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Small businesses in Yorkshire clean up in Leeds Beckett awards

A group of Leeds Beckett University graduates with a cleaning booking service, a successful contestant on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, and a creator of handcrafted bags are among the winning entries in the 2018 Business Advantage Awards.

CityCleaner2U Leeds Beckett graduates at the Business Advantage Awards

Five new and early-stage businesses scooped the awards – run by Leeds Beckett University and solicitors Lupton Fawcett - giving them up to £5,000 each worth of legal support and mentoring. This year, winners also have access to support of up to £1,000 of accountancy advice from WGN and a year’s free membership of the Institute of Directors.

Among the winners are Leeds Beckett graduates Avi Chinn, Adam Yousuf and Tom Tracey, who set up CityCleaner2U last year with partner Luke Smetham.

CityCleaner2U Leeds Beckett graduates at the Business Advantage Awards

CityCleaner2U is a domestic cleaning platform connecting customers to cleaners through a website or app. The team plans to build a database of cleaners and develop a user-friendly system for customers to book a cleaner within 60 seconds.

Avi explained: “At university, the three of us worked together on a consultancy project and that’s what brought us together. The project was very research-based and this has helped us so much in the last six months as we’ve been gathering all the information we need to bring our business idea to the stage it’s at now.

“With the help of Lupton Fawcett, we are now going to form our contracts and start recruiting cleaners. We will then test the market and hope to launch the website in Manchester in September and the app around October. Once the concept has been proven, we will expand into the northern market – Leeds next then Sheffield.”

The Business Advantage Awards began in 2015 and are open to students and graduates of Leeds Beckett (within five years of graduation) and clients of the University’s Business Centres in Leeds, Wakefield and Halifax.

Each award provides up to 50 hours of mentoring and/or legal support. Award winners will also have access to one-on-one mentoring support from a Lupton Fawcett solicitor with expertise in fields such as Intellectual Property, employment law, taxation and premises legal support. 

Sarah Agar-Brennan, founder and managing director of Love Bomb Cushions, was thrilled to win an award. She said: “We plan to use the £5,000 legal fees to set up some distributory agreements for our international trade and set up a licence agreement for our Pillowfight Warriors brand.”

Sarah of Love Bomb Cushions at the Business Advantage Awards 2018

In September last year, Sarah appeared on series 15 of BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den, successfully receiving three offers of investment for her company. 

Also scooping an award were Rowena Madar and Nook Barnes, who run design consultancy EatFishDesign from the Leeds Digital Hub.

The duo specialise in translating complex and technical messages into visually engaging materials. They work with engineering, technical and medical SMEs who want to grow their business and extend their market reach.

Rowena and Nook of EatFishDesigns at the Business Advantage Awards 2018

Nook commented: “The prize will help us to grow our company. We want to work with bigger clients and we need to look the part.”

Jonty Abbott and Gareth Murphy founded management consultancy, FluidIT Consulting, in 2015. The company delivers business and IT transformation programmes for companies across the region.

Waleed and Jonty of FluidIT at the Business Advantage Awards 2018

Speaking about their plans for the prize, Jonty said: “Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen rapid growth. We look forward to accessing legal expertise and business mentoring support to help us continue to expand our networks and reach new clients."

Claire Shakespeare won her award for Butterfly Tree Bags. Claire set up the company in 2015, creating handcrafted bags from the Leeds Creative Hub.

Claire Shakespeare at the Business Advantage Awards 2018

Speaking about her award, Claire said: “I’m just launching my new website so I’m going to use the award to look into all the relevant terms and conditions and terms of sale. GDPR is also about to come in so I’m going to make sure that everything is ship-shape ready for the new website.”

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