Eight Yorkshire social enterprises secure EY Foundation support

Eight youth-focussed social enterprises from across Yorkshire – including a company which teaches about birds of prey and a business that recycles quality office furniture – have secured access to 12 months of free business support on the EY Foundation’s Accelerate programme, following a competitive process.

The initiative, which is being led by the new charity founded by professional services firm EY, aims to further improve the business performance of social enterprises in the region and maximise their social impact.

The entrepreneurs will gain support to enhance their companies’ financial performance and operational efficiency through business coaching, workshops and networking opportunities.

Each of the eight social enterprises on the programme will be matched with an experienced business coach from across the EY Foundation network in Yorkshire, who, through regular one-to-one meetings, will offer practical guidance and advice over a 12 month period.

The social entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to pitch to the Accelerate Project Support Panel, which will give the companies an opportunity to secure a business expert from across the EY Foundation network for a further six months to help them tackle a particular issue or growth area – delivering hands on support where it is needed.

Stuart Watson, EY’s Yorkshire and Humber senior partner, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with the EY Foundation on such an important and positive programme. Social enterprises of all shapes and sizes do vital work here in Yorkshire to help our local communities thrive and support the regional economy by creating jobs.

“I’ve been hugely inspired by the business models of the entrepreneurs chosen for Accelerate, as well as the journeys they’ve already been on with their social enterprises. By collaborating with the EY Foundation to work with these talented and hugely innovative individuals and their businesses, we believe we can further improve their performance and increase the positive impact they are having on the lives of young people in Yorkshire.”

The social enterprises and entrepreneurs chosen for the 2015 EY Foundation Yorkshire Accelerate programme:

  •  North Yorkshire Moors Birds of Prey, founded by Mark Allen and Mike Kinder, provides a live wildlife learning experience with emphasis on educating individuals and groups about the habitat of birds of prey. The learning experience is delivered to both primary and secondary schools, alongside special education needs schools, and care homes. 
  • Best Futures CIC, led by Founder Dawn Best, provides nurturing provisions, alternative learning and enrichment projects in the local community for all ages. It promotes positive learning, and health and leisure activities, and is based in Aylesby, North East Lincolnshire 
  • David Brazer is the founder and Director of Doncaster-based Citadel Associates, a social enterprise which supports people into employment through training and career support. Established in 2008, it helps a number of isolated disabled and unskilled volunteers towards real and relevant employment outcomes.
  • CREATIVE START, which is based in North East Lincolnshire and was founded by Sam Delaney, delivers an abstinence based peer recovery programme, using art as an integral part of the recovery model. The programme includes therapeutic discussions and breaking down barriers with the local community. 
  • Foster Focus works with children who have experienced being in foster care and professionals in the children’s services industry. The company provides innovative and inspirational training courses and support. The organisation, which is based in York, was founded by Luke Ridgers.
  • Jimmy Sydney is the founder and Chief Executive of Leeds-based Sydney Bridge, a not-for-profit company set up to protect the environment by re-using and recycling quality furniture. The company has offered volunteer opportunities to 85 people through the Government’s mandatory work programme, with partners such as Jobcentre Plus and Interserve.
  •  York-based Tang Hall Smart Limited, led by Director Susan Williamson, delivers popular music and electronics/technology clubs, and activities to the local community. It also provides accredited music industry training.
  •  The Leeds Music Hub, led by founder Katie Zezulka, is a not-for-profit open space for local music. It supports the creators and individuals who contribute to this grassroots music scene. The Hub has been operating from its base in Headingley for nearly three years, running a café, shop for local releases, music lessons and an events space.
Stuart Watson
Stuart Watson

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