FOOD CIRCLE SUPERMARKET off on the right foot

After working in the food and drink industry and witnessing huge amounts of unnecessary waste, entrepreneurs James Barthorpe and Paul Simpson were inspired to set up a surplus food business specialising in health food, vegan food, and free-from food.

Right from the beginning, their business Food Circle Supermarket was put on the fast-track to support and success through the Y-Accelerator programme.

James said: “We needed a third party to help us refine our business plan, so we could get off to a good start.”

Paul added: “And we needed their expertise to plan for the future, too, and the things we learnt from them will see us through the long term.”

The Y-Accelerator programme offers the city region’s next business leaders the opportunity to benefit from a three-month intensive development programme featuring expert advice, mentor support and specialist workshops, as well as the chance to pitch to a panel of high-profile investors including Mercia Technologies, Angels Group, Jenton Group and UK Steel Enterprise.

The programme is delivered by a partnership of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO) and Sheffield Hallam University. It will be run by a team of highly experienced business specialists from across the private sector.

James said: “The Y-Accelerator advisors really helped us to get under the skin of our business and gave us that realisation and direction of where we’re going. We got a lot of expert advice on areas like marketing, PR, finance and that really gives you the foundations to launch your business successfully and grow it from there.”

Delivered through one-to-one and group sessions, tailored to meet the needs of every candidate, the Y-Accelerator programme’s network of advisors, mentors and businesses will provide insight and expertise.

The 12-week programme will run from November 2018 to February 2019 and include business modelling techniques, expert advice, mentors, specialist workshops, market research and individual support to help the ten chosen projects build a strong customer proposition and financial model as well as learn to effectively communicate the business value to customers and investors.

Paul said: “We’d definitely recommend Y-Accelerator to other businesses whether it’s pre-start or a business that’s new, because you can really get off on the right foot in terms of targeting your customers and tapping into the expert advice you get.”

Amanda Parris, business growth manager for RiDO, said: “This is a programme like no other available. We want people who think differently, who we can work with to create a viable, scalable business.

“We have a highly experienced team, part of Rotherham’s network of business incubators, to support entrepreneurs. The Y-Accelerator programme is open to all industry sectors, although logistics, manufacturing, and automation are especially of interest.”

James and Paul are looking to the future and planning their next steps with the continuing help of the team at Y-Accelerator.

James said: “Our plans for our second year of trading are to turn over around £200k in revenue, to work with even more big healthy food brands, access more customers across the country and help more people to live healthy for less with the help of the Y-Accelerator advisors that we still work with today.