Harrogate-based Advanced Digital Dynamics (ADD) – a global IT supplier specialising in computer hardware and data destruction – has launched a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style business investment competition.
QU2, Leeds Metropolitan University’s hub for high growth businesses, is supporting the venture in which 10 shortlisted companies will present their goals and vision to a judging panel which includes Margaret Wood MBE, founder of niche manufacturer ICW, on September 26.
Entries are welcome from innovative start-ups and ambitious businesses founded in the last three years. Following the pitch, three successful entrants will each be awarded a £5k investment boost from ADD along with expert business mentoring from its directors. QU2 will also offer the winners a year’s free access to its business accelerator programme.
Launched in 1997, ADD has grown organically with headquarters at Harrogate’s Pannal Business Park and a sales office at Daresbury Science Park in Cheshire. In the last six years alone turnover has rocketed from £300k with a team of three to £3.4 million with 20 staff.
Investment competition judge and ADD operations director Julie Pickersgill (pictured) said:
Far from being involved in the project solely as an ‘angel investor’, we’re genuinely committed to forging strong partnerships. Our investment encompasses more than just financial input – and extends to training, mentoring and developing those with the potential to succeed.
We’re seeking a minimum 5% equity in each of the three successful businesses and are committed to sharing and passing on the formative lessons we’ve learnt to those with passion and the potential to grow their enterprises. Our commercial advice will span critical areas such as innovation, strategy, sales and recruitment – while reinforcing the importance of always keeping the big picture in mind.
Katie Rigarlsford, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Manager at Leeds Metropolitan University said:
The QU2 team is delighted to support ADD with this business investment competition as we feel it’s not just the financial investment that will benefit the competition winners.
Just as important is the training and mentoring support from ADD’s experienced team which will help any young business to achieve a step change. This mentoring – coupled with a year’s free training support from QU2 – will go a long way to accelerate growth for the successful companies.
Margaret Wood concluded:
With small and medium sized enterprises making up over 99 per cent of businesses in UK cities and providing around 50 per cent of all private sector jobs, the importance of developing and nurturing young entrepreneurs is unprecedented. It’s tremendous that ADD and QU2 are collaborating to give our next generation of business leaders a head start and the breadth and depth of their collective expertise.
David Hunt, senior Barclays business manager is also on the judging panel and the closing date for applications is 16 Sept 2013.
To download an application form visit www.qu2leeds.co.uk/add.htm