Search is on for ambitious Yorkshire businesses to join Leeds Digital Hub

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EVEN technology giants Google and Facebook were once tiny start-ups.

Today we start the search for ambitious Yorkshire businesses that want to emulate their success.

The Yorkshire Post is partnering with Leeds Metropolitan University to launch a new scheme to help new digital companies achieve their growth potential.

The Leeds Digital Hub will provide flexible city centre office space, mentoring and training services and the opportunity to work with like-minded people in a collaborative environment.

Hub businesses can also benefit from regular exposure in The Yorkshire Post’s widely-read business pages.

Organisers are looking for early stage, start-up and established companies to join the programme.

Andrew Slade, deputy vice chancellor for research and enterprise, said: “​Leeds Metropolitan University is delighted to be working in partnership with The Yorkshire Post to support the creation and growth of innovative digital businesses.

“This initiative, among others, demonstrates our university’s commitment to supporting growth and prosperity in our region as well as job creation for our students and graduates.

“The Digital Hub will provide invaluable resource to accelerate business creation within the Leeds digital business community.”

Helen Oldham, managing director at Johnston Press Yorkshire, publisher of The Yorkshire Post, added: “We are delighted to be working alongside Leeds Metropolitan University in supporting digital enterprise in Leeds.

“As a fast growing online creative business we understand the huge benefits collegiate working can bring to this sector and look forward to helping to create a nurturing, innovative environment in which they can flourish.”

Jeremy Clifford, editorial director of The Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post, said: “Leeds has the potential to be a powerhouse for digital start-up businesses and this new initiative will enable those with great ideas to nurture their businesses within a safe business environment.

“We are pleased to be working alongside Leeds Metropolitan University to help entrepreneurs gain a foothold and build their businesses.”

Steve Baker, a successful software entrepreneur who now works with QU2, the university’s business support service, will provide expert mentoring.

Law firm DWF and accountancy practice WGN will provide professional services and The Yorkshire Post will provide media training.

Applicants must submit their entries before June 9. They will be invited to present their business to a selection panel on June 17. Successful applicants will be notified within three days.

The panel will include Neil Warnock, a seasoned entrepreneur who has built three IT start-ups into multi-million pound businesses, Ajaz Ahmed, the founder of pioneering UK internet service provider Freeserve, Katie Rigarlsford, head of Enterprise Academy at Leeds Met, Ms Oldham of Johnston Press and Bernard Ginns, the Business Editor of The Yorkshire Post.

Ms Rigarlsford said: “We see a gap for supporting early stage digital business development within Leeds and hope that the Leeds Digital Hub will act as a catalyst for business creation and to accelerate growth.”

To apply, please visit: www.leedsmet.ac.uk/digital-hub and follow the simple instructions.