Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The future’s bright

Despite the challenges over the last year, investment in high growth firms has held steady, and some experts are predicting greater interest in start-up funding thanks to falling property prices, hedge fund collapses and near zero interest rates on cash.

Our figures show that more than £5m has been invested in high growth firms that we have helped in the last 12 months.

Because of the economic climate, high growth businesses have been looking for support and the opportunity to meet potential funding providers.

Our investment forums (to find out more information click here) continue to attract a healthy number of investors and our bootcamps (to find out more information click here), and coaching programme help companies that are looking for funding.

It’s now more important than ever to assist businesses with high growth potential and ambition to secure the finance that they need to grow. Over the ten years since Connect Yorkshire was born our events have helped 300 companies raise investment of over £42 million in equity and the intention is to help even more companies in Yorkshire and the Humber raise investment.

We want to promote the ability of companies working together to achieve their full potential and raise the profile of Yorkshire as a place to do business in the high growth sector.

It seems that for now - at least - Yorkshire's next generations of technology entrepreneurs have no shortage of good ideas and are in an ideal place to prosper when an economics upturn arrives. In the meantime the sector still needs a great deal of support to ensure these ideas mature into profitable businesses in the UK and beyond.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Connect Supports Local Growth

Deep in the Local Growth: realising every place's potential − a white paper published on the 28th of October the government say they will foster growth by funding the establishment of "growth hubs" which will provide access to specialist strategic advice, coaching and mentoring firms with high growth potential.

This is exactly what we provide at Connect Yorkshire and hope to obtain further public funding to support our work. Our strategic advice comes under our Springboard Programme which is strategic advice from successful entrepreneurs who have sold their businesses for £10m or more or are running businesses with a turnover of £25m or more.

The coaching is carried out by our select group of 20 coaches who have all been in charge of businesses which have raised funding and/or been sold successfully.

Pitch Mentoring is carried out by our top rank professionals who have experience in fund raising. We are sponsored by 45 leading professionals who give us cash and free time to the high growth companies we help.

Connect Yorkshire will continue to support businesses that are looking to grow their business by unlocking their full potential and enhancing their ability to secure appropriate finance.

Investors, you are cordially invited to our next Investment Forum on 2nd December where you’ll see 9 great prospects pitching for equity, please join us and register via our website.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Fourth Peak

We embarked on the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge on Saturday 11th; it was a great effort by the team, who managed to complete the walk in less than 10 hours with no twists, sprains or breaks to report!

We were faced with some tough challenges on the day and the weather was not on our side! We had some patches of sunshine, but mostly rain which meant we had to watch our feet, be careful not to slip or become submerged in mud and take very cautious steps on the descent! Even on a misty day, the views were wonderful and so too was the sense of achievement once we reached the top of Ingleborough.

Thank you to all involved and well done team. We have now raised over £600 for Candlelighters, which is fantastic-and growing.

Candlelighters was established in 1976, is a charity formed and run by parents of children who have or have had cancer, ex-patients and the medical staff who treat them. The Connect Yorkshire and techmesh team were passionate to support a local charity as our ethos is to support regional businesses.

We are still rallying round for donations, so you have still time to support us please dig deep and make your donations today by visiting

The Fourth Peak presents our biggest challenge yet, it is fast approaching – techmesh IT and Telecoms Expo on the 30th of September at the Royal Armouries, Leeds.

We have been working hard to attract local businesses, in particular IT managers, CEO and MD to join us on the day to meet Yorkshires IT and Telecoms businesses. There has not been an event like this in Yorkshire for 5 years, so we need everyone’s support in making this event a huge success.

Don’t miss this opportunity to join us, click here to guarantee your place and register for free today.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Yorkshire Wide Support Service

As the new government contemplates how business support should be organised we all need to lobby the government. Having announced the abolition of Business Link and Yorkshire Forward and their apparent enthusiasm for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) comprising of local authorities and business we need to decide what would serve business best a sub- regional service run by LEPs or a Yorkshire wide service run for the whole of Yorkshire.

I can't help thinking that having say 4 LEPs (e.g. Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and the Humber and North Yorkshire), would lead to more bureaucracy and probably lower quality help. Connect Yorkshire draws help from successful entrepreneurs throughout Yorkshire and the Humber. By "successful" I mean that they have built substantial businesses employing over 50/100, or run such businesses and have a lot to teach up and coming entrepreneurs. But there aren't that many in Yorkshire and the Humber and their help needs to be focused.

We must concentrate on the best up and coming companies; those that are going to make a major contribution to our economy. They need help from those with a proven track record.

So a Yorkshire wide organisation providing business support is needed. The Yorkshire Post and others have been calling for this and we at Connect Yorkshire support their efforts.

Have your say by posting your comments; I would be very interested to hear your views.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Raising Funding

The new government have made it clear that they want business to play a big part in business support in the future.

Connect Yorkshire is just such a project. It started in the private sector. We are sponsored by 44 leading business people and professionals in Yorkshire who provide over £60k of cash and £250k of time to help businesses get ready for investment. A similar amount of cash has been provided by Yorkshire Forward for the last few years.

Companies we have helped have raised over £34m in equity. We are a not for profit company limited by guarantee with a Board of Directors drawn from leading business people and professionals who provide their time free.

Our private/public model is unique and is one we believe the Government should support and replicate throughout the country. I cannot overstate the quality and quantity of free help we get from the business community for the companies we help; from business people and professionals who have succeeded/are succeeding.

It is based on Connect in San Diego who use successful entrepreneurs, called Entrepreneurs in Residence, who give 6-8 weeks of time to get projects from the 50 Research Institutes in San Diego ready for investment.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Support and Survive

Investment readiness is a key plank of any business support and we’re confident that the Connect model will survive and play a part in whatever support for business the new government decides on.

Our team morale is still high and we are working hard to deliver projects and operate as normal. Our investment Forum is on the 7th July, where nine companies and four University projects will pitch their propositions to investors from around the U.K.

After that we have our very first Investment Readiness Bootcamp on the 12th and 13th of July, the aim is that the business proposition will have been substantially improved as a result of attending and will help prepare individuals in the process of seeking funding.

In March, as part of the Solutions for Business initiative we launched our new Understanding Finance for Business programme; we have had to put a key part of the project on hold (the funded coaching) until we have confirmed decisions about our budget.

Over seven years Connect has enabled more than 243 companies to raise over £34m in equity investment.

For further information about Connect and its services, visit

Monday, March 01, 2010

Survey Supports Professionals

Connect’s business model is based upon linking private and public sector support to help entrepreneurs find the funding and advice they need to turn their plans into viable business propositions.

Reading the FT during the 20th/21st Feb weekend, reinforces my original belief – which, is that the support that companies receive via our programmes, delivered by top professionals in Yorkshire, really is of great value to them.

Delta Economics interviewed 2,120 businesses, with an average turnover of £1.23m, asking them to rank the usefulness of 10 different sources of advice. It was reported that accountants and family members are better sources of advice and support to entrepreneurs than the banks or some support orgainisations, according to a survey of high growth businesses.

Professional advisers were the most widely used, both during the start up stage and later in the company’s development. They were also ranked among the most useful, slightly behind family members, other entrepreneurs and mentors.

We have forty-four top professional services providers and many successful entrpreneurs that are ready to help free of charge, so if you know of any companies that have high growth potential, ask them to contact Connect today on 0113 384 5640