More than 100 Yorkshire entrepreneurs have been helped by a free business accelerator programme.
The Northern Max Accelerator, which is backed by business support programme AD:VENTURE, has also helped create 44 new jobs and give businesses grants and funding worth nearly £300,000.
AD:VENTURE is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), along with other funding and delivery partners across the Leeds City Region, including Bradford Council.
The accelerator, which is aimed at ambitious technology-orientated businesses under three years old, runs over ten weeks in Bradford. It has been delivered every year since 2018, with sessions going online during lockdowns, and is due to run again in early 2023.
It includes a range of practical support, such as specialist workshops and expert mentoring, and provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to access funding and pitch for potential investment at the end.
The pitch for the last cohort was held at Kala Sangam in Bradford, with judges including Sara Parker, from North Invest, and Colin Glass OBE, of Murray Hardcourt.
This year’s successful pitch was by David Owumi, whose start-up business Qinq, is developing a software tool to help businesses to sell, re-use and re-purpose waste, preventing items ending up in landfill.
The judges felt his business could address the environmental impact of waste and support local businesses and communities.
David said: “Northern Max is all you need to transform your business ideas into a marketable reality. The facilitators, organisers and partners make the programme impactful and memorable. I made good friends too!”
Among others in this year’s cohort was Sian Purver, whose company Crysp has been trading for one year, has three staff and is in the process of recruiting two more. The company undertakes health and safety audits, fire risk assessments and occupational health evaluations, all backed up with a unique app.
Sian said: “The programme has allowed me to grow not only as a person, but in the world of business. Working with like-minded businesses and having the opportunity to soak up all the nuggets of knowledge has been brilliant. I have loved being part of the course.”
The workshops on the course cover topics including developing your business model; route to market and marketing; partnerships and collaborations; business finance and the business plan, and were delivered by Greenborough Management Limited on behalf of Bradford Council and AD:VENTURE
Since the first Northern Max programme in 2018, 101 people have taken part, with just over £290,000 worth of grants and loans given out. A new course will start in early 2023, funded by Bradford Council and AD:VENTURE, a business growth programme for early stage businesses in North and West Yorkshire.
Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport, said: “The aim of Northern Max is to enable companies to grow and develop the reputation of the Bradford district and Leeds City Region as a thriving hub for the tech and investor community.
“We have seen how successful the programme has been the last five times it has been run. It has led to some tangible results, with dozens of jobs created and some amazing feedback.
“Northern Max is helping embed a legacy of success for the digital sector in Bradford and the wider area. And that is great news for the economy of the region.”