Case Studies & Testimonials
At the Enterprise and Innovation Hub we have supported over 650 businesses and we are passionate about supporting the growth of our businesses. Come and meet some of our clients and see what they are saying about our services.
The Leeds Digital Hub has proved the perfect setting for digital entrepreneur and Top Screen Media Chief Executive Achille Traore.
Top Screen Media (TSM) provides technology and consultancy to improve companies’ customer engagement. Launched in 2009, the business works with Leeds City Council, Ladbrokes, Alton Towers and Hotels.com, and has contracts worth £1.2 million in the pipeline.
It initially focused on the sports sector, providing Yorkshire teams, including Leeds United and Bradford Bulls, with kiosks to enable fans to buy tickets and interact with the club. The touch screen kiosks, named OfferPods, provide information at a set point, helping businesses to capture online and mobile customers. For shopping centres the OfferPod allows customers to find out what’s happening in real time.
TSM has now turned its attention to the retail sector, creating digital innovations to help companies like Adidas communicate better with their customers. Working directly with brands and with some of the most influential marketing agencies in the UK, TSM is continually pushing the boundaries of customer engagement in the retail sector.
However, digital innovations are just one of the services TSM offer. As a leading expert in his field, Achille Traore offers digital consultancy to some of the world’s most renowned companies. In 2015 the business secured a contract to deliver the digital marketing strategy for the World Trade Center in New York and is set to work closely with them throughout 2016.
SALT.agency is a team of consultants, specialising in the field of technical development and organic search marketing. The company operate a new type of hybrid agency model; half focusing on providing technical SEO consultancy, and half on producing creative software to solve problems.
Having set up the company in 2014 with just two directors, they have since tripled in size and now have a team of seven.
In 2015 the company experienced unexpected global recognition after uncovering a security flaw with Facebook. The story quickly went viral resulting in global debates around the security procedures for social media platforms.
During their time with EIA Hub, SALT.agency have received private office services, training, mentoring and also pitched for and won a Business Advantage Award from Lupton Fawcett solicitors.
Martin Woods, Director at SALT.agency said: "The EIA Hub team have been instrumental in our growth helping to take some of the hassle and stress out of running a business. This has allowed us to focus on what we’re good at, running an SEO company and building software. We are really pleased to have started working with one of the world’s most successful tech start-ups in recent years. This has further extended our portfolio of clients which we offer international SEO services to within the agency. It is a privilege to work with such an ambitious and well respected company in a fascinating market."
WIFIPLUG is an app controlled smart device which allows you to control several home appliances from lamps to coffee machines and even curtains from anywhere in the world. Now partnered with Apple, WIFIPLUG can even be controlled using your voice. It is the latest in a long line of businesses started by serial entrepreneur Leon Doyle.
The idea for WIFIPLUG came to Leon after watching his wife repeatedly leave her hair straighteners on accidently. Some quick research revealed that this common problem was not only a waste of energy but was also a major cause of house fires.
‘’I sold my previous company which gave me enough capital to start-up and we have now sold over 30,000 units….confirming my belief that connected devices are the future. We are now hoping to move into the US market in the next 12 months’’
As the creator of multiple start-ups and with appearances on Dragons Den and the Apprentice under his belt, Leon is passionate about business and the opportunities that new technology offers. In addition to mentoring University students who are in the process of starting up Leon is also keen to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
‘’We are planning to develop WIFIPLUG so that school kids have the chance to learn how to code their own device. The Internet of Things market is set to reach $460Bn by 2020, so it makes sense to arm the kids with the tools they will need to succeed tomorrow’’.
Basing his business in the Hub has provided Leon with the opportunity to collaborate with other start-ups. Fellow tenants, Truly Creative, produced a series of 3D visualisations of the product for the website and promotional materials, Haystack Search ran the marketing campaign and Karen Vera was on hand with valuable legal advice.
‘’The atmosphere when others do well or get a big sale inspires everyone to do well. Plus the location and views really work out!’’
The company was started in 2012 by brothers Kevin and Philip Cabra Netherton and has expanded to include a further four full-time members of staff as well as two work experience students.
In the last twelve months the company’s turnover has tripled, sustaining its factor of three expansion rate on the previous period.
Philip said: "Following one year of rapid growth within the EIA Hub, the start-up has outgrown its first offices with the Hub at Queen Square and whilst staying with, EIA Hub, we’ve now transferred to larger premises, opposite Leeds train station.
"Our move to Cloth Hall Court is one of a string of exciting investments we are making in infrastructure to ensure we are prepared for the growth we expect in 2016 and beyond. We have also negotiated a number of key partnerships with suppliers such as Deutsche Bahn and SNCF, which will give us access to the best rail fares across most of our network.”
Euroventure puts its success down to its custom packages, which account for most of its sales, as well as the expert knowledge of its staff and its high standards in picking accommodation for its customers.
The company will soon be launching a sister site called Venture Britain which is aimed at non-UK residents wishing to travel by train around the UK. Philip commented: “We want to inspire travellers abroad to see that there’s more to visit in the UK outside London. Building on our expertise within Euroventure we will be able to offer completely tailored trips around the UK as well as the rest of Europe.”
Infinity Works (formerly Immedia Solutions) were one of the first businesses to join the Leeds Digital Hub, in what proved to be the perfect location to support the company’s initial start and early growth. They have gone from strength to strength ever since.
The company was launched in March 2014 by directors Tom Walton, Matt Gaffney, Paul Henshaw and Dan Rathbone. The company provides software development and implementation services, built on the principles of “Agile” delivery. It stands itself apart by addressing key business problems and challenges beyond just IT and software development.
Paul Henshaw, director of Infinity Works, believes that the Leeds Digital Hub provided an ideal catalyst for their startup business. “Having a permanent base to meet regularly, meet new potential staff members and make key contacts allowed us to build the foundations of the business, and we knew we had the support of an organisation that helps people like us in the first months of our business. We enjoyed being part of the Leeds Digital Hub, and appreciate the support we got and the contacts we made”.
Infinity Works continue to build their business in Leeds and London, and are approaching 100 members of staff as they near the end of their third year of trading. The company support a number of network activities such as Leeds DevOps and Agile in Leeds. They also now deliver a number of client services from their Head Office on Wellington Street in Leeds, as well as their office in Farringdon in London.
Managing Director Claire Shepherd is an award-winning leader in health, criminal justice and social care services to vulnerable people.
Safe is split into Safe Innovations and Safe Offender Healthcare. Safe Offender develop high quality, cost effective health and wellbeing services for offenders and other vulnerable groups. Safe Innovations design bespoke buildings and spaces to enhance environments for vulnerable groups and people.
In 2015 Safe Innovations successfully launched seedS (see picture above) a mobile treatment unit that can be used to deliver care in secure settings within HMP Leeds. seedS provides flexibility to see prisoners and offenders in an environment where privacy is not always accessible.
Safe InnOff have been based in a private office with the Enterprise & Innovation Hub since 2014 and in that time have taken every opportunity to access our full training programme and business mentor. In 2015 Claire and Karl Lenton (Creative Director) successfully pitched and won a Business Advantage Award from Lupton Fawcett solicitors.
Having been involved in recruitment for over ten years, in 2015 following a break to pursue other business ventures Subina Kiani returned to recruitment to start her own company – Eleven Eleven recruitment.
Initially focused on recruitment within the gaming industry they have since evolved into movies and animation. Working with a number of AAA games studios In Canada and Europe. They have been successful in partnering with some high profile film and animation studios in London who have been involved in the production of high grossing movies such as Ex Machina and The Martian to name a few.
Following a very successful first year of trading the company has recently added a further two new staff members to their team. Subina said: “Eleven Eleven started so that I could be involved in a creative and digital industry that is radically changing the way we live and one that I feel extremely passionate about. We very quickly realised the importance of creating a professional working environment and removing ourselves from a home setting if we wanted to take the business to the next level, this is how we came across the Enterprise & Innovation Hub.
In addition to the wonderful centrally located office and facilities we suddenly had access to a whole spectrum of knowledge and information like HR, Legal, Tax and Finance advice. We also have access to multiple free courses and not only that but also any additional ad-hoc support is a real bonus in these early stages of the business. We have free access to Leeds Chamber and the business mentor Steve Baker is always on hand to answer any finance and accounts related queries.
I truly believe our first year has been a bigger success than I imagined because of our move to these premises and the support of Fran, George and Jane.”
Funky Chalk originated a number of years ago, when Rob Pearce (pictured) started a small ‘on-the-side’ business, working in the evenings and weekends, branding pool chalk for pubs with names like Fosters, Carlsberg and Carling – hence the name Funky Chalk. This branded chalk business did not go far, so Rob diversified into selling snooker and pool cues, cases and accessories. First at local pubs, then car boot sales and local markets, and then finally progressing to Ebay, Amazon and our webstore ‘Cue & Case’.
Funky Chalk has its own cue sports brand – Jonny 8 Ball, they import goods directly from factories in China, Europe and USA, rent a large warehouse and employ 6 people. Through Ben’s own admission the business only became really serious within the last 5 years, once he was generating enough income to make the transition to work on it full time.
Ben had the following to add ‘I was working on it with the help of my girlfriend and kids in the evenings and weekends, ploughing all profits back into the business to buy more stock. I plan to grow the business further by creating a trade division that supplies other retailers.
The greatest incentive of being your own boss is there are no limitations to your potential; you are in charge of your own destiny and can create something amazing that belongs to you, as a result of your own hard work, determination and persistence. Not forgetting the positive effect your business can have on the community around you and the lives of others, especially as you start to employ people.
The Creative Fashion and Textile Hub is an incubator for new businesses. It will help you grow and provide the support to becoming independent. Most importantly though, you are part of a new business community and will meet like-minded people who you can discuss ideas with and get opinions from, share contacts with, advice etc., and can inspire and motivate each other.’