Thursday, February 9, 2017

News: Entrepreneurs secure funds through Y-Accelerator initiative

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A pilot enterprise initiative developed by RiDO has exceeded expectations with a number of start-up businesses taking part securing financial backing from UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE).

The UKSE Y-Accelerator, launched by Y-Accelerator and UK Steel Enterprise and funded by the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, saw eight companies make it through to a final pitch event, held last week at Sheffield Hallam University's Owen Building in front of an audience of prominent local business members.

Research Retold, which was established in April of last year to help researchers more effectively communicate their findings to policy-makers and the general public, won the competition and received a £25k equity investment from UK Steel Enterprise.

But in a surprise move, representatives from UKSE, impressed by the quality of entries, went on to announce plans to invest a further £30k in three other businesses which participated in the programme.

Mihaela Gruia, founder of Research Retold (pictured, right), said: "We aim to bring together academics, research communicators and graphic designers in order to make research clear and beautiful. In doing so, our goal is to establish Research Retold as a trusted partner of researchers and research-driven institutions in the UK and beyond."

She went on to say that the £25k investment would be "key" to ensuring that growth targets are reached over the next year or so.

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Keith Williams, regional manager of UKSE (pictured, left), added: "The Y-Accelerator is a unique initiative that brings together various forms of support to create an intensive incubator for entrepreneurs with start-up ideas.

"The process was designed to help validate ideas, develop strong business models and provide people with the tools and skills to launch new businesses, and Research Retold really demonstrated existing capacity for growth and expansion.

"The presentations were excellent and we were only too pleased to announce that we have made an additional £30k of investment available – with £10k each offered to Reach Homes, Brailler and BearHugs Gifts. The quality of the final pitches reflects very well on all those who supported the entrepreneurs and in particular I'd like to thank staff at RiDO who led the programme."

RiDO, the regeneration arm of Rotherham Council that provides business support and incubation space, put together a 12-week development initiative as part of the pilot start-up programme.

Gruia added: "I found the Y-Accelerator to be an extremely useful experience because it gave me the focus and dedicated space and time to work on developing the business.

"I found it particularly helpful to have the RIDO team - Richard Keates, Julia Millea and Amanda Parris - available for brainstorming, critique and encouragement. Also, being able to work with Jamie Veitch - a marketing specialist from Keep Your Fork - was instrumental in polishing the presentation for the pitch day and, crucially, developing a marketing plan for Research Retold that underpins our growth strategy."

RiDO website
UKSE website
SCR Growth Hub website

Images: UKSE


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