Eight South-Yorkshire-based entrepreneurs who were selected to take part in a 12 week development programme as part of the UK Steel Enterprise Y-Accelerator initiative will pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges next week in a bid to win a £25k investment.

The innovative business support scheme is a collaboration between private and public sector organisations including UK Steel Enterprise, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO), as well as the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub.

The diverse group of participants includes charitable event industry donation programme, Tickets For Good; Russian food-to-go caterer, The Russian Food Company Ltd; Sheffield-based augmented reality company, Slanted Theory, and designer and manufacturer of plant growth changer for use in plant science research, Grobotic Systems.

Other participants appearing at the event taking place on March 28 at Gripple’s Glide House in Sheffield includes GDPR advice consultancy, Cyan Security; manufacturer and supplier of care products for the health and social care sector, Care Products Direct; online retailer of surplus healthy food and drink, Food Circle Supermarket; and designer and manufacturer of products to solve ‘doggy problems’, Paws and Presto.

The judging panel will consist of representatives from UK Steel Enterprise and the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub.

Alan Stanley, Regional Executive of UK Steel Enterprise which invests in growing companies locally, said the quality of the entries to the programme had been ‘very impressive’, with many of the businesses in question having already secured support from growing numbers of customers.

He added: “The Y Accelerator is a unique initiative that brings together various forms of support to create an intensive incubator for entrepreneurs with start-up ideas.  The process to date has been designed to help validate ideas, develop strong business models and provide people with the tools and skills to launch new businesses.

“All of the applicants who have made it through to this stage have been through a process designed to challenge and test the viability of their products in today’s market, and the potential for growth and expansion.

“We have been privileged to be involved in the process to date – meeting the individuals and teams behind each company – and are delighted to be able to support the programme by providing the £25,000 investment which will go to the business the judges believe has the most potential moving forward.”

David Grimes, Growth Hub Manager, said: “The Y Accelerator is a great opportunity to support entrepreneurs or early stage businesses with a great business idea. With up to £25k available for investment to help get the business off the ground, and with further business support available, other interested potential entrepreneurs should get in touch with the Growth Hub to find out more about the process for next year.”

Launched in 1975, UK Steel Enterprise, a subsidiary of Tata Steel, supports the economic development of steel industry areas. To this day it has helped more than 7,000 businesses with investments approaching a total of £100m, and those businesses have created over 78,000 jobs.

UKSE provides loan and equity finance of up to £1M to existing companies which are growing, particularly those creating jobs. If you are an established business which needs growth finance then please contact UK Steel Enterprise on 0800 915 1188.