Tag: Business Support

Northern Max 3 Hits the halfway point on virtual delivery and top marks on results!

The Northern Max 3 programme is now over half-way, having just delivered its 6th workshop, 3rd masterclass and 2nd ‘speed dating’ meeting.  The programme is taking the 15-strong cohort through a very intensive workshop schedule where there has been a lot of self-assessment and analysis resulting in some startling revelations about themselves!

The cohort have been working collectively throughout the programme and have already developed relationships that will continue post the 10-week programme.

Week 3 delivered by Sara Scott focused on route to markets and the core elements that make up, influence and affect a business’ brand.

Alison Bull, Founder of Tandem Agency delivered week 4’s workshop and built on the foundations of Sara’s session looking at profiling the customer.

Lisa Grogan, co-CEO of Overlap Associates addressed the cohort from Canada about user-centred design to develop strategies, plans and a way of solving problems and the principles of how she started and grew her business as well as juggling a family life.

Week 5 featured Paula Finch talking about people and resources, where she led the group through a shared understanding of the principles of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and how this is critical to building work teams.

Week 6 started with Sankar Sivarajah, Head of School of Management at Bradford University talking all things circular economy, partnerships and the importance of inclusive strategies.  Annabelle Beckwith followed the masterclass with her session on Partnerships and Collaborations and the importance of finding the right business partner – along with the horror stories!

Initial feedback from participants has all been positive, some highlights below:

“It helped me to think about what my audiences are looking for and how to speak to them in a way that will make them take action”

“the presentation skills really made me think about my own development and how I can look to improve how I interact with people”

Northern Max 3, is a specialist business support programme for digital and technology firms in the Leeds/Bradford area.  This fully funded business support programme, running across a period of ten weeks, started on 23 April.  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.

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

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

Yorkshire fashion designer says ‘slow’ may become the fashion

A top fashion designer who came back to her Yorkshire roots to launch a high-end brand says the current lockdown may change the way people shop.

Sonya Bachra-Byrne, who is originally from Bradford, travelled the world working at top fashion houses for 18 years, before coming back to West Yorkshire to launch AVIE with her husband Liam last year.

Based in Leeds, the company specialises in ‘slow fashion’, or clothing that is stylish and lasts, as opposed to the ‘fast fashion’ of many high street brands.

AVIE, which was named ‘Emerging Brand of 2019’ in the prestigious Drapers Independent Awards and invited to exhibit at Paris Fashion Week 2020, has been given business support by AD:VENTURE, a  programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Sonya said: “In the current situation, if you look at the sales figures, consumerism seems to be changing and it is more about buying less and buying better quality that will last longer. People are slowly moving away from the fast fashion of the high street and buying investment pieces that transcend seasons.

“As a brand we also strive to work with sustainable fabrications from natural fibres where possible, created with less chemicals. So, the environment benefits too.”

AVIE manufactures ethical luxury clothing aimed at women professionals, particularly those in the creative industries, with samples made in London and manufacturing in Europe. But Sonya hopes one day to move the manufacturing nearer to home.

The original idea for the brand started when Sonya was working in New York with celebrity clients like Demi Moore, Jessica Alba and Helen Hunt. The plans slowly grew as she travelled the world, working in countries like Spain, Italy and Denmark, before finally ending up in Australia as head of global design.

“My own experience gave me the idea for the brand. At the level I was working at I needed to look the part to be taken seriously as I could be presenting to a board of directors who were all men for example. I needed to have authority and style without looking like a fashion victim.

“And then I took a little bit from each country I had worked in. For example, New York is polished with an attitude and Denmark is effortlessly edgy and minimalistic. So, when I came back to the UK, I had a clear idea of where I wanted the business to be and who I was targeting.”

But as a start-up business, AVIE needed to make the right impression to be taken seriously. This is where AD:VENTURE came to Sonya’s aid with advice and funding. The company was given a grant to pay for top-end portable photographic equipment, which meant Sonya and Liam, who is a photographer and videographer, could set up professional photoshoots in impressive locations.

The pictures from those shoots literally opened doors for the company, with the invitations to Paris Fashion Week and an invitation from an exclusive online German marketplace for sustainable fashion.

AVIE also trades online via its own website and, when they are open, through independent boutiques in Leeds and London.

Sonya said: “I can’t believe how far we have come as a business already and a lot of that is thanks to the support from AD:VENTURE. Working with them was a catalyst that propelled us forward as a business. My AD:VENTURE mentor was amazing at putting us in touch with the right people and the grant really helped us get to the next level. Without that support I think I would have struggled for the next four or five years.”

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

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “Avie are a fantastic example of how business support programmes can give exciting local businesses the tools they need to grow, which in turn creates jobs and prosperity for the region.

“With the current challenges affecting businesses, we would urge them now more than ever to get in touch and access programmes like AD:VENTURE, and make sure they are taking advantage of support available to them to put them in the best possible position to thrive and find new ways through these unprecedented times we find ourselves in.”

To find out more about Avie, visit avie-studio.com.

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.

Leeds bicycle delivery service is on the right track

An eco-friendly delivery service in Leeds is on a roll after launching on the first day of the coronavirus lockdown.  

Dabble launched on 23 March, the same day the government announced the lockdown to combat COVID:19. The company use bicycles to provide a delivery service for a range of shops around Chapel Allerton, enabling customers to continue supporting local businesses even if they can’t physically reach their premises. The aim is to provide customers with a weekly shop from a range of local shops. 

Dabble managing director Sam Leather said: “We’ve been planning the business since last year, but we pushed the launch forward because of the current demand for home delivery. During these uncertain times, we feel we can provide a vital service to the community and support local businesses at a time when they really need it. We have a captive audience and hopefully they will continue to use our services in the future when the world eventually returns to normal.” 

Dabble was founded by Sam and Joe Clough, who were inspired by the bustling community of the High Street in Chapel Allerton.  

Shops can list their products on Dabble’s website, and the firm will organise the delivery.  Sam said“We can take away that hassle and business owners can spend more time on developing their products. It’s great that we can help companies reach customers they wouldn’t usually be able to reach.” 

Sam believes the service Dabble provide can help reduce unnecessary journeys and help people who are vulnerable or self-isolating“People in the area are looking to make a positive step. We had a customer who said he is happy to pay more for delivery as he sees the benefit to the environment as well as the convenience.” 

Sam and Joe eventually want to be able to roll the service out further. “We are hoping that we can support more shops and establish ourselves in other parts of North Leeds,” Sam added. Long-term, we hope to work with farmers to help Leeds become a more self-sufficient city.” 

With the support of Leeds Beckett University and AD:VENTURE, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)Sam and Joe have benefited from masterclasses in sales and marketing and met like minded entrepreneurs. 

“I studied business at university, so the free masterclasses were a brilliant refresher and it was great to be around other business people,” Sam said. 

“To anyone who is looking for business support, I’d definitely recommend AD:VENTURE. It’s an amazing support network and can open up opportunity right on your doorstep.” 

Kirstie Frenneaux, Project Manager at Leeds Beckett University, said: “It’s great to see a small business like Dabble providing a vital service to their community in these challenging times. It’s more important than ever that services like this are available and I fully expect that Dabble will continue to expand and thrive when the pandemic is over.  

This is a great example of the effect that the support we provide in partnership with AD:VENTURE can have on exciting new businesses in Leeds.” 

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

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/. 

The Effect of COVID-19 on Commercial Contracts

We have seen in recent days that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, is bringing uncertainty to many businesses. The unprecedented restrictions in travel across the world and the cancellation of many public events is impacting upon many supply chains. In turn, we have seen large numbers of businesses begin to operate flexibly by developing alternative means of work, and a smaller percentage suspending operations altogether.

At this time, many businesses are rightly considering the contractual and legal issues arising from this extraordinary situation.

Understanding your contractual position

Generally, the parties are required to perform their obligations set out in a contract in full by any deadline specified.  This applies to performance of all contractual obligations, including payments due. However, there are two common exceptions to this rule:

  • Force Majeure – A number of written contracts will include a force majeure clause. A force majeure clause will usually suspend or end performance obligations where a party is prevented from performing its contractual obligations due to events outside of its control. However, even when they exist within a contract, the wording and protective scope of force majeure clauses can differ. As a result, it is necessary to consider the wording of the specific clause to determine (i) whether Covid-19 amounts to a force majeure event under a particular contract; (ii) the impact of the clause; and (iii) whether any other conditions need to be satisfied, such as notice requirements.
  • Frustration – Even where no force majeure clause exists, the legal doctrine of frustration may be available in situations where a change in circumstances makes it physically or commercially impossible to perform the contract, or would render performance radically different. The bar for relying upon frustration is high, and, similar to relying on a force majeure clause, a party seeking to rely on such may be open to legal challenge by a counterparty to a contract.

Although most businesses who are currently concerned about their contracts will want to consider the above two points, it is advisable that businesses seeking to rely on such obtain legal advice before purporting to rely on either the contractual relief of a force majeure clause or the legal doctrine of frustration.

Varying existing agreements to improve probability of performance, maintain relationships and bring certainty

At this time, we are seeing an increase in companies approach us with concerns over their ability to discharge their duties under their contracts, as well as being concerned about the ability of others to perform theirs. Even where strict legal rights exist, it is not always commercially astute to enforce them and there are situations where it is prudent to seek to relax performance requirements, in order to maintain relationships, aid cash flow and prevent the need for crippling legal action.

In relation to this, we are advising businesses to:

  • Understand your strict legal position, to determine whether you are negotiating from a position of strength or weakness.
  • Not verbally or informally change terms in your contracts (particularly in relation to material or major contracts). Rather, we recommend that you formally record any variations that you may agree in writing (it may even be a requirement in your contracts that such variations are in writing as agreed between the parties).
  • Carefully consider the practical impacts that any variations will have. The choices you make as a business will reflect the commercial constraints which are unique to you, such as the importance to you of cash flow, your ability to make internal decisions and reputation management. These elements differ from business to business and there is not a one size fits all approach that should be taken.

The options available to you very much depend on what the terms of your contracts state, and it is important that any variations that you make are made only when you fully understand the impact of such on your contracts as a whole.

Most businesses will want to consider what their obligations are and whether they can still practically achieve them. Customers experiencing cash flow issues themselves will probably want to look at alternative payment options. When dealing with customer concerns, businesses may be able to agree to split payment into a number of instalments over a set period of time to ease cash flow for the customer, but to ensure payment in full is received in time by the recipient business.

Such steps can assist from a reputation point of view in these hard times. For businesses that are able to weather the storm that Covid-19 now presents, they want to ensure that they come out with a loyal customer and supplier base to continue trade in the future.

Continued use of standard contractual documents

Covid-19 has caught society and many businesses by surprise. Business continuity is now being tested across many sectors in the UK, and in turn businesses will shortly discover the robustness of their legal documentation.

Many businesses in the UK trade on standard terms of business – in most cases, it is prudent to do so. In the current climate it is advisable to consider whether any amendments should be made to your standard contractual documentation to provide protection to your business in the coming weeks, months and beyond in relation to Covid-19 and any similar pandemics that may arise in the future. For example, many force majeure clauses reference unforeseeable events. It could be argued that, for contracts entered into six months ago, Covid-19 may satisfy this definition, but it is unlikely to do so in relation to contracts being entered into in the coming weeks.

The content of this advice article has been kindly provided to AD:VENTURE by Sarah Briscall and Joe Gosling, members of the Commercial Team at Shulmans LLP

Shulmans LLP will become Knights plc on 24 April 2020

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

North Yorkshire vehicle safety firm launches lifesaving AirBar

A North Yorkshire company has set the wheels in motion with a brand-new safety device which could save the lives of drivers, operatives and cyclists.

NuVech Solutions Ltd, based in Ripon, has launched the AirBar, an inflatable barrier fitted with LED lights which attaches to the front and back of lorries or vans. The device encourages motorists to slow down and move over and has been designed to alert approaching traffic and protect vulnerable operators working near live traffic.

The AirBar can also operate with the vehicle’s nearside indicator below speeds of 15mph to help alert cyclists of a turning vehicle.

NuVech has received orders from national hauliers, recovery companies and manufacturers, and is currently in final negotiations with a large American distributer to market the system in the USA and Canada.

The development of the AirBar has been supported by a £4000 grant from AD:VENTURE, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The money was used to adapt the company’s new premises at Phoenix Business Park in Ripon, owned by Harrogate Borough Council.

Sarah Scaife, co-director of NuVech, said: “We used to run driver training courses and one of the common things we found was that drivers were getting hit by passing cars as they worked around their vehicles. This is obviously a real safety concern.

“Our customers have witnessed first-hand the huge benefits to driver safety when the AirBar is deployed so we look forward to working with businesses who are keen to improve safety for their employees and vulnerable road users alike.”

“Due to its unique design, the AirBar will improve safety for drivers and operatives in the logistics industry. We wouldn’t have been able to get to this point without the support from AD:VENTURE. Their help has enabled us to get the wheels in motion in bringing the new product to market.”

NuVech Solutions was set up by Sarah and Simon Scaife in December 2017. The husband and wife team previously ran a separate company, Vehicle Transporter Training, which offered accredited transporter driver training courses. Simon has over 30 years’ experience in the vehicle logistics industry.

The AirBar was launched in September 2019 in the UK and has already won an innovation award from the Institute of Vehicle Recovery, despite being up against major manufacturers.

One of the first companies to order the AirBar is John Macadam and Son, a recovery firm based in Colne, Lancashire which operates across Yorkshire and North-West England. Director Alastair Macadam said: “The most important asset we have in the company is our staff and this system helps to protect them, which makes it invaluable.

“The device has already proved useful for our drivers – we were dealing with an incident on the M6 involving an overturned HGV and both the police and highways officers commented on the Airbar as being a good idea.”

As well as providing the £4000 grant, AD:VENTURE supported Simon and Sarah with creating a business plan, ensuring the device complied with industry legislation, and moving to NuVech’s current premises at Phoenix Business Park in Ripon.

Councillor Graham Swift, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, Economic Development and Enterprise at Harrogate Borough Council said: “It’s fantastic to see a new company based in Ripon developing such an innovative product, and we wish NuVech every success.

“We’re delighted to be a partner in the AD:VENTURE programme, it’s a valuable part of the local services we offer to help the growth of start-ups and new businesses like NuVech.”

Selby Start Up Smiles and Miles celebrate success

Smiles and Miles, the tutoring membership community launched by single mother of two and teacher of 23 years, Sarah Oliver, is celebrating after reaching its target to provide more than 100 students with access to the educational support they need, delivering no fewer than 80 sessions per week.

In addition, the start up business has also registered 10 tutors across a range of subject specialisms to manage the demand for its services, while also securing a tender with a third sector funder to provide education services to disadvantaged communities.

None of this would have been possible however without the support that Sarah has received from Selby District Council and ERDF funded programme, AD:VENTURE.

Sarah comments: “I would not be where I am today without the help I’ve received from AD:VENTURE and Selby District Council. Not only was I able to access loads of courses on a range of subjects, I also had 1:1 mentoring which was invaluable. Having a business is certainly a rollercoaster but with this support it becomes more manageable. It’s been an amazing journey.”

Realising that she wanted a better work and life balance, Sarah gave up her career of more than two decades as a primary school teacher to become an independent tutor.

Believing that youngsters need more than systems to pass exams, Sarah’s approach was to give children the chance to become life-long learners by helping them to become confident, happy and resilient. In turn, she believes this has a knock-on effect and allows young people to make greater academic progress.

Despite her best efforts, she couldn’t earn enough to live, yet it was obvious that there was increasing demand for her services and the approach that she takes.

Sarah turned to Selby District Council Senior Business Advisor, Heidi Green who put her in touch with AD:VENTURE Business Growth Advisor, Lisa Whalley. With a start-up that had potential to scale up, Sarah was able to access courses and a range of workshops while also attending networking cafes to meet with others in a similar situation.

Recognising the potential in the business, Sarah changed the model and created a business to business membership community, extending the number of students and tutors that Smiles and Miles was able to work with. This approach proved successful and has established the organisation within the sector.

Sarah continues: “I never thought my business would become so successful so quickly and thanks to the support I’ve had I have learnt so much about how to think like an entrepreneur. It’s not just about being the best at what you do, in my case it was also taking responsibility for organising the tutors, becoming a parent liaison, dealing with invoicing and then marketing. It’s a completely different set of skills.

“The access to professional advice has been incredible and with so much business support out there, I can’t believe every start up isn’t tapping into what’s available!”

Selby District Council Executive Member with responsibility for economic development, Cllr David Buckle, added: “This is a great example of how we’ve been able to work with others to offer practical help to support small business growth. We’ve got a great entrepreneurial spirit here in the Selby district, with lots of room to grow too. That’s one of the reasons Selby District Council works in partnership with business in this way.”

Future plans for Smiles and Miles are to franchise the business and to extend its reach beyond Yorkshire. Longer-term it is intended that the company will become a nationwide offering, showcasing what you can achieve when you access the advice and guidance that is offered from professional business services throughout the region.

For further details about the AD:VENTURE programme, please visit www.ad-venture.org.uk and for details about Selby District Council and its business services please access, https://www.selby.gov.uk/