Tag: Business Support

CANDLE DIGITAL BURNS BRIGHT WITH INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS

Start-up Support

Candle Digital, the organisation that gives companies the opportunity to sell their services online by turning their expertise into digital products, has moved to new premises at the University Business Centre in Halifax and announced that it has secured international clients in the US and China.

Just eighteen months after launching, Andy Jack and Mark Langdale, have used their experience from the online learning industry to create a company that gives SMEs the chance to scale their business using digital tools to sell their expertise, rather than just their time.

Taking the opportunity to access support from AD:VENTURE, the ERDF funded programme providing practical and match-funded support for SMEs, and Leeds Beckett University, the business has been able to put in place processes and plans that have seen it expand far quicker than was first intended.

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.

“Moving to our new offices and securing international clients is a huge step forward for us and we are looking forward to what the future holds.”

start-up support

Andy Jack and Mark Langdale, at Candle Digital, Leeds Beckett University Business Centre, Piece Mill, Halifax

In addition to the offices and customers that the company has secured, it was also invited to take part in a recent trip to Copenhagen, as part of the Interreg scheme, supported by Leeds Beckett University.

Making further connections and contacts, the company now has more ideas and the opportunity to showcase its products to a much wider audience.

Jesse Stott, Business Centre Co-ordinator for the University of Halifax Business Centre, comments: “Candle Digital is a great example of an organisation that has recognised the value in the collaborative approach we adopt across our region and how this can impact on growth. We really do hope that more start-up and young businesses will do the same and rely on our professional network to sign-post them so that they get the help they need to reach their potential sooner.”

The Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift, said: “Just over a month from its official launch, it’s great that the Leeds Beckett University Business Centre in Halifax is attracting ambitious local businesses.

“The support available at the Centre as part of AD:VENTURE’s Digital Shift programme is helping start-up and growing businesses to flourish, establishing Calderdale as the place to develop digital and creative business.”

For further details about Candle Digital and the products and services it offers please visit www.candle.digital and for more information about Leeds Beckett University AD:VENTURE options and business support, please call (0113) 812 4860 or visit www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/business-services.

FREE FROM GLUTEN BUT NOT FROM AWARDS AS WILDCRAFT BAKES ITS WAY TO SUCCESS

Wildcraft Gluten Free Bakery, run by entrepreneurs Mina Allsopp and Sam Havis, is celebrating after securing three national FreeFrom Food Awards which encourage innovation and celebrate excellence in the freefrom food industry

The bakery won a Gold Award for the Sprouted Buckwheat Sourdough Loaf, Silver for the Brioche, and Overall Winner for Best Product from a new start-up.

This success, which comes just 18 months after the partnership decided to work together, is in no small part thanks to the Business Growth Collective and Leadership Event run by Leeds Trinity University, which was funded by AD:VENTURE, the ERDF programme supporting start-ups and young enterprises throughout the Leeds City Region.

Developing a range of products and adding to their many free from gluten concepts meant the Directors increasingly spent more time in the kitchen, and less time working on their business strategy.

It was at this point that Sam started to look for business support and came across the Business Growth Collective and Leadership Events, which are delivered by Andy Gilliland, a former Accountant specialising in early phase business growth who is now Academic Group Leader for Business, Management and Marketing at Leeds Trinity University.

Photography by Morgan O’Driscoll on location at Wildcraft Gluten Free Bakery, Leeds.

The Business Growth Collective gave new businesses the chance to share their challenges and work on them collectively. Using the advice and feedback of others, each delegate would then work on their challenge at home to identify suitable and sustainable ways to take their company forward.

Sam found the leadership workshop, delivered by Ian McGregor Brown, a Senior Lecturer in Business at Leeds Trinity University, to be a relevant and timely session which enabled her to better strategically plan for growth.

Sam comments: “A business advisor had made me aware of some of the support that is available for start-up businesses and when I looked into it there was quite a few options, which was great, but I needed something that would be accessible for me and the time I could commit.

“The Business Growth Collective and Leadership events were great. I really liked the idea of talking to others in the same position, sharing experiences and using our collective knowledge to tackle each challenge. It certainly helped to refine my thoughts.”

From the sessions, Sam was relieved to get the confirmation and additional confidence she needed to know that the business was on the right tracks. Tackling the hurdle of how to get out of the bakery to work on the business, the company was able to put in place longer-term plans and has appointed two full-time and two part-time staff.

Andy Gilliland, Academic Group Leader for Business, Management and Marketing at Leeds Trinity University, said: “Hearing about the progress that Wildcraft Gluten Free Bakery has made since the sessions is further evidence that we are able to make a real and positive difference to the businesses we engage with. It’s great to hear that this company has taken the advice gleaned from the sessions, put it into practice and is seeing the benefits first-hand. We wish them every success for the future and look forward to tasting some of their delicious products when we next visit.”

Ian Rowe, Director of Business Development and Knowledge Exchange at Leeds Trinity University, said: “We are often asked how we measure success. Hearing stories like this, where a start-up is now a national award-winning business, is all the evidence we need. The sessions give aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to put the theory into practice and this approach is proving to be very effective.”

Making this commitment, Mina and Sam can now concentrate on running the business, which has included a renewed focus on raising the profile of the brand and taking the time to submit to national awards.

Sam adds: “Start-up companies can shy away from business events, believing that they know what they are doing, but we are a great example of how this support can help businesses to grow more quickly. We wouldn’t have made the appointments we have without the guidance we took from the Business Growth Collective and Leadership events.

“We would certainly encourage others to take a look and to see if there are any workshops, sessions or longer-term programmes that will support them with their future plans. As an award-winning business, we would certainly say it’s been worth it.”

Following its ongoing success and profile, Wildcraft Gluten Free Bakery is now looking for larger industrial premises in Leeds that will allow it to extend its production and consider new routes to market including mail order.

For further details about Wildcraft Gluten Free Bakery please visit: https://www.wildcraftbakery.com or for regular updates follow @WildcraftBakery. For details about the AD:VENTURE programme and how it supports start-up and young enterprises throughout the Leeds City Region please visit: www.ad-venture.org.uk and for regular updates follow @ADVENTURE_LCR.

Leeds entrepreneur builds sustainable future for 3D printing

SME grant

3D printing is a fast-growing disruptive technology. From humble beginnings as a novelty demonstration tool 3D printing has become a growing player in the manufacturing world, as the technology to utilise it becomes faster and more efficient than ever before.

Leeds Entrepreneur of the Year Ravi Toor is all too aware of this. Having graduated with a BA in Environment and Business and Leeds University he saw a need for change in the market, which relies on plastic ‘filaments’ to build models and products.

“There’s a clear environmental need for recycled filament” Ravi said.

90% of all plastics worldwide are derived from non-recyclable sources, so in response to this Ravi founded Filamentive.

Using recycled polymers, the business has quickly gained traction in producing environmentally friendly filaments for the industry.

“I want to transform the 3D printing industry” said Ravi.

“The technology is brilliant, but now it can be sustainable too.”

Ravi approached the AD:Venture business support programme to help him set up his business. AD:Venture Advisor Rebekah Smith supported Ravi with writing a business plan and cash flow forecast, as well as steering him to digital marketing advice for the start-up business.

AD:Venture partner the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) then followed, by delivering start-up funding to boost Filamentive’s stock capacity.

“The business support has been invaluable; not only are we growing, but we’re also improving the sustainability of 3D printing at the same time.” Said Ravi.

“Over the last year’s trading, while I was still finishing my degree, we achieved £50,000 revenue and we’re aiming for six figures in the next 12 months.”

Julie Micklethwaite, BEF Start Up Loans Manager, delivered the funding for Ravi.

“Filamentive is a fantastic example of how to find a gap in a very innovative market. The Start Up Loan we provided has been put to great use, and I’m delighted to see the business thrive.” She said.

Filamentive has since secured a trade deal with Amazon, opening the market to customers in the USA, including schools and manufacturing businesses such as NOA Brands – the world’s largest producer of mannequins.