Tuesday, May 17, 2016

News: Enterprising Y-Accelerator programme returns

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Up to ten individuals, teams or companies in the Sheffield City Region are to benefit from a three-month intensive business support programme and the chance to win £25,000 investment from UK Steel Enterprise, to kick start the business idea with the most potential for growth.

The UKSE Y-Accelerator, launched by Y-Accelerator and UK Steel Enterprise and funded by the newly established Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, is now open for entries. The programme is welcoming business ideas from "anyone with aspirations and an innovative business idea."

After three months intensive training each entrepreneur will be invited to pitch to an audience of seed investors and be in with the chance to win an investment of up to £25,000 from UK Steel Enterprise; enabling them to get their idea off the ground.

UK Steel Enterprise is a subsidiary of Tata Steel established in 1975 to provide financial support to small to medium sized businesses in areas affected by challenges within the steel industry.

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Further support for the initiative comes from Y-Accelerator, the Yorkshire based start-up accelerator, Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RiDO), the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, business consultancy TRoom, and law firm Freeths.

It ran last year in Rotherham which saw five companies come to the region following a successful trade mission. After receiving initial support from the South Korean Government, they were housed in one of Rotherham's four enterprise centres run by RiDO, the Council's regeneration arm. Ultimate Drone was the big winner of the Y-Accelerator programme, picking up a £30,000 investment to support the commercialisation of a new generation of drone.

Keith Williams from UK Steel Enterprise, said: "This is a unique initiative that brings together various forms of support to create an intensive incubator for entrepreneurs with start-up ideas. The process will help validate ideas, develop strong business models and provide people with the tools and skills to launch new businesses.

"Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate that their concepts are not only viable in today's market, but that there is potential for growth and expansion.

"We're delighted to be able to support the programme, providing the £25,000 investment fund, and we're very much looking forward to seeing what business ideas are submitted and meeting the individuals, teams and businesses behind them."

The project, which has no sector-restrictions, forms part of the SCR Economic Plan that is working to position the SCR as the best "start-up" zone in the country; raising the existing start-up rate in the region which currently stands at two-thirds of the national average.

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The newly launched SCR Growth Hub, aims to be the single point of contact for all business support across the Sheffield City Region. Its experienced teams can best advise and signpost to the most appropriate support for businesses in a range of areas including exporting, innovation, finance and training.

As well as the Y-Accelerator for would-be entrepreneurs, the Growth Hub offers a service for start-ups called Launchpad, which includes workshops and mentoring.

The Government has proclaimed this week as Growth Hub Week to promote simple, joined up and easy to access business support.

David Grimes, Head of SCR Growth Hub, said: "Y-Accelerator is a great way to encourage would-be entrepreneurs to start up a business. These entrepreneurs will become the employers and wealth generators of the future. Projects like this show that the public and private sector working together is the way to make our region stronger."

The application process will close on June 20 2016.

SCR Growth Hub website

Images: Y-Accelerator

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