Northern Entrepreneurs invest £1m to accelerate early-stage companies

Simon Leeming, Matt Haycox and Dave Watson

Manchester- and Leeds-based entrepreneurs Matt Haycox, Simon Leeming and Dave Watson have launched The Elevate Programme, an initial £1m investment fund, for North West SMEs.

The fund will act as an accelerator programme for early-stage companies with aggressive growth plans.

Headquartered in Manchester, The Elevate Programme will provide equity funding and acceleration support tailored to each company in the programme.

It is now open for applications with the first cohort beginning in October 2018.

Dave Watson, co-founder of The Elevate Programme, said: “We aim to bring the best of both worlds – angel investment with a hands-on accelerator programme.

“We know there are a number of fantastic mentoring and support resources out there, but we really want to provide something truly personalised for the companies we are investing in.”

The programme is being run with specialists from key functional areas across business strategy, sales & marketing, recruitment, finance and accounting.

Companies who receive funding will also benefit from strategic guidance so they are set up with a scalable platform for growth.

Fellow co-founder Simon Leeming said: “We have seen the gaps in the funding market – we want to offer more than just financial investment and give companies the best chance to grow in the most profitable way possible.

“The Elevate Programme will enable our investees to execute their growth strategies at a much faster rate with the support network they need to lean on.”

Each investment and support programme will have a tailored solution outside of the mould of a standard investment programme.

Matt Haycox said: “We know and have experienced the challenges that business owners have when trying to scale a business.

“There are a large number of incredible companies with exceptional products and services who are operating on a month-to-month basis, running into cash-flow issues, or simply have the directors too involved with the day to day running of the business.

“These are some of the common challenges we aim to address to enable entrepreneurs.”

The Elevate team have run multiple successful businesses, as well as providing funding and investment in a multitude of successful companies over the past 15 years.

The network they have built will be key to helping companies on the programme making connections with new customers, suppliers and future investors, alike.

Simon Leeming and Dave Watson are both Directors of Digital Media Stream, a Manchester-based digital marketing agency working with growth-oriented companies in the technology, finance, and professional service sectors.

They have previously supported The Business Growth Hub, The Launch Incubator at The Landing in MediaCityUK, and are currently mentors for startups at Tech Manchester.

Matt Haycox is a serial investor and entrepreneur with multiple investments in a variety of sectors, including commercial finance, event management, B2B travel, as well as leisure and hospitality.

He also runs a charity, The Matt Haycox foundation, which is raising funds for various people in need in the UK.