Tag: Yorkshire

Northern Max Accelerator – Meet the Spring 2021 Cohort!

We’re delighted to introduce the Spring 2021 Northern Max 10×10 Accelerator cohort.

These young digital and technology focused businesses joined the Accelerator programme from more than 23 applicants and we wish them a warm welcome to the Northern Max community.

At this time of COVID-19 we’re doubling down in our efforts to deliver Accelerator programmes that are both valuable and timely. The current pandemic has presented a whole new set of challenges for early-stage founders, so we’re excited to help our cohort businesses launch and scale and provide them with an online space to come together in a peer-support driven environment.

Over the ten weeks of the programme, the cohort will be offered a range of practical support, specialist workshops and expert mentoring as well as opportunities to access grants and the chance to pitch for potential investment.

They will also benefit from the support and expertise of Rav Panesar, Digital Enterprise Advisor at Bradford Council.

Northern Max Accelerator 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 which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Our new cohort’s details can be viewed below – take a look to see the wide range of businesses we’re supporting this Spring:

Beanie Media are a web design agency designing eCommerce solutions for businesses and retail brands who wish to sell their products online. They also provide online promotional services to support their clients.

Co-founder Melissa Roberts says:

“Beanie Media is a young digital agency, experienced in generating business growth through technology.

Youth is our point of difference in terms of the experiences we create. We bring together the brightest minds in digital marketing to keep brands at the forefront of what is possible. We use modern practices to craft experiences that are intuitive, engaging, impactful and enlightening.”

Brio Digital deliver IT solutions to businesses via staff or an associate model offering. An ethical brand, Brio works with specialist sectors, such as health technology, with three main areas of service – leadership, engineering and delivery.

Core Prescribing Solutions are a dynamic healthcare organization providing tailor-made primary care packages through a fully managed pharmacist or technician-led model suited to the needs of GP practices, primary care networks, GP federations and Clinical Commissioning Groups, reducing NHS reduce workload pressures and improving efficiencies.

Director of Business Development & Strategy, Adeem Azhar says: “Core Prescribing Solutions (CPS) is a dynamic healthcare organization that has amassed over 20 years worth of combined experience within the NHS, primary care, health informatics and pharmacy sector. CPS provides tailor-made primary care packages through a fully managed pharmacist or technician-led model suited to the needs of GP practices and clients in order to reduce workload pressures and streamlining inefficiencies. CPS can support with real life data driven solutions to improve patient outcomes and digitize healthcare”

Grapepedia is an interactive e-commerce site providing customers with detailed information about their wine of choice and local stock availability. There is also the option to buy wine directly from the site as well as membership of the Grapepedia wine club.

INC 360 is a community interest company tackling youth loneliness and promoting positive mental health through community events using immersive video.

Founder Steph Varley says “INC360 is a Community Interest Company looking to support young people experiencing loneliness and isolation, by connecting them to community events using immersive video. Currently funded by money raised through a successful Crowdfunder in summer of 2020, we are focussing on developing our research to enable a service for children and young people in a variety of situations, bringing the Yorkshire community closer to them and their families in a safe and accessible way.

We support our service users by promoting open conversations with family and friends, building their confidence and relieving the anxiety felt around getting back involved in social gatherings. We combine discussion, hands-on activities and immersive technology to develop young people’s resilience, all whilst letting them have some fun.”

Intentionally Left produce sound art on a large scale for publicly funded projects. They are currently developing a subscription model app to deliver music and video for people live streaming in their homes, creating the kind of immersive experience that has disappeared due to the current pandemic.

iStreetShop is an e-commerce company born of a drive to support local shops and keep people shopping locally rather than through purely online retailers. Though providing a solution similar to Amazon, iStreetShop only sells products from retailers with a bricks and mortar shop.

Toby Butcher, founder, says “iStreetShop allows Bricks and Mortar Stores to put themselves easily online and helps to increase the sales conversion rate and footfall in their Shop.

With the help of iStreetShops unique built-in geolocating software, iStreetShop helps Shoppers find Products and Shops near to them, and allows Shoppers to either buy via Click and Collect or to add Products to their Shopping List for when they are next in town.

By creating a single online marketplace for Bricks and Mortar Shops, iStreetShop provides a platform for Shops to compete and fight back against Online Retailers, without having to turn themselves into Online Retailers. iStreetShop deals with the Online site maintenance and advertising (Google, Bing, Instagram, Facebook, etc), while allowing Shop Owners to add or remove Products from their Online Shop, initiate Sales and update Product availability in real time from their Phone or Computer.”

JB Digital specialises in Digital Transformation and Technology Modernisation programmes for businesses but looking to grow to deliver to both the public and private sectors.

Digital agency Jublo provide a full range of digital services from digital strategy to website design and build. They are also a certified translation agency, helping clients take products to market both in the UK and internationally.

Founder and MD Joshua Atkins says

“Jublo is a certified UK translation and digital agency and we work with a team of over 160 people across 39 countries from developers to linguists to project managers which allows us to work with experts in their fields. We’re an incredibly agile and scalable company which allows us to adapt to the needs of our clients and this approach has seen us work with social media giants such as Facebook, leading online retailers as well as smaller automation and IT companies based in Leeds. We develop long-term relationships with all our clients and our team are empowered to work flexibly around their commitments and lives.”

Legend Communications are an internet services and telecoms provider, that also provide data centre services. They launched an Internet Exchange in Bradford in November 2020 and there are plans to build a new data core network to deliver even faster connectivity for business.

Leuly PR are a PR and marketing consultancy, working predominantly with clients in the digital and technology B2B sectors. Expanding rapidly, they offer a range of services including strategic public relations, creative social media campaigns and photography.

MobiFuel is the first on demand fuel delivery service in the North, delivering to private and corporate clients through an app.

Director Murad Mirza said “MobiFuel is the first on-demand fuel delivery service in the North. Just think, the Uber of fuel. Simply put, we bring the petrol station to our customers, saving them time and money. For businesses this means no more hidden costs typically associated with fuel cards, better productivity, increased revenues and a greener way of refueling their fleet. For residential customers, no more waiting around in petrol station queues! Whether at work, gym or at home, just tap on our app and have us fill up your car”

Navant Lighting develops bespoke lighting and lighting components for RVs, motorhomes and boats.

Orcula provide event technology, registrant and delegate management and event websites. They have developed a new onsite badge printing and registration system, and they are now developing that to facilitate contactless events, through facial recognition and other technologies.

Out of Place Studio are a full-service digital design agency specialising in the cultural sector. Due to COVID-19, they had to pivot their market and are now aiming to develop more digital products and services.

Sched Ltd have developed a B2B booking and membership platform aimed at the fitness sector, but with broader applications.

Joel at Sched says “Sched (as in schedule) is a booking and payments platform – features include recurring scheduled events, one off events, pre-recorded video content as well as live broadcast events, monthly memberships and payments – built by industry experts to support fitness and wellness businesses, using cutting edge technologies and securely hosted in the Amazon Web Services cloud. The platform provides all the tools necessary for a small or large business to succeed – to acquire, engage and retain your end customers. As a team we are highly customer led with a published product roadmap, taking suggestions and votes on new features. We can also help out with bespoke marketing websites or implementation services to truly embed our platform within your business and give you the best chances of succeeding.”

Tribus IT deliver project management in software, particularly around agile software, as well as software testing.

James Clark, director says: “TribusIT is an IT services company. We have two main areas of specialisation;

  • Atlassian Software configuration, support and licensing, including the popular Jira, Confluence and Service Desk products – we’re Atlassian’s only solutions partner in Yorkshire
  • Non-Functional Testing services, including Performance, Resilience, Monitoring, IT Ops procedures and Security

We’re based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and serve clients all over the UK.”

And that’s the 2021 Cohort.

We’ll be sharing the progress of the businesses and the programme, so watch this space for updates!

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/

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/