John Foster, Fosters Bakery – October 2021

My mentoring session with Rob Whitehead was like meeting a kindred spirit. He has been there and done it in the food industry so we didn’t need to waste time on explaining simple issues and were able to work at pace.

Rob pointed out strengths in our business that I didn’t know we had but also nudged me on a couple of areas where he felt we might be weak.

The aspect for greatest payback centred around Rob’s comments that our factory was a tad old fashioned. We are a traditional industry making a traditional product, but our processes are too labour intensive. Rob’s observation encouraged us to get serious about automation and we have subsequently placed orders for a robot cell, with more automation to follow.

For me personally, Rob identified that I am very innovative and could capitalise on this by being more customer facing to spot opportunities that our sales team won’t.

I am grateful for the critical thoughts from this mentoring session, delivered without the fluff of a formal consultancy and making a lot more sense.

Charlie Breese, Sylatech – October 2021

Many thanks indeed Rachel for your time on Friday; it was a pleasure to meet with you after so many attempts and it was worth the wait from my perspective. I found it very useful and thoroughly enjoyed the nature of the debate, with some good ideas coming from it. The blank piece of paper remains blank at the moment, but I am starting to think about what needs to go on it. As your bespectacled London advisor said, ‘how can you know how to get there if you don’t know where you are going?’!  Thanks for the benchmarking piece which I shall read tonight; good of you to follow up with that.

In the meantime, thank you again for your time – it really is appreciated, and I hope that I have cause to ring you up again before too long with something juicy to discuss over a nice glass of wine.

Jamie Hinton, Razor Ltd – September 2021

There are always different perspectives and ways of looking at the world. Speaking with an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) such as Neil Ewin challenges your thinking in valuable ways and opens your mindset to alternatives that you may never have thought of. The unique CY broad EIR panel enables people who are well placed to truly help you rather than give you bland “business advice”. Neil was able to push in a really positive, challenging way and bring confidence in the current direction.

Richard Christian, BluSkills Ltd – July 2021

I cannot speak highly enough of Connect Yorkshire’s EIR mentoring programme. During the early stages of the second lockdown I reached out to CY as I wanted to take some positive action for growth when our market opened back up. Unsure of who would be the best fit for our specialist security business, Sophie recommended a number of incredibly well suited EIR’s she thought could both relate to and help our business.

Very quickly we were able to hold remote mentoring sessions and generate some positive ideas and strategies around our target market and growth with the offer of some introductions, a key outcome for a business operating in a high trust, referral industry.

Thanks for the ongoing support CY!

Kerri Sedgewick, Little Islands – June 2021

We had a great mentoring session with Connect Yorkshire Entrepreneur in Residence, Mark Hammond-a really nice, knowledgeable and helpful guy. He went into great detail about our product and came up with several great ideas which we hadn’t previously considered about how to get it into new markets. In particular he provided good information about how to get into the US market and what is involved in shipping there and the differences in both the legalities and logistics involved with selling your product in the States. He suggested we start in and around Chicago which is a market he knows well. He shared a lot of his own knowledge and experiences and came up with new marketing ideas for us which we are following through. A really helpful session-thank you Connect Yorkshire for organising it.

Sarah Blenkinsop, Golden Frog PR – June 2021

My business is going through some changes as well as a period of growth so it was an excellent time to have a mentoring session organised by Connect Yorkshire. Cheryl is hugely down to earth and we had a very frank conversation about business challenges, letting go when you’re used to doing everything, and about the challenges of working alongside your spouse. Thanks so much to Cheryl and to the team for organising it.

Richard Carr, Voltacompliance – May 2021

I have had the great good fortune to meet Entrepreneur in Residence Julie Kenny who is a great and friendly person. We met at Wentworth Woodhouse nr Rotherham now a National Trust property which Julie has spent masses of time (unpaid) helping to raise money to help restore it. Julie’s first suggestion for Volta Compliance was to go for a Queen’s Award for Innovation or perhaps a more local award to begin with, We talked about my next turnover target for the business and Julie said I must do more marketing in the form of networking e.g. join the IOD, Chamber etc. Julie is inspiring-the story of her company Pyronix is incredible. We will remain in touch. Thank you Connect Yorkshire for organising it.

Chris Morris, Shoo Social Media Ltd – March 2021

Our (Shoo Social Media) mentoring session with Connect Yorkshire’s Entrepreneur in Residence Jonathan Sands was stimulating, especially with Jonathan being in a similar business to ours and therefore understanding our issues. His advice was clear, get out there and shout more loudly about your successes. Be bolder, produce stories of the successes of your clients and get testimonials from them. So we are going to launch a PR campaign shouting about our clients successes following our help including on LinkedIn and other social media channels. Thank you Jonathan for an inspiring session.

Neil Frost, Bobs Business – February 2021

Coming from a government background into the commercial world as COO for Bob’s Business, I am always skeptical on the benefits of partnerships and subscriptions. I have been incredibly impressed with Connect Yorkshire as a whole, the events so far have exceeded my expectations. Further to these, I recently attended a mentoring session alongside my marketing executive Alec, with Jonathan Straight. The access to such a professional would usually come at great cost, but the team at Connect Yorkshire set this up for me with ease. Jonathan was first and foremost a very friendly, warm, and intriguing person and he spent time really listening to the pain points we have as a business. We came out of the session with some fresh ideas that Jonathan really considered and also confidence in some of the ideas we had already planned were along the right lines. Alec and I have already started work on some of these plans, as the mentoring was not just beneficial for idea creation but highly motivating to us personally. Many thanks to Connect Yorkshire and Jonathan …..very much appreciated

Simon Bodsworth, Daval Furniture – February 2021

My mentoring session with Mark Hammond was incredibly valuable as he got to know and understand our business very fast which meant we could get into the details quickly and discuss the challenges and opportunities available to us. We have a saying that ‘sometimes you can’t see the wood from the trees’ and being able to bounce off Mark who is not involved in the day-to-day side of the business allowed me to gain clarity about what I needed to do and some of which we implemented immediately. Thank you Mark.