Tag: Grants

Business Grants Manager

About Ad: Venture
Ad: Venture is a £22 million programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which supports new and young business across the Leeds city region to achieve their growth potential. The programme is managed by Leeds City Council and delivered and supported by a wide partnership of organisations, including local authorities, chambers of commerce, universities and social enterprises. The programme offers a range of different support including, grants, one to one advice and mentoring, workshops and events.

About the role
Ad: Venture is recruiting a Business Grants Manager to manage, lead and develop the business grants scheme Leeds CC administers on behalf of the Ad: Venture programme. The Ad: Venture grants team currently manages a scheme totalling £7.2 million which provides grants of between £1,000- £ 25,000 to new and young businesses in the Leeds City Region.

The role will be central to the delivery and on-going development of Ad: Ventures grant programme; managing and leading our team of grant officers, overseeing our systems and process to ensure high performance, and working across the partnership to ensure that our grant scheme provides an excellent client experience and meets their needs, while also fulfilling our commitments to funders.

About you

If you would like to discuss the role before apply please contact, Ad: Venture Programme Manager, Sarah Carling, at sarah.carling@leeds.gov.uk.

This post will be part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Ad:Venture programme.

We promote diversity and want a workforce that reflects the population of Leeds. Leeds City Council is a Stonewall Top 100 employer, a Mindful employer and a Disability Confident employer.

All new Leeds City Council appointments are made subject to the satisfactory completion of a six month probationary period.

Contact Ad: Venture Programme Manager, Sarah Carling, at sarah.carling@leeds.gov.uk to discus the role.

Closing date – 11 March 2021

Salary – £38,890.00 – £41,881.00 – 37 Hrs PW Fixed Term till June 2023

APPLY HERE

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/

Self storage company beats lockdown thanks to tech

A family-run self-storage company that opened in York just nine months ago has kept ahead of the competition, thanks to investing in online resources. 

Go Store self storage was set up by Rory Windham, his uncle Norman Galbraith and his cousin Jamie Galbraith, and offers storage space for people and businesses at its premises at Monk’s Cross Drive in York.  

The 900 storage units range from the size of a car boot to a squash court, and everything in between. In total the facility offers rentable spaces in 35 different sizes. 

Before and during the lockdown, thanks to grants of just over £11,000 from business support programme AD:VENTURE, the company had invested in IT improvements, such as VoIP telephones; website development, including dynamic pricing and booking; with plans for an online facility to sign contracts digitally, thus removing the need to meet face to face. 

The technology means Rory and the team can manage the facility remotely, allowing monitored access for customers and enabling the site to operate safely under Covid19 restrictions 

“It was a bit of a stroke of luck that we had all this in place for lockdown. It means the business was immediately more resilient and able to offer something many larger and more established storage sites couldn’t do,” said Rory. 

“We are competing against the big boys with deep pockets and the grants meant we can actually compete on that level. The new technology has helped us remain ahead of the market, and business is continuing to grow as we ease out of lockdown and the restrictions. 

The funding from AD:VENTURE, a  programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)has also paid for high-quality furniture for the reception area to give customers a better experience.  

Go Store has created three jobs so far. But Rory says it has also helped create and support about ten other jobs indirectly, as local people use the site as a storage base for their e-commerce businesses.  

Rory and Norman had operated a similar business in the North East, before selling that to a national operator. 

They wanted to move to York as they saw a gap in the market for self-storage and took several years to acquire a suitable location; on a busy road by a retail park and popular drive-thru restaurants.  

“We wanted a visible site as we knew from previous experience that works so much better than being tucked away round the back of an industrial park,” said Rory. 

Councillor Andrew Waller, portfolio holder for Economy and Strategic Planning at York City Council, said “Go Store Self Service Ltd are an excellent example of how start-ups are contributing to the city’s economic growth and these will be vital to our recovery. It’s an incredibly challenging time for all businesses, so to see a young company continuing to grow and create and support jobs despite the impact of Covid-19 is a much needed boost for everyone.  

Supporting our new and growing firms is an essential part of our wider growth strategy, and we are proud to partner with AD:VENTURE to offer this much needed support to help our young firms to thrive. 

Support available to businesses from AD:VENTURE also includes professional workshops, incubator office space, director networks and specialist sector advice. To qualify for AD:VENTURE support businesses must be less than three-years-old or pre-start.  

AD:VENTURE’s  funding and delivery partners are from across the Leeds City Region and include Make it York and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce 

To find out more about Go Store Self Storage go to https://www.gostore.co.uk/ and for AD:VENTURE please visit www.ad-venture.org.uk  

Yorkshire business support programme provides over £1m in grant funding

A Yorkshire business support programme has provided more than a million pounds in grant funding since its launch. 

AD:VENTURE, which helps ambitious new businesses trading for less than three years in North and West Yorkshire, has provided over £1.3m of funding to start-up firms and helped create 391 jobs. 

Since the programme started at the end of 2016, AD:VENTURE has helped more than 3000 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region, and approved 156 grants to help start-up businesses to grow, including support for purchasing vital equipment and moving to suitable premises.  

Partners of AD:VENTURE include the regionnine 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.  

The programme has also supported 826 people aged 18 to 30 through its Explore Enterprise Course, run in partnership with The Prince’s Trust. 

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and NP11, said: “Programmes like AD:VENTURE help start-up businesses to speed up their growth, and that leads to a stronger economy. 

“We have some fantastic new businesses in this region and these figures show that with the right support provided at the right time, start-ups can go from strength to strength.” 

One of the businesses benefiting from the programme is Halifax-based Candle Digital, an online learning platform for training providers. The team worked with an AD:VENTURE advisor who helped them to target the right people that could benefit from their service. 

Mark Langdale, director of Candle Digital, said: “We can’t recommend AD:VENTURE enough. The business support we have received is far beyond anything we could ever have expected. 

“We would suggest to any start-up business that they investigate the advice, guidance and sessions that are on offer and make the most of them.” 

Power Sheds, a shed manufacturer based in Bradford, have also seen the benefits of accessing AD:VENTURE grant funding, which was used to help purchase an automated saw. The equipment measures the timber to the correct length allowing it to be cut very quickly and reduces waste.  

The new equipment means that Power Sheds are on target to triple their size within the next year, with plans to expand into Europe. Jack Sutcliffe, director of Power Sheds, says the support they have had from AD:VENTURE has played a big part in the company’s rapid growth. 

“They’ll happily come out and see you and are always available to give you advice on anything that you might need. They’ve also advised us on where to go for other funding and put us in contact with lots of different people who might be able to help us.” 

AD:VENTURE is a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) match funded programme which offers grant funding, mentoring and business development advice to pre-start, young and new firms with growth potential in the Leeds City Region. The programme also runs free events tailored to new businesses and offers support to young people who are keen to develop entrepreneurial skills 

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

AD:VENTURE CELEBRATING 3 MORE YEARS OF INTENSIVE SUPPORT FOR REGIONS START-UPS

We are delighted to share the following news about our programme!

AD:VENTURE, our ERDF part funded programme supporting start-ups and scale-ups with practical support and match-funded grants, has been awarded an extension by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Testament to the success of the programme, which has actively worked with over 1,513 businesses and 1,019 individuals, AD:VENTURE will now run to 2022, making it a six year programme with a value of £18.2m.

Engaging with 710 young people to explore enterprise or self-employment and delivering a schedule of more than 200 events, resulting in 287 additional jobs, the balance of both practical and grant assisted support delivered by professionals has provided significant benefits to business.

96 organisations have received match-funded grants since the programme launched in late 2016, with 125 approved projects representing a total combined worth of £2.3m, securing £665,849 from the AD:VENTURE programme.

Delivered by a consortium of public and private sector organisations, the programme offers tailored packages of support to start-up businesses throughout the Leeds City Region.

Access to workshops, seminars and specialist sessions is complemented by one-to-one assistance from professional Business Advisors, enabling personalised support tailored to the needs of each organisation and the challenges they are facing to growth and future success.

Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and NP11, Roger Marsh OBE, comments: “The success of the AD:VENTURE programme really does tell its own story. The business community throughout the Leeds City Region is vibrant, diverse and growing. Having ongoing access to the support, advice and guidance from experts, as well as funding provision, can only enhance this further.

“Knowing that start-ups and young organisations are attending workshops and accessing the bespoke help that they need is reassuring. It shows that we have in place the provision we need to nurture entrepreneurship across our region and to become an example of best practice for others.”

Working with partners across Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York, the extension means the AD:VENTURE programme will continue to deliver the same model of support across each town and city.

Michael Burnham of Hydro-Flux in Batley comments: “Without AD:VENTURE there is no way we could have put our idea into practice. Not only did we need some guidance and governance to make sure we were following the necessary processes, but we were also finding it difficult to raise the funds, as the equipment and tooling isn’t cheap.

Michael and Douglas Burnham, Hydro-Flux, Batley, Yorkshire

Securing the grant made all of the difference and we went from kitchen table to furnished offices almost overnight. It was great. Not only was the environment different but we were also able to approach the business with a different mindset”

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

Mark Langdale from Candle Digital, based in Halifax said: “We can’t recommend AD:VENTURE or Leeds Beckett University enough. The support we have received is far beyond anything we could ever have expected. We would suggest to any start-up or young business that they investigate the advice, guidance and sessions that are on offer and make the most of them”

 

Helen Northard, who recently launched Human Spirit Ltd said “If I hadn’t had the support from AD:VENTURE I wouldn’t have had the courage to go for a tender. It’s not about my self-belief or knowing that I can deliver for my customers, it’s about taking steps that are very much outside of my comfort zone. Having a business can be isolating, especially when you’re used to working for big corporations, but with the support from AD:VENTURE I’ve had access to professional training sessions, advisors and a network of trusted partners, I can’t recommend the programme enough!”

Director of Crimson Bear based in Craven, Paul Johnson, comments: “When we launched the business we always intended to grow but by accessing the AD:VENTURE programme we were able to move our plans forward and put them into practice far sooner. Thanks to the grant and the practical support we were able to benefit from, we are now on track to turnover £2m, which is excellent news.”

For further details about AD:VENTURE please visit www.ad-venture.org.uk and for regular updates follow @ADVENTURE_LCR.

NEW PRODUCT MAKES GLOBAL SPLASH THANKS TO £20,000 FROM AD:VENTURE

Hydro-flux, the company providing innovations to simplify swimming pool installation and maintenance, is celebrating thanks to a £20,000 match-funded grant from AD:VENTURE, the ERDF funded programme supporting start-up and young businesses from across the Leeds City Region.

Launching in October 2017, the business set out with the ambition to create products that would make the installation and maintenance of swimming pools simpler, safer and more environmentally friendly.

With the design for the FlowBright, a swimming pool lighting system that would illuminate without the need for complex installations, expensive additional equipment or electrical costs, the company recognised that it needed some assistance to take its idea to the next stage.

Turning to AD:VENTURE, the company worked alongside a dedicated Business Advisor, Paul Tansey, to put together detailed plans, forecasts and targets. Once complete, the organisation was assessed for its eligibility to access grant funding from the programme and secured just under £20,000.

Using the funds to change a large warehouse into furnished offices, the business was able to purchase furniture, computers, printers, and the tooling equipment required to manufacture the product, making it a viable innovation to take to market.

Director at Hydro-flux, Michael Burnham, comments: “Without AD:VENTURE there is no way we could have put our idea into practice. Not only did we need some guidance and governance to make sure we were following the necessary processes, but we were also finding it difficult to raise the funds, as the equipment and tooling isn’t cheap.

“Securing the grant made all of the difference and we went from kitchen table to furnished offices almost overnight. It was great. Not only was the environment different but our mindset and the way that we approached the business changed.”

 

Michael Burnham, with Paul Tansey from Ad-Venture, at Hydro-Flux, Batley, Yorkshire

 

Roger Marsh, OBE Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “I am very pleased that Kirklees-based Hydro-flux was able to turn their ideas into a reality with support from AD:VENTURE.

“It is great that innovative and ambitious businesses like Hydro-flux are able to access the finance and support they need for equipment and premises, enabling them to meet their growth ambitions.”

Attending the International Pool, Spa and Patio Expo in Las Vegas and the Piscine Global, Swimming Pool and Wellness Exhibition in France during November, the company had its first opportunity to showcase the FlowBright, which is the most environmentally friendly lights on the market, as it contributes zero carbon emissions during its operational lifetime.

Engaging with global distributors the business owners were overwhelmed with the interest in the product and in addition to two signed agreements, they have further partnership opportunities in Dubai, British Columbia, Romania and Turkey to consider.

Director at Hydro-flux, Michael Burnham, comments: “The response to the product has been really positive. We expected interest in the innovation but certainly not to sign two distributor agreements there and then!

“This experience has given us further confidence and reassurance in the potential that our business has moving forward. There really is nothing like the FlowBright on the market and as we have taken the time and effort to patent the technology, we know we have a real niche that we now need to capitalise upon.”

Using the feedback from its FlowBright product, Hydro-flux is now working on other innovations that will allow it to capitalise upon the technology that it has patented and meet with the challenges that it knows pool installers and maintenance staff are faced with.

For further details about Hydro-flux please visit www.hydro-flux.com or call 01924 472665 and for more information about AD:VENTURE and the range of sessions, workshops, support and funding that the programme offers please visit, www.ad-venture.org.uk.