From networking to business coaching, support is never far away from the city’s start-ups.
Leeds has a thriving start-up scene, and one of the reasons for that is the abundance of business incubators and and accelerators in the city. They give young businesses the support they need to succeed, helping them to overcome the challenges of starting a business. But what’s on offer in Leeds and how can they help you make the leap from start-up to scale-up?
Spark at the University of Leeds
Spark is the business start-up service at the University of Leeds. They help young entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a viable business. The dedicated team is on hand to offer advice and up-to-date information to help you get started, but they also offer mentoring, workshops and enterprise scholarships to maximise impact. Although this service is designed for students at the university, it’s available to graduates up to seven years after they complete their studies.
KPMG has teamed up with innovation lab Nexus to create a dedicated business incubator to offer advice and support to scale-up businesses. Their first cohort includes five local companies – Hero Wellbeing, Caterpillar Health, enteruptors, Work & Communications and Uplift 360 – but this will be the first of many as they endeavour to maximise growth. Resident businesses get free and unlimited access to knowledge and research, as well as peer-to-peer support.
Established in 2015, Indielab works to support businesses in the UK’s creative sector. They run dedicated accelerators throughout the year, both nationally and regionally. Their West Yorkshire programme, delivered in partnership with Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), aims to create growth and commercial success across TV, games, film and animation. The first cohort included 15 production companies, 11 games companies and a £1.5 million investment.
NatWest’s Entrepreneur Accelerator
This Leeds business accelerator comes from banking giants NatWest and offers a whole range of services designed to help you scale up faster. From one-to-one coaching to thought leadership events, networking opportunities and focused support within your specialism, they go all out to fill the gaps in your knowledge and help you maximise the potential of your business. But that’s not all because participants also have access to the co-working space in their Leeds hub.
Platform is more than just a co-working space. It’s a technology hub where freelancers, start-ups and scale-ups work side-by-side with global leaders. In fact, there are 80 disruptive tech businesses within these walls. It’s a thriving community where peer-to-peer support is a given, but they also offer a range of services to help support your growth, with trusted advice, regular events and those all-important introductions to mentors, investors and city stakeholders.
Accelerate at Leeds Beckett
This 6-month structured accelerator programme is designed to help you understand how to sustainably grow and develop your business. Accelerate isn’t just open to students, any business in the Leeds City Region can apply and they take on new cohorts annually. If you’re successful, you’ll get one-to-one support, advice on funding and dedicated networking opportunities, as well as masterclasses covering everything from value propositions to business models.
Tech Nation needs no introduction. It’s the national growth platform for tech companies and leaders. They run a whole host of accelerator programmes, many of which focus on specific sectors or growth stages, and accept applicants from all over the UK. Their programmes are honed and targeted to give businesses the support they need to succeed, whether you’re an early stage company joining the Rising Stars or late stage company joining the Future Fifty.
Ad:venture Northern Max
Although it’s focused on Bradford, the Northern Max accelerator is open to all tech businesses in the Leeds City Region. It’s a 10-week programme of collaborative workshops designed to grow and develop your business. Every week, you’ll have a half-day workshop focused on a skill or competency. They’re run by industry experts and you’ll get a recording to review after the session. The programme also provides access to grants, mentors and expert panels.Cover image credit: Ben Blackall.