AD:VENTURE, a support programme for businesses in North and West Yorkshire, has moved its events and support online during the coronavirus lockdown. But its business advisers are keen to stress they are still working hard behind the scenes to offer a helping hand.

AD:VENTURE supports pre-start and new businesses which have been trading for up to three years and who have ambitions for growth, with a mix of offerings, including mentoring, events, access to finance and grant funding.

Since the programme started at the end of 2016, AD:VENTURE, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has helped more than 3,000 businesses and individuals in the Leeds City Region, and approved over 160 grants to help start-up businesses grow.

Sarah Carling, AD:VENTURE programme manager, said: “Our advisors are here to support new business owners in these really tough times.

“As a new and growing business there are always so many things to consider, particularly in the current situation it can seem like you are literally spinning plates. With so much to do, it is easy for new  business to feel there are too busy to access support. But this can be when it is most important. AD:VENTURE is here to provide that support.

“We can provide a listening ear, be a critical friend and offer practical help to overcome the real challenges ambitious businesses are facing currently; that might be funding or training or advice. Whatever a business needs, we will do our bit to help.”

Among those who have received help from AD:VENTURE is Torchbearer Interactive, which was set by two former University of  Huddersfield students Pete Waugh and Jon Langley in the town.

Pete said: “AD:VENTURE are always pointing us in the direction of schemes we can join and grants we can apply for. To anyone who’s looking for business support, I’d say be willing to engage with people who have advice and expertise, look at all the opportunities available to you through the programme and take advantage of them.”

Torchbearer, which creates games, apps, software and websites has been awarded a total of £8,700 in grants from AD:VENTURE, which was used to develop their premises. Grants of up to £25,000 are available from AD:VENTURE if they are match-funded by the business.

Pete and Jon also received one-to-one coaching advice and attended workshops. Workshops have now gone online and AD:VENTURE is successfully  running regular webinars covering everything from strategic marketing and networking skills to data protection and advertising law.  Eligible businesses can book via the AD:VENTURE website:

Pete said: “We’ve taken advantage of pretty much every resource we can access through the programme and it’s been great all the way through. As we’ve gone along, we’ve always had a new problem to tackle, but they’ve always been there with the right advice of how we can solve it.”

AD:VENTURE’s partners include the region’s nine local authorities, including Kirklees Council; the Business Enterprise Fund; the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, and higher education partners, including Leeds Beckett University and Huddersfield University.