGION’S BUSINESS GROWTH TO ACCELERATE THANKS TO UNIVERSITY PROGRAMME

Leeds Beckett University has announced the launch of a new accelerator to support the growth of businesses based across the Leeds City Region.

Accelerate is a new six-month business growth programme for the region’s businesses and will launch in September 2019. Delivered as part of the successful ERDF funded programme, AD:VENTURE, Accelerate is specifically designed to help ambitious early stage businesses unlock their full growth potential.

Businesses accessing the support through Accelerate will benefit from a key account manager to provide guidance and support; a diagnostic to help identify strengths and weaknesses and professionally delivered masterclasses covering key topics such as planning for growth and strategic sales and marketing.

The programme also offers individuals up to 12 hours of one to one assistance from Leeds Beckett University and industry experts, as well as opportunities to discuss additional support such as funding and grants.

Leeds Beckett University Business Engagement Manager, Deborah Hetherington, comments: “In order for the Leeds City Region to continue to prosper as a result of such a diverse range of start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, we must nurture and guide them through the unpredictable and often difficult early stages.

“Accelerate will not only create structured support services to help businesses grow, create new jobs and attract a wide range of talent to the region, it will also assist in establishing new specialisms and sectors.

“With so many new and exciting organisations coming through, it reinforces our region as one of the best places in the country to do business.”

The Accelerate programme is available to organisations that are aiming to grow and create jobs in the Leeds City Region; deliver products or services to other businesses rather than direct to the consumer; and any organisations looking for a structured programme, with flexible one to one support.

Candle Digital, is just one example of an organisation that has benefited from access to the AD:VENTURE programme. Set up by former colleagues Andy Jack and Mark Langdale, the company helps training providers transform their materials and expertise into digital products.

After starting the businesses Andy and Mark accessed AD:VENTURE Masterclasses and one to one support with Leeds Beckett academic Mark Copsey.

Andy comments: “Working with AD:VENTURE and Leeds Beckett University has given us the space and time to grow faster and in a more sustainable way. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support that we have received.

“We have a stronger understanding of who we are, why we’re doing this and who we should target. Rather than holding us back, the systems and processes that we now have in place have been a real catalyst for growth.”

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

Growth of innovative online food delivery brand

A Leeds business is targeting poor productivity and food waste by delivering delicious fresh, nutritionally balanced meals to workers across Leeds city centre. And now, it wants to take its innovative model to workplaces across the UK with a bid for £120,000 in crowdfunding.

Lean Lunch delivers chef-made dishes by bike to hundreds of time-poor workers across Leeds who are looking for a healthier, tastier alternative to uninspiring sandwich and crisps meal deals. And while it has seen phenomenal demand from individual customers, 70 per cent of its sales come from businesses, as firms like Sky, Arla and Burberry realise the benefits of focusing on their teams’ health, through healthier meeting catering or offering lunches as wellbeing perks for their teams.

Lean Lunch, which launched in 2017, is on course to organically double its turnover in 2019, and it is now looking to secure funding to grow its customer base in Yorkshire and replicate its successful model in other UK cities.

Founder Sat Mann came up with the idea for Lean Lunch after shopping for and preparing a healthy lunch to eat in the office became time consuming and uninspiring. The business, run by Sat and his wife Charlotte, is committed to a more sustainable way of eating that creates healthier people and a healthier planet and that helps businesses educate and support their teams to eat better now and in the future. Because meals are made to order, there’s no over-production, chefs use locally sourced ingredients wherever possible to reduce food miles, and because most deliveries are within a few of miles of the Lean Lunch kitchen in Kirkstall, they’re nearly all done by cargo bike. Plus, all Lean Lunch’s packaging is 100% recyclable or compostable.

Lean Lunch is the first and only online food business in the north dedicated to wellbeing and sustainability, tapping in to growing demand from consumers for better, less processed food that’s convenient but doesn’t have a negative effect on the planet. Lean Lunch meals use all natural ingredients, including only natural occurring sugars, are low in salt and contain no preservatives. The range includes vegan, gluten-free and dairy free options and takes its inspiration from cuisines from across the world.

“Eating highly processed food is harming our health and the health of the planet,” says Sat.

“And the problem isn’t just the junk we eat, it’s the nutritious food we don’t eat. Research shows that employees with poor diets are 66 per cent more likely to see reductions in productivity than those who have a nutritious, balanced diet, and 75 per cent of adults struggle to achieve their five-a-day.

“So, we’ve created a fresh, convenient alternative to pre-packed lunches that help maintain energy levels and deliver at least three of your five a day, with restaurant quality taste and variety that you just couldn’t make at home.

“We’re committed to inspiring and empowering people living in busy city environments to make better choices for their wellbeing and the wellbeing of the planet, and to supporting people to eat more healthily and sustainably.”

Both the menus and software used to order meals have been developed in-house by the Lean Lunch team and they’ve got big ambitions for the future. Lean Lunch wants to create a model that can be easily replicated, so the Leeds model can be recreated in other locations across the UK.

“We want to refine the ordering process to make it truly personalised,” says Sat.

“Currently, you can filter by dietary requirements, but we’d like to be able to automate this so you get menu recommendations based on your personal preferences.

“We’d love to develop an app and have a fleet of electric vehicles that can deliver to industrial parks and offices outside of the city centre too.”

For more information on the crowdfunding campaign or to arrange interviews, contact Sat Mann on 0113 4032162,

07399 456020 or sat@leanlunch.co.uk. To invest, go to crowdcube.com/leanlunch   

In a year, Lean Lunch has:

  • Made more than 40,000 meals
  • Doubled production from 5,375 in Q1 of 2018 to 10,530 in Q1 of 2019
  • Increased revenue by 380 per cent from 2017 to 2019 (£7k Q1 2017, £34k Q1 2019).
  • Secured 65 per cent of orders from repeat customers
  • Generated £108K of turnover in 2018 and on course to double that in 2019
  • Created ambitious plans to increase its reach in Leeds and expand to other UK cities

How Lean Lunch works:

  • Meals are devised by a chef with the help of a nutritionist to include at least three of your five a day and balanced macros
  • You can order meals up to 10 days ahead and at least one day before
  • Choose your dietary requirements and pick how often you want meals delivered
  • Ingredients are sourced in just the right quantity from local suppliers
  • Meals are prepared fresh in exactly the right quantities and delivered via a fleet of cargo cycles within the boundaries of Leeds city centre
  • You can order single meals, cater for five to 500 people or provide subsidised meals for your team
  • Meals range in price from £4 to £7 and include hot and cold options, including breakfast
  • The Lean Lunch team will run nutrition seminars and workshops to educate and inspire businesses and their teams

Sashay Dance on their global ambitions and growth since working with AD:VENTURE

Dance party specialists, Sashay Dance cover hen parties across the UK! Set up as a hobby the company has grown over the past year and looked to AD:VENTURE to help support that growth.

Sarah explains her connection with AD:VENTURE and how the programme helped her business.

“At Sashay Dance we specialise in fun hen party dance classes that cover all of the UK.

So think anything from ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ themed, we do ‘Greatest Showman’ and even ‘Charleston’ and sometimes the hens even perform the routine that they learn on their hen party at the wedding.”

“Well, I started Sashay Dance as a bit of a hobby, and it was quickly becoming apparent that it was becoming much more than a hobby. Someone recommended AD: Venture and the support they can provide, so I contacted them straight away.”

“My mentor Paul Rhodes helped me identify who my main customer was, prior to this I always thought it was the maid of honours, but it turns out it was more the business side, so like the hen agencies.”

“He helped create a strategy around approaching these hen agencies and building relationships and I also got an exciting opportunity to be filmed for ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ teaching a hen party dance class and he provided some excellent marketing advice to maximise that opportunity.”

“My mentor, Paul Rhodes, he was like an expert in B2B, so he helped give a lot of advice to manage those relationships and following his advice actually led us to winning ‘Best National Supplier’ with one of the UK’s biggest hen and stag companies.”

“Other shortlisted candidates included Revolution Group who do all the bars, so were delighted to have won that.”

“The advice I have been given has pushed me to think a lot bigger and the last session with my mentor, he was suggesting of franchising globally, which is something that was never in my original plan, but it’s certainly looking possible now.”

“Compared to last year, the growth rate is looking at about 200%, which is very high and recently I have just had to go on a leadership course this week, with AD:Venture, to sort of lead the big team I have got now. I have got maybe 35 – 40 teachers, and before I maybe had about 20, so things have changed completely and things have grown a lot.”

“The future looks very exciting and I think the next steps we’ve got a few avenues we can go down, from expanding globally to increasing the services we offer in the UK. So I am very excited about the future for Sashay Dance.”

To find out more about how AD:VENTURE can help accelerate your business growth get in touch today.

 

£11.8m boost for region’s SME manufacturers

Small to medium-sized (SME) manufacturers in Yorkshire can start taking advantage of an £11.8m business support boost to help them grow and address key skills issues.

The Manufacturing Growth Programme, which is funded by ERDF and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions (part of Oxford Innovation), will help a further 2400 companies to tackle barriers to growth, with the potential of creating 2,500 jobs.

Dean Barnes, regional director of the Manufacturing Growth Programme, said: “The £11.8m extension will provide enhanced support to more SME manufacturing businesses in Yorkshire, as well as having the opportunity to add further value to those companies we have already supported.

“Our Manufacturing Growth Managers are trusted experts that understand the language MDs are talking and, through a new manufacturing diagnostic tool, can guide them on making the right decisions, before bringing in specialists on specific issues they are facing or opportunities they’re looking to explore.”

Going forward, support can be used for an array of improvement projects, such as continuous improvements, change, environmental and sustainability, leadership and management, marketing, people and skills, productivity and capacity, quality and strategy.

The additional funding aims to provide a more valuable and quality level of assistance from a local Manufacturing Growth Manager that has years of industry experience.

An in-depth business diagnostic and action plan will be provided as part of the new programme, alongside improvement grants starting from £1000.

“In October 2016, we were given the task of setting up a programme capable of delivering over £10.3m of dedicated business support to SME manufacturers and I’m delighted to say that, thanks to the hard work of the staff and the Manufacturing Growth Managers on the ground, we have achieved that,” said Martin Coats, operations director of Oxford Innovation.

“Over the course of the last two and a half years we have helped more than 2000 SMEs to identify and overcome barriers to their growth and this has added millions of pounds to the local economy and created in excess of 3000 jobs, safeguarding thousands more in the process.”

He added: “Supporting Yorkshire manufacturers is not easy and you need a tailored approach, delivered by experts who understand what it is like working in industry.

“The Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and local Growth Hubs have seen first-hand the value we add to firms in their respective areas and this has resulted in their commitment to support us for another two and a half years.”

For further information on how to access the programme please visit https://www.manufacturinggrowthprogramme.co.uk/

 

Article from Business Desk 

AGENCY GETS ITS ‘WISH’ AS TURNOVER INCREASES 60% IN TWELVE MONTHS

Wish Digital, based just outside of Wetherby are celebrating after securing multiple account wins including Capita Customer Management, adding four new members to the team and increasing turnover by 60% in the last year.

Following an office move to a new Granary building, the business applied for a match-funded grant from AD:VENTURE, the ERDF programme supporting start-up and young businesses across the Leeds City Region, that would be used to put the infrastructure in place that would see its planned expansion become a reality.

Securing more than £7,000, the agency used the funds to fit out the office space and purchase equipment that would give digital marketers and developers access to the latest MAC computers and latest software, while older equipment was upgraded.

Wish Digital Ltd. Photography Bruce Fitzgerald

Director at Wish Digital, Chris Kell, comments: “It’s been a really strong year for us here at Wish and we have to attribute some of that to the funding we secured from AD:VENTURE. Having a professional office space, with leading equipment and facilities that give the right impression when you welcome clients should never be underestimated.

“Securing accounts, expanding the team and increasing our turnover has really set the foundations for the year ahead. As we consider our next three years we will be accessing the practical support and events that the AD:VENTURE programme offer and would encourage other young businesses with ambitious targets to do the same.”

Roger Marsh, OBE Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Accelerating the growth of businesses across Leeds City Region is key to achieving a strong, successful economy and the support and funding businesses can access through AD:VENTURE is helping to achieve just this.

“I am delighted to hear that Wetherby-based Wish Digital is winning new customers, growing their team and increasing turn over and will continue to access the support available through AD:VENTURE as it continues to grow.”

With 16 staff working across the Wish Group, which provides specialist digital and marketing services to organisations of all sizes, the company has plans to extend its client portfolio to include more household names and blue-chip brands in the next twelve months.

For further details about Wish Digital, please visit: www.wishdigital.co.uk or call 0113 4684340 and for information about the AD:VENTURE programme and the practical and match-funded support it offers, please visit: www.ad-venture.org.uk.

Event for small businesses to boost their online brand

small business events

New and growing digital businesses in West Yorkshire are invited to attend a free event in Halifax around the importance of creating a strong online brand identity.

The networking event takes place on Friday 30 November at Leeds Beckett’s University Business Centre at Piece Mill in Halifax, from 8.30 to 10.30am. For more information, and to book a place, please visit www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/eiahub/events/digi-breakfast-seminar/

The event forms part of the University Business Centre’s monthly Digi Breakfast Seminar series. Speaking at this month’s breakfast will be LinkedIn trainer Nigel Cliffe, Principal Consultant at Value Exchange.

The Digi Breakfast Seminar series aims to provide a space for businesses to gain new knowledge and skills and network with other people working in the sector.

The series is delivered as part of the Digital Shift programme, within the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)-funded AD:VENTURE project, which supports young and growing businesses in the Leeds City Region, and delivered by Leeds Beckett University and Calderdale Council. The programme aims to promote the Calderdale region as a location to start and grow innovative digital and creative businesses in the UK.

Many of the activities are delivered from the University Business Centre at Piece Mill in Halifax. The Centre provides virtual office, co-working and private offices along with access to training, events and advice.

Katie Rigarlsford, Leeds Beckett University’s Business Centre and Regional Business Development Manager, said: “Since the opening of our Halifax University Business Centre we have seen a growing interest from digital and tech start-ups who are now choosing Halifax over more traditional locations such as Leeds or Manchester due to its great connectivity, transport links and the support available to help them achieve growth.”

An added benefit for businesses choosing to base themselves at the Centre is the installation of one of the fastest internet connections available in the Yorkshire region. ‘DarkLight’, provided by partners Exa Networks, is an ultrafast internet connectivity (multi-gigabit capable) which supports businesses to achieve high-level digital engagement, from video streaming to Cloud services through to large-scale data processing all along the Calderdale valley.

Exa Director, Mark Cowgill, said: “We’re proud to be at the forefront of developing the UK’s first ‘Gigabit Valley’ and to be working with Leeds Beckett University to help lay the groundwork for the next generation of digitally engaged businesses.”