Start-up businesses have often been left to their own devices and expected to learn from the mistakes that they made. While there is still an element of trial and error with any enterprise, there is also a network of support new and growing companies can access to help with a variety of growth challenges.
AD:VENTURE, which is funded by regional partners and ERDF, so free for SMEs, is a business support programme that delivers practical guidance, workshops and growth grants to companies trading business to business and established for three years or less.
Having already engaged with over 1500 businesses and thousands of individuals, it is clear that businesses recognise the benefits that AD:VENTURE can offer.
PROFESSIONAL ADVICE AND AN EXTENDED NETWORK
Through the AD:VENTURE programme, those considering starting a business or that have already taken the plunge can access workshops and sessions that are free of charge and delivered by industry professionals.
Events cover a range of topics including starting a business, marketing for growth, the art of selling, social media masterclasses and fundamentals of finance. There are also networking events bringing the business community together to share experiences, advice and contacts.
LIFELINE TO SPECIALIST DIGITAL BUSINESSES
Understanding how difficult the early days of running a new business can be, AD:VENTURE partners Bradford Council developed the Northern Max accelerator programme for Bradford District businesses.
Now delivering the second Northern Max accelerator, the programme focuses on nurturing and growing the young, talented digital companies across the region. While the objective of the programme is to enhance and expand the tech and investor community, it is anticipated that this will also have a long-term and positive impact on the wider economy.
In addition to this, businesses seeking specialist digital sector support will be able to access the advice of experienced and knowledgeable individuals such as Digital Health Enterprise Advisor, Rav Panesar. Rav is responsible for mentoring Digital, Health and Medical Technology start-ups, offering them tailored one-to-one advice, guidance and support.
Based at Bradford Council, not only does Rav help high-growth SME’s access masterclasses around business growth, he also supports with funding and connecting his clients with specialist industry experts, including NHS Digital and research institutes.
PRACTICAL SUPPORT THAT DELIVER RESULTS
Recognising every business is different, AD:VENTURE has a team of Business Advisors who work one-to-one with companies needing bespoke support. Providing a dedicated mentor, start-ups are able to ask the questions that matter most to them, so that they get advice that is going to allow them to progress and put the theory they learn into practice.
Whether it is business planning, processes, legislation or something very specific to a given business, AD:VENTURE Advisors have become an invaluable asset to a growing number of young companies throughout the region.
FUNDING THE FUTURE
The programme was developed to encourage and accelerate the success and growth of business throughout the region and funding is just one way that it can be used to give organisations the leg up they need to pull plans forward and make things happen.
Working with Business Advisors through the process, businesses can access up to £25,000 in match-funded grants, which can be game-changing for those in that crucial scale-up stage. Offering government loan products through partners The Business Enterprise Fund and advice on a wide range of funding and finance products, AD:VENTURE helps businesses to navigate the often complex financing stage.
FEEDBACK FROM RECENT BUSINESSES
Richard Sutcliffe, Director from Agency for Good, comments: “As a relatively new business, we were looking for practical support we could access that would allow us to put our plans into action faster and bring our ambitions forward. That is why we have registered with Northern Max. We’ve heard how other young companies have been positively influenced and want to make sure that we are doing all that we can to access the guidance that we feel we need during these early stages.”
Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We have an objective in place to be the UK’s fastest growing economy in the next decade. As well as being ambitious, we are realistic and that means that we must work with others to achieve this. Giving young companies and entrepreneur’s access to programmes like AD:VENTURE and Northern Max will make all of the difference.
Director at Hydro-flux, Michael Burnham: “Without AD:VENTURE there is no way we could have put our idea into practice. 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.”
Founder of Crimson Bear, 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!
To find out more about AD:VENTURE and Northern Max, please visit www.ad-venture.org.uk