£10k digital funding and funded help for your business.
Starting out in business can be a daunting task. Often new businesses can feel confident about their own area of expertise, but less so when it comes to other skills like sales, marketing, finance and business planning.
I’d like to draw attention to some fantastic and FREE support which is available for business start-ups. I am linked to all three of these programmes and can personally recommend them:
1. NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator
This fully-funded programme for business entrepreneurs focusses on accelerated support to help your business grow successfully.
NatWest has 12 of these hubs across the UK with specialist Accelerator, Pre-Accelerator and Fintech Accelerator strands, tailored for businesses at any stage of their development.
The programme is a full-on development initiative and involves an application and selection process, but if your application is successful, you could be offered a free place. The schemes include digital learning, networks, and even office space.
There are also specialist coaches, speakers, and mentors like me that can support you in the development of your business plan and make you more attractive to investors.
The Leeds hub is located on Park Cross Street in LS1, so do contact them to book a tour and find out more.
2. Digital Enterprise
This programme is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses in the Leeds city region that offer B2B services. They invest in digital technologies – from IT equipment to websites – at eligible firms through a voucher scheme, and also workshops and masterclasses on digital topics.
Digital Enterprise aspires to help these businesses “achieve digital transformation as they scale up and mature [to…] achieve higher levels of productivity, competitiveness and innovation through the better use of digital technology.”
The scheme has three components:
- free workshops and mentoring (typically linked to digital technologies),
- connectivity vouchers (to support costs of upgrading things like broadband systems),
- digital growth vouchers (to help firms invest in new ICT solutions).
Phase 4 of the voucher scheme for technology-related projects is launching in October 2018, great news for SMEs across Leeds City Region. The funding has now been increased to £10,000 per applicant if you meet specific criteria, and previous applicants are eligible to apply again.
This voucher scheme is centred on driving expansion within our region through digital investment. So, if your organisation has a technology project in mind for 2018 which will improve your chances of growth, you could get this funded by the scheme. (New websites are also included, we are also a registered supplier!)
There are absolutely tonnes of learning sessions and workshops you can sign up to through this programme including the Go Digital Live! annual conference. This is a brilliant event with lots of insightful speakers (including me!) and networking available. There is also a Facebook group to ask experts questions 24/7!
You can book time with a specific mentor through the programme (and up to 3 sessions on a mentoring day) for loads of advice and all free of charge! I act as a mentor, deliver workshops, and am a regular speaker for Digital Enterprise, so you can next catch me talking about Voice Search at the next conference.
The team at AD:VENTURE support business start-ups in their first 3 years of trading within the Leeds City Region.
They offer a mixture of “advice, coaching, events, academic support, incubation workspace, finance brokerage, low rate loans and help to apply for the AD:VENTURE start-up and growth grants.”
The programme gives expert help and advice to high-growth companies and helps them reach their full potential; it is generally aimed at businesses who supply to other businesses.
The programme is run through a number of different organisations; I work with AD:VENTURE through the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce to deliver workshop sessions, typically in digital and marketing. These are free to eligible businesses.
You can take advantage of great free advice, training, and support, and get mentoring from myself and others.
In summary, there is loads out there for new businesses, and I’d highly recommend these workshops delivered by myself and others, all of whom have a lot of experience in industry.
Visit the events page on my website to see all the workshops and conferences I’ll speaking at in the coming months.
I hope to see you there!!