Businesses in Yorkshire are being encouraged to sign up for free support to kickstart 2022.

The call comes at the end of another successful year for AD:VENTURE, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and supports businesses across the Leeds City Region that are pre-start or less than three years old.

AD:VENTURE was launched in 2017 and since then has helped nearly 3,000 businesses and 2,000 individuals with free support including one-to-one mentoring, workshops, webinars and grants, and has helped create 619 jobs.

Programme manager Stuart Ross said: “It’s gratifying to look back over another year where AD:VENTURE has made a real difference. We know that running a business is rewarding, but tough, and many do not survive through the first few years.

“But we also know that start-ups given a helping hand with the fundamentals at the beginning, like creating a business plan, managing cash flow and understanding their market, have a much greater chance of surviving and growing. And that’s why our support is so important.”

One of those companies supported by AD:VENTURE is madeby, a creative and digital agency with a green conscience, launched by two University of Leeds students in 2019. Within a year the pair, Matt Wheeler and Sam Taylor, saw profits go up tenfold.

The company was given a mentor, a grant to pay for new iMacs, access to workshops on topics ranging from finance to marketing, and they were accepted onto Accelerate, which is a six-month programme of support run by Leeds Becket University on behalf of AD:VENTURE. It is made up of masterclasses, seminars or webinars and one-to-one support, along with advice on grants and funding.

Matt said: “With AD:VENTURE it’s all the different aspects that help. The mentor’s advice, the workshops, Accelerate and the funding all work together. Each one was a boost to us. It all really paid-off. I think there’s a correlation there with how much we grew the year after we got this support.”

As well as Leeds Beckett University, funding and delivery partners for AD:VENTURE include the city region’s nine local authorities, Leeds Trinity University, the Prince’s Trust, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Sir Roger Marsh OBE, DL, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NPII, said: “It’s fantastic to see AD:VENTURE supporting new and exciting businesses like madeby especially during these challenging times.

“As part of our economic recovery plan, we want to unlock entrepreneurs from diverse communities and programmes like AD:VENTURE make a real difference.

“We have seen a lot of success stories over the last year, and I’d encourage start-ups to get in touch to learn more about the support available to start or grow a business.”

West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin said: “We want to encourage more entrepreneurs to come forward for support in 2022 and help create jobs and wealth and help the local economy grow. We know that small businesses are the engine room of this region and we will do everything we can to help them.

“I am really glad that AD:VENTURE is supporting a range of businesses and a range of people. For many, entrepreneurship is an important route to overcoming disadvantage and that is one reason we are so keen to support our entrepreneurs.”