Victoria Gate developer pairs up with university to aid start ups

CGI picture of the new �165m Victoria Gate scheme in Leeds.
CGI picture of the new �165m Victoria Gate scheme in Leeds.
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A business competition to allow start-ups the chance to gain cash and expert advice has been set up by the Enterprise and Innovation Hub at Leeds Beckett University and developers Hammerson, the developers behind the Victoria Gate scheme in Leeds.

The ‘Leeds Victoria Business Boost’ competition, which is offering the chance to win prize money of up to £2,000, plus expert advice and support, is open to all West Yorkshire-based businesses and residents who are looking to set up

and grow a business, or are already in their first 18 months of trading.

Successful applicants will be invited to pitch their business ideas to a panel of business experts comprising senior figures from Leeds Beckett University, Hammerson, Microsoft and WGN, with judging taking place on Thursday November 17.

Fran Parkinson, Operations Manager for the Enterprise and Innovation Hub at Leeds Beckett, said: “Having housed and supported over 700 business enterprises, we know what a difference initial funds and professional support can make to fledgling businesses.

“We are delighted to partner with Hammerson to launch this business competition to support West Yorkshire entrepreneurs. We are also very grateful to the West and North Yorkshire (WNY) Chamber of Commerce, WGN, the Institute of Directors (IoD) and Microsoft for their generous contributions and support.”

James Bailey, General Manager at Victoria Gate, added: “As we near the opening date for Victoria Gate, we remain committed to providing support for the local Leeds community. Awards such as this are a great way to celebrate innovative and exciting new businesses and help to support start-ups in the area.”

As well as the cash incentive, the winners will also receive a half hour business growth diagnostic to better understand and support their business, a year’s free membership of the WNY Chamber of Commerce, £1,000 worth of accountancy and tax support from WGN, six months’ free registered business address plus mail forwarding at the Enterprise and Innovation Hub at Leeds Beckett and exclusive membership to the 99 Club with the IoD.

Gerald Jennings, Leeds Chamber President says “We’re delighted to offer free chamber membership to winners of this exciting competition. Being part of the chamber will open up not only a host of services to help them grow their business but also access to around 100 networking events during the year enabling them to meet other like-minded business people.”

Colin Glass, senior partner at WGN, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Leeds Beckett University on the Leeds Victoria Business Boost competition in conjunction with Hammerson.

“The competition is for budding entrepreneurs, and since we ourselves started out as ‘budding entrepreneurs’ in 1975, we have devoted our efforts to advising and assisting in this area. We, like the University and Hammerson, believe such businesses are the life-blood of the economy and deserve our full encouragement and assistance.”

Professor Cathy Barnes, director of research and enterprise at Leeds Beckett, added: “Leeds Beckett University is honoured and delighted to partner Hammerson on this joint initiative.”