Tag: Yorkshire

Three young entrepreneurs from Yorkshire & the Humber win national award

Casey Woodward Agri Sound Founder

Three of this year’s Young Innovator Award winners, recently announced by Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust, are from Yorkshire & the Humber. Antoinette Adams, Michael Omotosho and Casey Woodward have started the new year with a boost after winning a coveted award for their new business projects.

The innovators from Yorkshire & the Humber looking to make the world a better place are:

  • Casey Woodward (29 years old), York – whose company AgriSound, uses the Internet of Things for the remote monitoring of beehives and allows beekeepers in Yorkshire to monitor the hives – from what their producing to the health of the colony – in real-time.
  • Antoinette Adams (29 years old) – whose founded JWEL, a jewellery company with a difference. Antoinette’s Mother Earth collection, for example, sees her collaborate with a community of reiki healers and yoga teachers, to create a bespoke chakra experience for the individual customer.
  • Michael Omotosho (28 years old) – whose Plugull, an electrical plug pull that makes it easier to remove stiff or fiddly plugs from sockets is designed to help those suffering from loss of dexterity and arthritis

The Young Innovators Awards recognise young people from across the UK with great business ideas who have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and future leaders in innovation. Following an unprecedented level of entries, with an 87% increase in applications year-on-year, 64 young people have started the New Year with a boost after getting the coveted award, double the number of award winners/recipients of previous years. With recent research showing over a third of 18 to 34 year olds want to launch an independent enterprise in 2021, compared to 28% of 35 to 54 year olds, it’s even more important the support is available to those who want to venture into starting a business.

The winners from Yorkshire & the Humber, are three of 64 inspiring young people who will receive Young Innovators awards this year, each benefitting from a £5,000 grant, one-on-one business coaching and an allowance to cover living costs. The programme is set to continue awarding young people from diverse backgrounds until at least 2023. This year, 49% of the winners are female; nearly a third are Black, Asian or from an ethnic minority background; 17% have a disability and the projects cover all regions across the UK.

From a way to help stroke survivors on the road to rehabilitation to support for parents to protect their children online, all of this year’s Young Innovators have ideas that promise to address current challenges. Ideas this year span everything from technology to physical and mental health and from sustainability to fashion.

Commenting on their award and plug pull product helping those suffering from loss of dexterity and arthritis, Michael Omotosho said, “It is very easy to attach and use – and great for colour and cable management, with a glow in the dark option for night-time visibility. I would like the opportunity to grow my business idea and gain the support needed to achieve commercial success.”

Similarly, Casey Woodward, said, “We have developed a core line of products for beekeepers which enable real-time monitoring of beehive productivity and colony health, from any web browser, which are now sold via a UK distributor. I’ve applied for the programme to meet like-minded entrepreneurs and benefit from the diversity of businesses around us.”

Emily Nott, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Innovate UK says: “With 2020 proving to be an incredibly difficult year, maintaining our focus on Young Innovators was a priority for Innovate UK since finding the great entrepreneurial minds of the future is more important than ever. Working alongside this year’s winners, Innovate UK will help them grow and develop their business idea to make the world a better, and more innovative place. We can’t wait to see what they achieve this year.

Amanda Solloway Science Minister said: “While the past year has brought significant challenges for us all, it has also shone a light on the best of British ingenuity, with young people across the country harnessing their entrepreneurial spirit to help the UK respond to these challenges.

“From mobile apps supporting our brilliant NHS staff to online mentoring tools helping graduates find employment, the inspiring business ideas we are backing today will help to unleash our next generation of innovators as we build back better from the pandemic.

Details on all 64 Young Innovators can found here. If you’re an inspiring young innovator, check out how Innovate UK could support you here: https://ktn-uk.org/programme/young-innovators/

AD:VENTURE sees demand up by nearly a third in 2020

AD:VENTURE, which helps ambitious new businesses trading for less than three years in North and West Yorkshire, has helped more than 3,500 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region since it was started at the end of 2016. And this year the enquiries have been up by around 30 per cent. 

Programme manager Sarah Carling said: “We have seen an increase in demand for the programme since lockdown. 

“We have continued to deliver support throughout the year, adapting to deliver virtually where this was needed. Despite the pressures of an extremely challenging business climate, we have seen incredible resilience from the businesses we work with, and a real determination to keep moving and adapting in order to survive and grow. 

We found that one to one advice has been more important than ever, giving the business owners we support a much needed sounding board, but also helping with crucial issues like adapting their business models to cope with current challenges and accessing government funding.”  

This year AD:VENTURE, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has run 116 events, mainly online, to over 1300 delegates. Topics have included strategic marketing, building effective sales, pitching your business and podcasting.  

Since its launch AD:VENTURE has paid out  336 grants totalling just over £1.7m , including funds for purchasing vital equipment and refurbishing premisesThe programme also offers mentoring and support from experts and academics via masterclasses and one-to-one support. 

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

In 2020 the support has included ‘Northern Max 3’ which was launched in April in Bradford and helped  21 businesses with a mix of masterclasses and mentoring; Accelerate which was run by Leeds Beckett University and helped 40 new and young businesses; the ‘Survive and Thrive’ programme in Wakefield, which is supporting a variety of start-ups in developing and adapting their businesses to tackle Covid-19 challenges. New schemes are planned for 2021 including one for businesses in Kirklees. 

Sarah said: “Consultation with clients and ongoing feedback and engagement enables us to adapt our delivery to meet the needs of our start-ups as they change. 

“Heading into 2021 we know times are still tough for many businesses and we will still be here for ambitious entrepreneurs to help them on their journey. We know their success ultimately leads to the success of the city region.” 

There are eligibility criteria and some sectors, including retail, are not eligible; but businesses that have been supported come from a variety of sectors, including Agri-Tech, Fin-Tech, Med-Tech, health and wellbeing, digital, healthy food manufacturing and eco-construction.  

One of the businesses benefiting from the programme is Proper Oats, set up by former accountant and body builder Suzanne Ferreira, from York. 

The ready-to-eat overnight oats are now stocked in various farm shops, on Amazon Fresh, and at Sourced Market at Skelton Lake Services motorway services near Leeds and at St Pancras Station in London 

Suzanne, who went on the Accelerate programme, said: “When people think of business support they think of funding, but the expert advice you get is invaluable. They have specialist knowledge in different areas, which would be hard to access if you don’t have the funds to pay for it.” 

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