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Rotherham's Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Announced

posted 16 Nov 2017, 02:02 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 16 Nov 2017, 02:02 ]

The founder of town centre-based Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective, Emily Dawson, has won the coveted Rotherham Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and a top prize of £1,000, following a ceremony at the LEAF Event on Monday.

Keith Williams of UK Steel Enterprise who presented the award said that Emily had stood out for her customer service and ethical approach, and showed the panel how the business had created a place of work for others.

Now in its twelfth year, the event - hosted by Rotherham Youth Enterprise and UK Steel Enterprise - recognises the achievements of business owners aged 18 to 30, highlighting the talent and overwhelming entrepreneurial spirit of young people in Rotherham.

Based in the historic Imperial Buildings, Emily – the town centre's first female tattoo artist - manages a tattoo studio offering fully custom designs drawn by each artist on the team in their own individual style. The studio also hosts guest artists from up and down the country offering customers an even greater selection of looks to choose from.

Emily said: "Tattooing is often not portrayed in a great light so I am over the moon that my business has been recognised not once, but twice in these awards.

"I wanted to be a tattoo artist from a very early age and have faced a lot of criticism and gender discrimination throughout my career. I put every penny I had into setting up Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective and I am extremely proud of both the studio that I have created and the industry in which I work."

The studio opened in 2013 in the Imperial Buildings and Emily has plans already in place to open a second studio in the Old Town Hall soon, to enable the business to offer more services and products to an ever increasing customer base.

Tom Ridgeway (25) of Cutthroats Barbershop was named the winner in the Business Most Determined to Succeed category, sponsored by the University Centre Rotherham. The judges highlighted that Tom was a shining example of a young entrepreneur who was committed to shaping the future with an inclusive approach to business.

The business judged to have the Best Online Presence, was Dynomodels and the winner of the Best Customer Service category was Lucy Hornsby (19) of Lucy Amber Lingerie. In a new category, Sam Wilkinson and Luke Bell of Postify were the winners for the Best Pitch.

The remaining finalists were highly commended - Jordan Mangnall (20) of Jaded Heart Ltd; Abby Johnson (27) of Edit Salon; Amy Walker (25) of Ye Old Yorkshire Preserve Shoppe; and Katie Ferrie (25) of Knead Bakery.

Darren McDool, business coach from Rotherham Youth Enterprise, said: "The calibre of candidates that entered this year has again been exceptional. We had a fantastic mix of creative new start-ups and established growing businesses, representing the increasing number of entrepreneurial young individuals in our region."

Jobs & Careers event returns to Magna next week

posted 8 Nov 2017, 02:04 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 8 Nov 2017, 02:05 ]

Students and jobseekers are being invited to attend the LEAF (Local Employment Advisory Forum) event, which will be held at the Magna Science Adventure Centre on Monday, 13th November 2017, from 12.30pm until 3.30pm.

This free event is being held for the fifth year running and brings together local businesses and organisations with hundreds of vacancies, showcasing employment and training opportunities in the area, as well as providing advice on how to gain the skills employers are looking for.

Last year, the event attracted over 1,400 people, including school and college students and jobseekers, wanting to find out about local training and employment opportunities. Some even received job offers on the day.

LEAF is not just a traditional jobs fair - it has a focus on helping people progress in the right career as well as supporting young people to make the right choices when planning their career pathways. It is suitable for anyone aged 13 years and upwards, as well as those currently seeking work.

Over 60 exhibitors will be on hand, ranging from Morrison Mears, Liberty Steel, Webhelp, New York Bakery and Rotherham NHS to provide information on current vacancies, knowledge of their industry, advice on how to gain the skills needed by employers and how to be successful in presenting yourself to a prospective employer.  

Sectors represented include food manufacturing, engineering, health & social care, construction, Armed Forces, hospitality, warehouse and logistics.

Following last year’s event, Careers Adviser Sarah Sykes from Aston Academy said: “Our students really enjoyed attending the LEAF event and found it beneficial. One of our students was able to find out more about the NHS and Rotherham College health apprenticeships. She had the opportunity to talk to staff from both organisations and she was really buzzing about it afterwards.

“At one point the student and I talked to an employer together and the student was thrilled to get positive feedback about her demeanour from the employer. When we returned to school she was motivated to complete her UCAS Progress application form and as she had found out the information at the event she was able to apply for the relevant course and apprenticeship opportunities.”

A morning session is open to Rotherham schools and is by invitation only, with around 400 young people expected to attend.

During the afternoon session which is open to the public, there will also be business start-up support and advice available as well as help with writing a CV.

The winner of Rotherham’s Young Entrepreneur of The Year Award will also be announced.
Mears Rotherham General Manager, Andy Chambers, said: “We are pleased to once again host the LEAF event along with our partners in Rotherham. We have always supported local employment initiatives and set up the Local Employment Advisory Forum to enable local people to find out more about improving their skills and offering information to help them succeed in their training and employment goals.”

The event is sponsored by Mears and Rotherham Council, delivered in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, with event patrons; Phoenix Enterprises, University Centre Rotherham and Barnsley College.

Y Accelerator Programme Goes Live

posted 6 Nov 2017, 08:21 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 6 Nov 2017, 08:21 ]

A programme which offers ambitious entrepreneurs the chance to win a £25,000 investment for their business has gone live, with applications open until the end of November 2017.

The UK Steel Enterprise Y Accelerator 2017/18 programme aims to give individuals, teams or companies the chance to take their new business idea to the national or international market.

Open across all sectors, the programme will give successful applicants three months of free, intensive support to validate concepts, build a strong customer proposition and financial model and learn how to effectively communicate the value to customers and investors.

This will be followed by a unique opportunity to pitch to a range of investors for a chance to win £25,000 equity investment.

Mihaela Gruia, founder of Research Retold and past Y Accelerator winner, said: “I found the Y Accelerator to be an extremely useful experience because it gave me focus and dedicated space and time to work on developing the business.

“The Y Accelerator team were particularly helpful for brainstorming, critique, encouragement and developing my growth strategy.”

To be in with a chance of winning the expert, intensive business support and £25,000 investment, you must submit your application before the deadline of Thursday 30 November.

Ten successful applicants will be chosen to go through to the Y Accelerator and will be invited to an initial meeting to be held in December 2017. Successful applicants will commence on the Y Accelerator from January 2018.

The Y-Accelerator partnership is a collaboration between private and public sector organisations, including the SCR Growth Hub, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO) and entrepreneur in residence from Gripple Ltd.

For more information on Y Accelerator, telephone RiDO on 01709 331133 or email

To find out about other ways in which the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub can support your business, please contact the Gateway team on 03330 00 00 39 or email 

Young Sign Maker Nominated For Prestigious Award

posted 6 Nov 2017, 07:48 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 6 Nov 2017, 07:49 ]

Rotherham based apprentice sign maker James Stuchbury at Signs Express (Sheffield), has been announces as a finalist in the British Sign and Graphics Association's (BSGA'a) Young Sign Maker of the Year award.

The award is a unique category in the BSGA awards as it judges the talent of a person and rewards their dedication and skill instead of an entire project. James was nominated for his ability to quickly absorb practical information and skills, as well as his unfaltering drive, which has seen him take on managerial responsibilities, freeing up the current production manager to focus on sales.

Steve Morris, director of Signs Express (Sheffield), put James forward for the award. Steve said: "James has been an invaluable asset to our team, learning from our experienced production manager in order to take on some of the responsibility. James has gone above and beyond and has learnt so much so quickly that we have no fear leaving him to not only make signs, but manage large projects. He is well deserving of an award and any recognition this affords him."

James has played an important role in a number of impressive projects since he began at Signs Express (Sheffield) a year ago. Most notably, the ongoing work with Artfelt, Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity, who are steadily transforming various spaces within the hospital buildings into creative, colourful places.

James said: "Being nominated as a finalist in this award has been a pleasant surprise. I sincerely appreciate working in such a positive environment, Steve, Carol and the team are a pleasure to work with. I would like to thank them for nominating me for this prestigious award."

The winner will be announced on November 9 at an awards day at the Athena Events Centre located in the heart of Leicester's cultural quarter.

Rotherham's Young Entrepreneurs Shortlisted for Business Award

posted 1 Nov 2017, 07:59 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 1 Nov 2017, 08:00 ]

The finalists in this year’s Rotherham Youth Enterprise Awards were announced this week with ten aspiring young entrepreneurs competing to win the overall title of ‘Rotherham’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ – and a £1,000 prize to support the continued growth of their enterprise at an awards ceremony at Magna Science Adventure Centre on November 13th.

Part of the Rotherham Youth Enterprise (RYE) Project, which provides help and support to young business owners, the awards take place annually in partnership with UK Steel Enterprise – a subsidiary of Tata Steel tasked with assisting the economic regeneration of communities affected by changes in the steel industry.

The award categories the entrants will be competing in include: ‘Business Most Determined to Succeed’, ‘Most Innovative Business’, ‘Best Customer Service’, ‘Best Business Online Presence’ and, new for 2017, ‘Best Business Pitch’ following the final part of the process, a pitch to the judging panel on the 3rd November.

Darren McDool, Business Coach from Rotherham Youth Enterprise, commented: “The calibre of the candidates that entered this year has been exceptional. We have thoroughly enjoyed reading the submissions and are privileged to have been invited to learn more about these businesses and the truly entrepreneurial young individuals in our region.”

“Previous winners have gone on to do great things, capitalising on the exposure that this accolade provides, so we are pleased to see another group of really strong candidates on this year’s shortlist.”

Rotherham Youth Enterprise, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, aims to equip the young people of Rotherham with the enterprise skills that they need to make a success of their future and to contribute to the economy in the borough.

The shortlisted entrants are as follows:

• Jordan Mangnall (20) of Jaded Heart Ltd. Jaded Heart Ltd. is a retailer of cruelty free bath and body products and was launched in February 2017 by Jordan fuelled by the desire to offer affordable aromatherapy and relaxation products. Jaded Heart also stocks alternative clothing and accessories.

• Lauren Martin (24) of Doll&Bone. Doll&Bone is an online, independent fashion retailer, launched in May 2015 by Lauren and her partner. Doll&Bone, now a recognised name in the alternative clothing and fashion community, is currently working on a unique collaboration with Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity inspired by their seven-year-old son’s imagination, incorporating a plethora of children’s television and movie characters into the unique design.

• Abby Johnson (27) of Edit Salon. Edit Salon is a boutique, contemporary hair salon and flagship store for the Aveda eco-friendly, plant-based product range. Alongside offering haircuts, colours and styles, the salon also offers HD Brows, spray tanning, facial treatments and nails.

• Amy Walker (25) of Ye Old Yorkshire Preserve Shoppe. Ye Old Yorkshire Preserve Shoppe is the producer and seller of award winning natural preserves and chutneys with no artificial additives, preservatives, setting agents and colourings. All products are hand-crafted in the heart of Yorkshire, no machinery in sight.

• Tom Ridgeway (25) of Cutthroats Barbershop. Cutthroats Barbershop is a traditional barbershop offering haircuts, beard trims, hot towel shaves and advice on how to stay well groomed. 

• Katie Ferrie (25) of Knead Bakery. Knead Bakery is a locally-sourced coffee shop and artisan bakery that produces homemade breads, pastries and cakes, providing delicious breakfasts, brunches, lunches and afternoon teas.

• Adam Price (21) of Dynomodels. Dynomodels is one of the largest specialist shops in the area, stocking a wide range of quality remote controlled models, parts and accessories from all the well-known brands throughout the remote controlled hobby industry.

• Sam Wilkinson (25) of Postify. Postify is an online job advertisement platform that provides flat-fee recruitment consultancy, initiated to revolutionise the outdated recruitment industry and bring a fresh new approach to recruitment.

• Emily Dawson (27) of Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective. Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective is a boutique style tattoo and piercing studio residence to 14 artists, located in the flagship Imperial Buildings, Rotherham Town Centre.

• Lucy Hornsby (19) of Lucy Amber Lingerie. Lucy Amber Lingerie is an online store selling handmade lingerie and nightwear. All items are lovingly designed and handmade by Lucy Amber in the UK.

Last years’ winner of Rotherham’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Chloe Pretty of Pretty Suds, – which crafts an alternative to supermarket bought soap, selling bath, body, scented and wax handmade products online to happy customers all over the country – commented: “Pretty Suds has gathered in momentum as a result of the ongoing business advice and support I have received from Rotherham Youth Enterprise, and I have also acquired office and workshop space made available in a business incubation centre, which would not have been possible without my success at the Rotherham Youth Enterprise Awards.”

Rotherham Biker Launches New Training School

posted 25 Oct 2017, 08:08 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 25 Oct 2017, 08:08 ]

A motorcycling master is hoping to give budding bikers the chance to gain the skills needed to drive safely on the highway after kick-starting one of Rotherham’s first dedicated bike training schools. 

Self-confessed petrol head Gary Wilson began his love of all things biking aged just 11 years old, saving cash from his paper round to buy off-road bikes. A lift into Rotherham on the back of his neighbour’s motorbike fuelled his love of two wheels, inspiring him to pass his bike test and go one step further to encourage others to share his love of bikes, becoming a qualified motorbike instructor by the time he was aged just 24. 

Struggling to fund his increasingly expensive hobby, which now included racing for Thundersport GB, Gary worked in various jobs centred on the one area he felt confidence in; driving, with stints as a HGV and taxi driver whilst pursuing his passion behind the handlebars working as bike instructor in Sheffield. 

Earlier this year, just weeks before he celebrated his 40th birthday, Gary decided to use his knowledge and expertise to turn his dream of building his own riding school into a reality – launching the first of its kind in Rotherham. 

With an extensive knowledge of motorbikes but no prior experience of owning his own business, Gary contacted Launchpad; a business support programme which provides free advice to those exploring self-employment for the first time. Working with an experienced business advisor, Gary learnt essential business skills such as bookkeeping, marketing and social media whilst also being advised on securing the funding needed to finally launch the business he had always dreamed of. 

Since launching Wilson’s Rother Ride, Gary has chosen to reject the standard group training sessions commonly used when teaching first time bikers in favour of a more personalised service, which he believes helps riders to build confidence much more quickly, as well as helping to encourage more women to take-up the hobby… including his own wife! 

For experienced bikers who are fuelled by a need for speed, Gary also provides specialist racing tuition and accompanied track days to learn and develop the essential riding skills needed to tackle high speed circuits.

The support Gary has received from the Launchpad programme, coupled with unique approach to instructing novice riders has seen his business blossom and he is now hoping to expand his business across South Yorkshire. 

Gary Wilson, founder of Wilson’s Rother Ride, said:
“I have been a qualified instructor for over 15 years and I felt I was at a crossroads in my career and wanted to use my skills to teach people not only how to ride safely, but confidently. Many motorbike schools use group teaching which I felt didn’t necessarily act in the interests of a learner. 

“I’d always liked the idea of working for myself, but I wasn’t really sure where to start, so I decided to contact Launchpad, who gave me confidence in my business idea and also offered specialist support, helping me to understand what it’s like running a business and becoming self-employed for the first time. Since I launched the business I’ve never looked back, and I think the way in which my lessons are delivered has encouraged more people, my own wife included, to learn how to ride a motorbike”. 

Julia Millea, Business Advisor, Launchpad, said:
“The best business ideas are born from a passion or interest and Gary spotted a new way of delivering lessons, built around sharing his love of motorbikes, but when it came to running a business, it was clear that he needed the L plates!

“The Launchpad programme was developed to offer practical support, advice and guidance to individuals like Gary who have never run a business before. The programme is available to anyone in Rotherham who is thinking of starting their own company and provides access to a comprehensive range of workshops throughout the Sheffield City Region, as well as one-to-one support and advice.”

Launchpad is a unique scheme which forms part of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub. Funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Princes Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the Sheffield City Region who are thinking of starting their own business, or have started trading within the last two years. 

For more information on the Launchpad programme click here or visit  

Fashion Designer Launches Baby & Kids Clothing Venture

posted 25 Oct 2017, 07:39 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 25 Oct 2017, 07:39 ]

Fashion entrepreneur Claire Middleton is bringing her designs to her home town of Rotherham after securing help and support from Launchpad, a free Sheffield City Region business support programme.

Originally from Brinsworth, Claire has been providing alternative style clothing to the fashion savvy for over a decade as part of her brand, Alice Takes A Trip, with her unique alternative fashion designs being found on the rails of the UK’s leading clothing retailers including Topshop, New Look and ASOS.

Following the birth of her second child, Claire embarked upon a second venture, pioneering Skeletots, an alternative baby wear range. As demand for the range began to grow, business savvy Claire decided to seize the opportunity and bring her designs back to her home town where her career in fashion began, launching a boutique to showcase her own clothing range as well as using her knowledge of the industry to support other local designers.

Claire contacted RiDO, the investment arm of Rotherham Council to enquire about business rates in the town and the support available to new businesses and she was introduced to Launchpad; a free-to-access programme which helps entrepreneurs to transform business ideas into a commercial reality. Over the past few months, Claire has been working with a business advisor to formulate a business plan, pitch for funding and market her business further both online and in store.

Working with Launchpad, Claire opened her boutique Boneyard & Co just three months ago at 10 Rawmarsh Hill, Parkgate and inspired by Rotherham’s creative sector, decided to transform areas of the store into an art gallery and workshop, combining the world of retail whilst delivering workshops on technical fashion design skills such as pattern cutting and sewing.

Claire said: “I’ve always had an interest in alternative fashion and spent my spare time drawing up designs in my bedroom. After completing my degree, I landed a job in an alterations shop and continued to design in my spare time – but when I turned 30 I decided it was now or never.

The success my sister and I had with Alice Takes A Trip was beyond our wildest imaginations and seeing our designs in the Oxford Circus Topshop store was a truly amazing experience. I decided to draw on the success we achieved with our designs to open my own store in Rotherham where I could sell our clothing whilst also providing a platform and hub to support other local designers.

Running a retail business is very different to producing new clothing designs and I realised that to succeed I needed help. The council referred me to Launchpad and they have supported me from the very early stages of my business: from developing the plans to launching and opening my store. Like many new business owners, it’s been a roller-coaster ride but the help and support I’ve received has been invaluable and it’s reassuring to know that I can continue to call upon the service for advice and assistance as the boutique begins to grow and evolve.”

Julia Millea, Business Advisor from the SCR Launchpad, said: “Launchpad was developed to provide advice and support for entrepreneurs and start-up business owners when they need it the most and the free-to-access programme is available throughout the Sheffield City Region.

When I started working with Claire she had already achieved significant success with her first clothing brand and knew exactly the kind of unique service and experience she wanted to offer to her customers. The challenge she faced was transforming the original concept into a reality, developing the Boneyard & Co brand as well as understanding how to attract new customers in a retail environment.”

Launchpad is a unique scheme which forms part of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Princes Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the Sheffield City Region who are thinking of starting their own business, or have started trading within the last two years. For more information on the Growth Hub, click here.

Double Success For Rotherham Marketing Agency

posted 24 Oct 2017, 07:29 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 24 Oct 2017, 07:30 ]

SUM, a digital marketing agency based at Manvers in Rotherham, is celebrating two successful years of trading.

Based on the top floor of Unit 2, Concept Court, SUM works with start-up businesses, SME’s and corporate companies to deliver online and offline marketing services; including web design, branding, SEO and social media management.

Company founder, James Coughlan, said: “We’ve grown rapidly from a team of two to a team of nine with a second office in Surrey. I never dreamed we’d be where we are today, but I’m so proud of what the team have achieved.”

Last month, the design team at SUM created presentation visuals for Greg Dyke, founder of Vine Hotels and former chairman of the FA, who presented in front of 800 people at the Annual Hotel Conference in Manchester.

SUM is also celebrating success from the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce Business Awards earlier this month. The agency was highly commended in the Most Promising New Business Award and a finalist in the Digital and Creative Award.

Hoping to make a real difference to the local community, SUM deliver a programme of free education workshops to help boost digital knowledge within Rotherham organisations.

Working in partnership with NatWest Business and Brearley & Co Accountants, SUM delivered their first sold-out workshop at Rotherham’s New York Stadium last month.

Due to demand, the agency will deliver a second workshop at the stadium this week and the final workshop of the year in November. Tickets can be booked via EventBrite here.

Building further on their community engagement, SUM also recently partnered with Rotherham United Football Club. The club’s commercial director, Steve Coakley, said: “We are delighted to add such a forward-thinking company to our impressive list of business partners.

SUM’s commercial director, Danny Johnson, added: “We look forward to building a strong working relationship with the club and networking with other partners throughout the season and coming years.”

If you would like to find out how SUM can help your business grow, call 01709 879 578 or email

'Mighty' new business programme launched in Rotherham

posted 18 Oct 2017, 02:18 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 18 Oct 2017, 02:18 ]

An initiative to develop start-up and new businesses across Rotherham with free, tailored help and support launched last week. 

'Mighty' will deliver everything from practical help and advice, such as finding premises or preparing contracts, to testing and developing business ideas, through to one to one mentoring and coaching. 

Part of the Sheffield City Region Launchpad scheme which delivers business support across the region, Mighty has been tailored by Rotherham Council’s RIDO team and developed in line with Council plans to back local business growth. 

Amanda Parris, RIDO’s Business Growth Manager, said: “Mighty will work with entrepreneurs and new business to really test and hone ideas, make the most of all their opportunities and be prepared to confront any risks. 

We’re also working with businesses under 24 months old who are looking to grow, perhaps taking on staff or moving premises, or diversify their offering. There’s a team of experts waiting to mentor and support businesses like this in the region, and it’s all free.” 

For more details about Mighty, click here

Yorkshire exporters offered match funding to tap into overseas markets

posted 18 Oct 2017, 01:53 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 18 Oct 2017, 01:53 ]

Yorkshire businesses new to exporting or already selling overseas could be eligible for match funding worth up to £5,000 towards the costs of investigating new international markets. The £6.7m European programme was highlighted by ExportExchange, the free peer-to-peer overseas trade network for businesses.

Under the £6.7m European Regional Development Fund, Exporting for Growth programme SMEs in the Sheffield City Regions and the Humber LEP can access match funding of up to 60 per cent of the costs of developing exports.

Investment eligible for financial support under the programme, which is delivered by Enterprise Growth Solutions, includes overseas travel, international exhibition costs, language training and export consultancy. Registering products in new markets and developing internationally targeted marketing materials is also eligible.

Click here for more details.

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