Tag: Leeds Beckett University

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/

Access Hospitality on shaking up the hospitality service sector with AD:VENTURE.

Stuart Hill set up to Access Hospitality, to enable adults with learning disabilities to gain fulfilling, paid employment in the hospitality sector. He looked to AD:VENTURE for support and guidance to help grow his business.

Stuart explains his connection with AD:VENTURE and how the programme helped his business.

“The reason that this came about is around 4 years ago I set up a rugby team for adults with disabilities, and a couple of the lads that play on our team expressed an interest in working behind the club bar.”

“We went away and looked at what the barriers to that role were and how we could reduce or remove those to enable the job to be fulfilling and for them to be efficient in a service role, and the support that I have got from AD:Venture has been fantastic to help me with this project.”

“First of all, I am not from a business background, I’m a teacher by trade and so although I knew the user group and I knew the problem, I didn’t know how to formulize that into an effective business plan and I didn’t know enough about individual areas of specialisms or expertise to be able to move it forward.”

“AD:Venture supported me in helping me attend the Bradford Council Northern Max Accelerator programme which got lots of specialists together over a 3 month period and I came out of that having absolutely transformed the idea from ‘How do I get a couple of lads at a local sports and community club working behind the bar?’ to ‘Actually, this programme could support jobs in national hospitality chains, it could work across different sectors.’”

“There was a challenge there on my thinking towards the idea and growing the idea, but then I have worked on the building blocks to put in place to let me know how I could go about doing that.”

“One of the things that I don’t have in setting up a business is time and going to lots of networking events, to eventually get to the right people, was frustrating and having Eric as a business advisor has managed to cut through that.”

“The advice that I have had has been from either experts in their field, or people with years of experience, so it’s been hugely beneficial.”

“I have now got an office at the Leeds Beckett University Business Centre for 6 months and compared with working at home, where there are lots of distractions, having an office space a shared office space with inspiring people around me has made me much more productive.”

“In terms of the business and where it goes, it’s now very open, so we are testing lots of different sectors, we are testing lots of different markets and that’s exciting because rather than just having a one dimensional plan, we feel we have got a stronger plan, that has different income streams identified and different opportunities.”

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

 

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.

 

Success for small businesses in Yorkshire in Leeds Beckett awards

A Leeds Beckett University student with a therapeutic horticulture social enterprise, an e-learning training business and an all-female multimedia production company are among the winning entries in the 2019 Business Advantage Awards.

Five early-stage businesses scooped the awards – run by Leeds Beckett University in partnership with solicitors Lupton Fawcett, WGN Accountants and Yorkshire Bank – with each of them receiving £5,000 worth of legal support and mentoring. £1,000 of accountancy advice and 36 months’ free business banking.

The awards were presented on 25th March at the Innovation Network event in Leeds. These quarterly events are held at each of the University Businesses Centres in Leeds, Halifax and Wakefield and bring together start-up and early stage businesses to explore key themes and make connections.

Candle Digital, set up by Andy Jack and Mark Langdale, were delighted to be rewarded with a prize just 2 years after starting up. Working with training providers and coaching professionals Candle Digital provides expertise to help create digital training products online. The business has recently taken office space in the Leeds Beckett University Business Centre in Halifax.

Andy Jack, Candle Digital said; “We’re thrilled to have been given this opportunity, the awards, expertise and support will make a real impact on our business and help us take the next step in our growth.” 

Other winners included Krishna Patel owner of Dilishque, a manufacturer of authentic curry paste pots, Sophie Mei Lan Hale from Evoke Media Group, a film and media production company, Lemonbalm a therapeutic horticulture social enterprise run by student Isabel Swift and Binary Forge Ltd, a new software consultancy business specialising in Internet of Things devices recently set up by Glenn Pugh and Matthew Roberts.

The Business Advantage Awards began in 2015 and are open to students and graduates of Leeds Beckett (within five years of graduation), clients of the University’s Business Centres in Leeds, Wakefield and Halifax and businesses receiving support from AD:VENTURE – a European, ERDF funded programme which helps early stage businesses in the Leeds City Region to grow.

Simon Baldwin, Head of Research & Enterprise at Leeds Beckett University said ‘We are delighted to work again with our partners Lupton Fawcett, WGN and Yorkshire Bank on our annual Business Advantage Awards which have now provided invaluable support to over 25 early stage businesses in the last 4 years. The number and standard of entries continues to grow each year and we look forward to working with this years cohort’

£6000 of Scale-Up support from Leeds Beckett University

Workspace offer for NEW AD:VENTURE clients at Leeds Beckett University Business Centre’s

Free office facilities & a chance to win over £6,000 of business support

Leeds Beckett University is offering businesses the chance to kick start their growth plans in 2019 with a package of free support worth over £6000!

Eligible businesses will be able to register their business address and enjoy access to hot desking space at one of the University Business Centres in Leeds, Wakefield and Halifax for 6 months completely free of charge as part of the fantastic Grow Your Business offer.

All businesses will also benefit from a one to one diagnostic to help tailor a package of support through the ERDF funded Ad:Venture programme which includes expert mentoring, masterclasses and consultancy. Each business can access a minimum of 12 hours support to help fuel growth, increase turnover, create jobs or develop new products and services.

Businesses can also enter the annual Business Advantage Awards where 5 businesses can win a year’s free accountancy and legal support and 3 years free business banking (worth in excess of £6,000) Free specialist support will be offered through corporate partners – Yorkshire Bank, Lupton Fawcett, WGN, Exa Networks, The Yorkshire Post, Calderdale Council, Wakefield Council and Wakefield College. The awards deadline is the 27th February 2019.

By signing up to the AD:VENTURE programme through Leeds Beckett University business can take advantage of this incredible offer, as well as benefiting from a whole range of support across the region including access to growth grants worth £25,000, mentoring, networks and business development events.

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

We have a stronger understanding of who we are, why we’re doing this and who we should target. Moving to our new offices at the University Business Centre is a huge step forward for us and we are looking forward to what the future holds.’’ (Andy Jack, Candle Digital, An AD:Venture supported business).

The offer is open to new and growing businesses less than 3 years old and located in the Leeds City Region and is available to eligible businesses until July 2019.

For information about the offer, our Centres, eligibility and the support that is offered by AD:VENTURE please contact us:

www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/universitybusinesscentres

e: ubc@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

t: 0333 555 8855

 

Equal Care Co-op are Crowdfunding! – a new co-operative owned by care workers and the people they support

SME Funding

This is such a great story we had to share it – Ambitious and ethical start-up, Equal Care Co-op are crowdfunding to change the balance on of power in the provision of care services. Based at the University Business Centre in Halifax, this start-up is one to watch.

Read on to discover why……..

Imagine if Uber was owned by its drivers. Imagine if taskers got to make decisions about how TaskRabbit was run. This is exactly what Equal Care proposes to bring to social care with its exciting and radical new business model.

Equal Care Co-op is the UK’s first social care platform co-operative. The team are setting out to change the traditional homecare industry, refocusing the power, choice, and control onto the most important people involved: the people receiving the care and the people providing it – be they paid or unpaid, a family member or a professional carer.

This is a real gig economy alternative that pays equal attention to the rights of workers and the rights of those they support.

The gig economy has received a great deal of publicity in recent years – not all of it good. The formula has – inevitably – extended to the world of care work and there are now some established platforms offering a vetted labour pool and easy process for booking care workers of your choice.

However, the existing gig-economy platforms are vulnerable to the same criticisms levelled at nearly all companies operating such a business model. The worst-offending companies tell care workers that they have to offer a flat rate, that any bad review will knock them straight off the platform (one strike and you’re out) and that too many rejections of work opportunities will also push them off the platform.

On the other hand, some of the better platforms have gone on to become care providers in their right. Others remain as introductory agencies, avoiding the regulatory requirements involved in care provision, maintaining their status as technology services companies rather than providers of care.

All of these platforms are privately owned, and all of them retain a value-extraction based business model which charges a commission on every hour of care given. In most cases, these companies are angling for an exit from the market and a windfall for the founders and early-stage investors.

Equal Care Co-op has a different focus. By changing the balance of power that currently exists in services, some magical things can happen: people choose who supports them, workers get paid a decent wage, the huge levels of turnover in care services can stop. And people being supported get a chance to help others too.

Big ideals do not map well onto big profits, so Equal Care Co-op’s start-up route is a grant-dependent, CrowdFunder-led one. It will be making use of Community Shares – a recent investment vehicle only open to co-operative and community benefit societies. However, the equity-loaded finance that drives most ventures of this type is closed to them.

Founder Emma Back said: “We’re looking at strawberry patch principles, sociocracy based growth models and federated structures. There are many possibilities for growth that don’t entail becoming enormous and monolithic, but where you can still be large enough to offer a real alternative to the private companies taking UK care contracts.”

Equal Care Co-op recently participated in the world’s first platform co-operative accelerator, designed by Co-operatives UK and funded by the Co-operative Bank.

Ed Mayo, Secretary-General of Co-operatives UK, observed: In Equal Care we have a viable, alternative and pioneering model for social care as well as platform co-ops, and we’re incredibly excited to see what the future holds. Co-operatives UK has been delighted to support Equal Care in its development – through UnFound, an accelerator for platform co-op, and through The Hive, our support programme for co-operatives in partnership with The Co-operative Bank”

Fran Watson, Founder Member of Equal Care and an independent care worker herself, says: “The biggest issue for me was having the reassurance of getting enough work and having the right amount. It’s finding the work that takes the time and effort. I know of no independent care workers who do 15-minute slots. You just can’t do it. The options are either to go with an agency or go it alone.”

Equal Care has now launched the invitation-only, first iteration of their platform. They are a co-operative that prioritises power, money and decision-making truly sitting on the front line, thus offering potential for community-led scale.

Equal Care aren’t rolling in venture capital, they are bootstrapping with the best of them, but they need help. They have just released their Christmas CrowdFunder and are looking for support to help get the vision flying. Please visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/equal-care-co-op and help change social care.