Small firms take flight with help from EY

Mark Allen with Barnie the Barn Owl
Mark Allen with Barnie the Barn Owl
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SMALL firms that instil a love of music and birds of prey are set to enjoy rapid growth with help from a programme supported by professional services firm EY.

Eight social enterprises from across Yorkshire have fought off stiff competition to secure access to 12 months of free business support on the EY Foundation’s Accelerate programme.

The initiative, which is being led by a new charity founded by EY, aims to help social enterprises raise their game. The entrepreneurs will receive help in the form of business coaching, workshops and networking opportunities.

Each of the social enterprises on the programme will be matched with an experienced business coach from across the EY Foundation network in Yorkshire, who, through regular one-to-one meetings, will offer practical guidance and advice.

The social entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to pitch to the Accelerate project support panel, which will give the companies an opportunity to secure a business expert from across the EY Foundation network for a further six months to help them tackle a particular issue or growth area.

The businesses that will benefit from membership of the Accelerate programme include North Yorkshire Moors Birds of Prey, which was founded by Mark Allen and Mike Kinder. It provides a “wildlife learning experience” which is delivered to schools and care homes.

Mr Allen told The Yorkshire Post: “We see the support provided by the EY Foundation as priceless. Working with our business coach has given us expert advice on many levels.”

York-based Tang Hall Smart Limited has also won a place on the programme. The social enterprise, which is led by director Susan Williamson, provides accredited music industry training.

Ms Williamson said: “Our social vision has a particular focus on young people who are unemployed, and since the Accelerate programme started, we have taken on several young coaches, and volunteers.”

Stuart Watson, EY’s Leeds-based Yorkshire and Humber senior partner, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with the EY Foundation on such an important and positive programme.

“Social enterprises of all shapes and sizes do vital work here in Yorkshire to help our local communities thrive and support the regional economy by creating jobs.”

Other social enterprises and entrepreneurs who have been chosen to take part in the programme include Best Futures CIC, which promotes learning, health and leisure activities, and is based in Aylesby, North East Lincolnshire; Doncaster-based Citadel Associates, which supports disabled and unskilled people into employment through training and career support and Creative Start, which is based in North East Lincolnshire and delivers an abstinence-based recovery programme.

Also taking part are York-based Foster Focus, which works with children who have experienced being in foster care and professionals in the children’s services industry, Leeds-based Sydney Bridge, a not-for-profit company which re-uses and recycles quality furniture and The Leeds Music Hub, which is a not-for-profit open space for local music.

The hub has been operating from its base in Headingley, in Leeds, for nearly three years.

The EY Foundation is an independent charity that works with disadvantaged young people, employers and social entrepreneurs in the UK to help them find work, and encourage enterprise and education.

It was founded by EY, the professional services firm, in July 2014, the charity builds and delivers programmes, works with third parties and volunteers and raises funds to support its work with young people. Maryanne Matthews is the chief executive, and its work is overseen by a nine-strong board of trustees.

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