Want £10 for your business growth idea?

The £10,000 Business Growth Idea Competition has been set up to encourage entrepreneurs who have enterprising ideas to boost economic growth in the UK.

Lawrence Tomlinson, Serial Entrepreneur in Residence at  DBIS is giving  away his £10,000 salary to whoever submits the best growth idea. He wants to hear your innovative ideas, big or small, on  what practical steps the Government could take to generate growth.

In return, alongside the £10k prize, successful applicants will also receive  mentoring from Lawrence on their own business aspirations.  Lawrence will then bring your idea to the attention of Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business.

Entrepreneurs who have ideas for business growth may submit an entry. They may be in their pre-start or starting up phase or running an existing business that has growth plans.

The competition will run until the end of the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Week UK campaign, which takes place 18th -24th  November 2013 and the winner will be announced on the 22nd  November 2013. For more information please see: http://www.lntgroup.co.uk/competition

£5,000 plus valuable support for Young Ventures

BUDDING enterprises have the opportunity to pitch for investment and support via a Dragons’ Den-style competition launched by Advanced Digital Dynamics, a North Yorkshire-based IT supplier specialising in computer hardware and data destruction.

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 businesses founded in the last three years. Following the pitch, three successful entrants will each be awarded a £5,000 investment boost from ADD along with business mentoring from its directors. QU2 will also offer the winners a year’s free access to its business accelerator programme.

ADD, headquartered at Harrogate’s Pannal Business Park, has in the last six years seen its turnover grow from £300,000 with a team of three to £3.4m with 20 staff.

Investment competition judge and ADD operations director Julie Pickersgill 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 five per cent 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.”

Ms Wood added: “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.”

David Hunt, senior business manager at Barclays, is also on the judging panel. Closing date for applications is September 16. For more information or to enter please go to: www.qu2leeds.co.uk/add.htm

HMRC July 2013 Key Messages

Free business advice emails from HMRC

Sign up for this free service to receive a series of tax related help and support emails that give you and your business clear guidance at specific times. The emails cover areas such as record keeping, when and how to complete tax returns, when tax payments are due and will point you to where suitable guidance can be found.

Our e-learning survey

Have you have used any of our e-learning products recently? We would really like to know what you thought of the one you used. Please complete our short survey to help us assess how well we are meeting your needs. Your feedback really does count and has resulted in improvements being made to our range of educational products. Thank you in advance of your participation, it is appreciated.

EU VAT number checker and VAT payment deadline calculator

Do you want to check the validity of a VAT number given by a firm in the EU? If so, this tool is the answer. Another helpful tool is the VAT payment deadline calculator, which you can use as a guide to help you make your payments on time! Note – it cannot be used for payments on account, annual accounting or non-standard tax periods.

Working Tax Credits: Do you qualify or do you need to renew?

Follow the steps in this online questionnaire to find out if you might qualify for Tax Credits, even if you work for yourself. If you are already claiming, the deadline to renew your claim is 31 July.

New Webinars

We have added two new products to our live and recorded webinar range: Foster Carers and Shared Lives Carers. All our webinars are geared to support people new to business.

Follow @hmrcgovuk on Twitter

It has been more than two years since HMRC posted its first official ‘tweet’ on Twitter.

Twitter was first used as a pilot for the 31 January 2011 self assessment filing deadline. It continues to grow, with tweets covering deadline reminders, information about online services, notes to agents, businesses and employers, warnings of email ‘phishing’ scams and even reports of significant criminal prosecutions. HMRC’s Twitter account has attracted a wide audience and currently has more than 63,000 followers.

You can follow the feed at http://twitter.com/hmrcgovuk

Machine Games Duty

HMRC has decided not to apply penalties for the late submission of the first MGD returns.

A Case Study in How to ‘Make It Happen’


Make It Happen (MIH) Agency is a successful Marketing & Events Management Company that started life at the Leeds City College business incubator, inc. enterprise. MIH was started by Kristian Wilkinson, a former Leeds City College student.

Make It Happen Agency was Kristian’s second company; after obtaining a distinction in his BTEC in Media he came to inc.enterprise to set up Top Cat Promotion (a company which hosted events at some of Leeds most popular nightclubs, expanding across Wakefield and Castleford).

When Kristian came to start his second business, he returned to inc.enterprise to take advantage of the city centre location and business support that was on offer. Collaborating with a web designer, Make It Happen Agency now works with businesses across the UK, providing these services:

-          Social Media Management

-          Web & Graphic Design

-          Search Engine Optimisation

-          Print

-          Video and Audio Production

inc.enterprise wonder how long it will be until Kristian returns to set up his third successful enterprise – a true entrepreneur!

Kristian said:
“I had a passion for music, so I started my own branded events showcasing the music I was passionate about and it grew from there.   Inc.enterprise gave us stability, low priced office space in Leeds centre, a professional image, on hand advice, networking opportunities, specialist advice if required, lots of contacts and general day to day support.

“The main challenge we faced initially was finance; inc. enterprise supplied low priced office space, with IT and telephone systems ready to go. The next thing was structure. We had to learn and develop the structure of the business from the ground up. Then I had to find like-minded people that were as passionate as me, to help us develop and prosper.”

When asked what advice he would give to anyone thinking of setting up in business, Kristian said:

“Don’t give up! If you believe in it and you can see it working then keep going. Be prepared to make changes and adapt. Try to identify your target market, make yourself stand out and research your competition. Be prepared to make sacrifices and learn from your mistakes, you will have set backs, learn from them and carry on working hard.”

For more details about Make It Happen Agency call 01977 519922 or visit www.mihagency.com

Creative Summer Schools 2013

Creative Summer Schools

New Creative Summer Courses

Four creative summer schools will run at inc. workshop in July and August, providing expert tuition and practical advice. Art graduates, amateur hobbyists and professional artisans are invited to register for the week-long intensive course , which will combine specialist technical skill development together with marketing, financial and business seminars. Guest speakers and practitioners will share their own experiences, demonstrating how even in the most difficult climate, design and craft businesses can succeed.

Contemporary and Traditional Furniture Making, 29 July-2 August

Contemporary and traditional furniture making runs from 29 July – 2 August and is designed to develop skills in the construction and making of furniture. It will give learners the confidence to make, upholster and repair traditional and contemporary furniture using a range of machines, hand tools and new technologies. Elements of the course cover cleaning and stripping back furniture, upholstery, woodwork and pattern cutting.

Handmade Paper and Fabric Products, 5-9 August

Handmade paper and fabric products runs from 5 – 9 August. This course will equip individuals with the skills to make and produce cost effective items for retail. Examples include cards, invitations, key rings, clothing, cushions and decorations for weddings or Christmas. Students will learn a range of screen and fabric printing techniques, laser cutting, domestic and industrial sewing. Guest speakers will advise on retail products, marketing and business support

Bookbinding and Picture Framing, 12-16 August

Bookbinding and picture framing runs from 12 – 16 August. Students will make at least three books using different techniques: Japanese, Leporello (sometimes called accordion) and Coptic binding. Each participant will come away with a handbook, covering the different binds together with step by step guides. No previous experience is required. The picture framing module will cover the essential skills you need to assemble your own frame and canvas, cutting and finishing mouldings, glass, mount boards and gauging apertures.

Creative Summer School, 19-23 August

From the 19 – 23 August students can develop or learn a range of techniques: screen printing, picture framing, laser cutting woodwork, upholstery, jewellery making and new technologies. Students will spend one day at the Fab Lab using advanced equipment and software, such as CNC routers, CNC lathe, laser cutter, laser scanner, 3D printers, vinyl cutter, moulding and casting equipment, embroidery machine.

For further information and to enrol, please call inc. workshop on 0113 391 2547 or email inc.workshop@leedscitycollege.ac.uk or visit inc. workshop at 15 Sheepscar Street South Leeds LS7 1AD. Visit us at inc-yorkshire.com, Twitter and Facebook

Could you be the next Million Pound Startup?

The Million Pound Startup is a global contest for one business to win £1,000,000 in equity investment. With the aim to propel the startup to a £100,000,000 company.

The contest is open to anyone over the age of 18 from anywhere in the world and has a few rules* :

  1. The startup is less than 10 years old.
  2. It has not turned over the equivalent of £1,000,000 per year so far.
  3. The winner is willing to re-locate the startup’s HQ to London.


  • Contest is open now and will close on 29th August 2013
  • If successful you’ll enter the assessment round from September to November 2013.
  • The final in Lodon in December 2013.

If you need more information before you applying? click here


Becky Holdcroft wins NIACE award

becky and gareth

inc. workshop student Becky Holdcroft, pictured with Gareth Harrop, received an Individual Award at the NIACE ceremony  for Adult Learners on 22 May.  Becky praised the people and courses at inc. workshop, where she learnt bookbinding and screen printing skills.   Getting back into education was a turning point for Becky, she rediscovered forgotten skills, regained her confidence and is now planning to set up her own creative business.

Read about Rebecca’s success on Adult Learners’ Week website.

Visit NIACE website

Competition: Discovering Start-Ups 2013

Now in its fourth year, Discovering Start-Ups is an exciting competition which brings together industry expertise and genuine help for companies.

Technology Start-Up companies from around the UK are urged to enter now and pitch their company to an elite panel of judges and stand the opportunity to win some fantastic prizes.

The free to enter competition will take place on 30th September 2013, at the prestigious London offices of the law firm Taylor Wessing, and provides a platform for you to pitch your start-up company to investors, VCs and global corporate leaders.

Jointly run by Cambridge Wireless and Silicon SouthWest and supported by TechCity UK, this event is kindly sponsored by Qualcomm Ventures, Rohde & Schwarz, Google, SETsquared, Microlease/ Agilent Technologies and Taylor Wessing.

This competition is also supported by the Cambridge Wireless Business SIG Champions:  Kevin Coleman of Alliantus, Leo Poll of Philips Innovation Services and Clennell Collingwood of TTP.

Winners will receive a total prize fund worth £4000.

So if you are an interested in seeing the latest technology, networking with next generation of budding technology entrepreneurs and listening to keynotes from key industry figures purchase a delegate ticket NOW.

Please note there are limited places and discounts are available to members of Cambridge Wireless and Silicon SouthWest.


inc. workshop @ Small Town Ink

Gina B. at Small Town Ink

inc. workshop has recently taken part in a traditional print day organised by the Small Town Ink. The event was a collaboration between the University of Leeds, local artists specialising in traditional printing techniques, print studios and workshops. The aim was to help young designers learn and understand an array of time-honoured printing methods that are making a resurgence in this digital age that we live in due to the increased interest in personalised and hand crafted design.

Please have a look at this short video shot on the day, featuring inc. workshop’s manager Gina Batterton:

For more info about Small Town Ink, please visit their website.

Don’t forget to follow inc. workshop on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest developments, or even better – pop down to the workshop yourself to experience print making yourself! Remember – the kettle is always on @ inc. workshop.


Free Performing Arts Summer School auditions

GCF logo

A great opportunity for young people (18-24) interested in performing arts to gain first hand experience during summer holidays!  Geraldine Connor Summer School Auditions are being held on Saturday 4th May at Leeds City College, Park Lane Campus. Please see the poster below for more details. Alternatively please visit:


or join the GFC on Facebook.